What are we to make of an opposition that is reduced to being a mere spectator in a crisis?

The opposition watches and waits out the crisis while the government hogs the headlines and sucks up all the oxygen.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the opposition finds itself sidelined, perhaps even crippled.

Apart from objecting to the spectre of a COVID-19 general election, and distributing hand sanitisers and soaps to residents, the opposition has been a spectator.

In fact, henceforth it won’t even be engaging directly with the citizens because most of the parties, including the Workers’ Party and Progress Singapore Party, have announced they are suspending outreach activities due to the pandemic. Which is no loss to the government because voter outreach and working the ground is more critical to the opposition than the ruling party.

More and more, the opposition finds itself caught in a bind and put in no man’s land.

Is this how a crisis is supposed to play out?

There are three possible scenarios.

One, the opposition concedes that the government must be given absolute leeway to handle a crisis of this magnitude and it has no business to chip in or intervene in any shape or form.

Two, the government has one-upmanship over the opposition and total control of the situation — to the extent that any questions asked, any missteps highlighted, any alternative ideas proposed — would be castigated as unpatriotic, opportunistic and an attempt at playing politics.

Three, the opposition senses that Singaporeans have trust and confidence in the government and therefore it dares not risk coming across as nefariously trying to undermine trust in the government during a time of crisis.

Whichever way we look at it, the government is on a pedestal.

Do we still need to ask why the government seems determined to call for a general election amidst the pandemic?

The opposition would be decimated in the election.

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