Goh Meng Seng, the secretary-general of People’s Power Party (PPP), posted a Facebook message on Thursday (18 Jun), saying that his alliance of smaller parties “may go into a big clash with PSP”. Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is currently led by former Member of Parliament, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, who nearly beat Dr Tony Tan during the 2011 Presidential Election.
He said that politics is not about size of the party nor the number of candidates fielded but sending the “right” people into Parliament.
“We must ensure people we have sent into parliament, regardless which party are they from, must have the intellect, talent or expertise to bring onto the table of public debate and discourse in Parliament!” he said.
He went on to explain why he stood by the side of Kenneth Jeyaratnam, the secretary-general of Reform Party.
He said, “I chose to stand by the side of Kenneth Jeyaratnam not because he is son of JBJ. It is because I have read what he had written over the years and apparently, he knows his stuff well, even though I may not agree 100% with his ideas or points altogether. I just know that he will have something to offer to this dysfunctional Parliament of ours, to revive it, strengthen it into a stronger faculty of Democracy.”
Goh took the opportunity to criticise PSP, arguing that PSP has not made known their beliefs, ideas and ideals to the public. “How many of them spend most of their waking hours in thinking about public policies? Have they put up any views or opinions to scrutinize the various PAP (People’s Action Party)’s policies?” he asked. But actually, back in Feb, PSP has already announced some of its policy proposals publicly.
Goh also said that if it wasn’t for him and his smaller allied parties “hammering PAP away” in GE2011 on the inadequate public infrastructure in view of huge population increases, many things would not have happened like:
- New hospitals would not have sprung up quickly
- MRT networks won’t be built in such a great speed
- New HDB flats won’t be built in such large numbers
- Noise Barriers along MRT lines within HDB estates would not be installed
“The list goes on,” he added. “It is a collective effort of all of us hammering PAP effectively in GE2011, that makes a very significant difference to Singapore over the past decade… Imagine what more we could have done if all of us are voted into Parliament!”
Then, Goh started to indulge in name-callings, “We are DEFINITELY NOT PAP 2.0, so to speak, or just a passive ‘Co-Driver’ who may fall asleep as well from time to time.”
Even though he didn’t mention the name of the opposition parties, it was clear that he was referring to PSP and Workers’ Party (WP).
Dr Tan Cheng Bock was formerly with the PAP. He was the MP of Ayer Rajah from 1980 to 2006. As for the ‘Co-Driver phrase, it came from WP chief Low Thia Khiang mentioning during 2011 GE that his party’s role in Parliament is likened to that of being the co-driver of a bus. “A co-driver is there to slap the driver when he drives off course or when he falls asleep or drives dangerously,” Low said.
Concluding his message, Goh alluded that there would be 3-cornered fights involving his alliance. He said, “While it is regrettable that our Alliance may inevitably walk into 3 corner fights but in the Spirit of Democracy, that’s the Contest of Ideas and Ideals. Even if it is a 3 Corner Fight, we will fight it gentlemanly. Do not need to push blame on who is at fault because no one is at fault.
Goh Meng Seng, former party member from WP and NSP
Goh first joined politics through WP in 2001 and actually became a WP CEC member subsequently. He first contested in 2006 GE in Aljunied GRC. He was part of WP’s “A team”, contesting together with Sylvia Lim. The team garnered 43.9% of the votes, finished as one of the top performers among the oppositions.
Shortly after 2006 GE, he was embroiled in an Internet forum “brawl”, with mudslinging and name-calling aplenty (‘PPP Secretary-General: I will not support WP anymore‘, 17 Oct 2019).
A netizen subsequently sent a letter to WP, complaining about Goh’s unruly conduct online. He commented that Goh was narrow-minded to have called a forum participant “scheming” and “lacking in integrity” after “losing an argument”.
Defending his actions, Goh told the media at the time, “What I said could have been harsh but you have to look at it in context. People who argue with me will find me argumentative. But since his agenda is questionable, I am not going to engage him in discussions any more.”
Following the online fracas, Goh resigned to take responsibility for tarnishing the reputation of WP. In fact, had he not involved in the online squabble and continued to stay in WP, he would likely have been fielded again in the following 2011 GE in Aljunied and win the election, to enter Parliament with Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang together. Goh certainly missed his chance.
In any case, after leaving WP, he joined NSP to become its Secretary-General. He contested in 2011 GE in Tampines GRC but still lost to then unpopular PAP Minister Mah Bow Tan. He subsequently left NSP and in 2015, he suddenly announced that he was starting a new political party called the People’s Power Party. He contested in 2015 GE, garnering only 23.1% in Chua Chu Kang GRC.
After 2015 GE, he returned to continue to live with his family in Hong Kong.
In an interview with asianthinkers.com, he said he likes Hong Kong “because the air smells differently”. He also praised Hong Kong’s democratic core values saying that they are very much similar to those he embraced. He even got his daughter to study in Hong Kong. “The Chinese education system is much more advanced that in Singapore. I am happy here,” he said at the time.