Why is Lee Hsien Loong unconvinced that alternative parties will be wiped out in General Election in this pandemic election?

Singapore has been ruled at the incumbent Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) for over 50 years. In fact, Singapore has never had any other Government apart from that formed by the PAP. Not only has the PAP won every single General Election since independence, it has won by a landslide each time.

Due to the razor-thin victory that the Workers’ Party (WP) had in the last election for Aljunied GRC, it had warn that there is a real risk of a “wipeout” for the alternative political parties this General Election.

But Lee Hsien Loong, Secretary-General of PAP said: “So this time (the WP is) trying to do the opposite to paint the possibility that they will lose and, therefore, hope that through reverse psychology, people will vote for them to make sure that they’re not going to be wiped out.

“But I can tell you that I don’t take that attitude at all. And we will fight to win every vote and every seat, but I know that in Singapore, there is a certain balance, and I don’t think that balance will be completely upset this election.”

In view of this fact, it seems rather strange that the secretary-general of the PAP, Lee Hsien Loong would describe suggestions by the WP that the PAP could win all 93 contested seats this General Election as an unrealistic outcome and a “tactic” to win seats in the General Election.

The PAP have dominated Parliament so utterly and overwhelmingly over the years that it had to resort to picking its own form of “opposition” members of parliament (by way of the Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) scheme) within Parliament in order to create some semblance of checks and balances within Government. In other words, the PAP had to create a system of “ownself check ownself” to tick its “Government accountability” checklist.

With this in mind, why is it so surprising to Lee that the WP would suggest that the PAP could win all 93 seats?

On top of the NMP scheme, the Government had to allow the top losers from the alternative parties to join Parliament as Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP) just to make up numbers because the PAP is so dominant.

Why then is Lee seemingly so paranoid and suspicious? Hasn’t the PAP won every single election by a healthy margin? Not to mention that this election is called by him — despite heavy criticism by alternative parties’ leaders and public —in the midst of a global pandemic as peoples’ life are being severely affected due to the circuit breaker measures, which then compels them to rely on the aid of the Government.

Could Lee be trying to use some sort of reverse psychology to win voters who might be considering a first-time vote for the alternative parties?

Lee went on to say that he viewed the upcoming General Election as a “hard fight” and that the PAP “will fight to win every vote and every seat”. However, if the PAP is that committed to this fight, why did it field unsuitable candidates such as Ivan Lim? Why didn’t it check his background more thoroughly? Why is it fielding Josephine Teo who oversaw the Ministry of Manpower at a time where COVID-19 ravaged the migrant worker dormitories? She was criticised heavily for her seeming inaction, and there is even a petition to call for her resignation!

Despite all that, she refused to apologise and gave the most ridiculous reason for not doing so – that she did not have to say sorry because no foreign worker had asked her to. Yet, the PAP is still fielding her?

How can Lee say that he is fighting hard when his party is pushing such candidates forward? Isn’t that an insult to voters?

Looking at the increasing levels of criticism that has been levelled at the PAP for how its Government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and the calls clamouring for more accountability and transparency within the Government, it is imperative that the voters put some alternative (non PAP) faces in their Government beyond the “ownself check ownself” NMP system and the NCMP system.

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