All too often, Singaporeans have felt resigned that once the People’s Action Party has decided on a course of action, there is nothing much that can be done about it.
However, the swift withdrawal of Ivan Lim as a PAP candidate for the general election shows that an active citizenry can make the ruling party reverse course.
In this case, there is too much at stake for the PAP to ignore the chorus of concerted and constructive voices.
But let’s not forget that we have far more at stake coming up – polling day on 10 July. Unless we make our voices heard – and our votes count – we would only have ourselves to blame when the PAP wins by a landslide and decides that the people have spoken and they have the mandate to do what they deem fit.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has inadvertently given us reason to hand the PAP a disappointing result for GE2020.
On 26 June, in a valedictory letter for Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who announced his retirement from politics, PM Lee wrote: “After the disappointing results of the 2011 General Election, you led the post-mortem to identify where the Party had fallen short. You presented your conclusions and recommendations at the 2011 Party Conference, where they were actively debated. That was a watershed moment for the PAP.”
The PAP won only 60% of the votes in 2011. It was forced to do a post-mortem. It subsequently rolled out measures to improve housing and transportation, stem foreign influx, and reduce ministerial salaries.
But in 2015, the PAP’s vote share shot up to 70%. Do you think there was a need for any post-mortem? Probably only celebration and self-congratulations.
So let’s view PM Lee’s letter to Minister Khaw highlighting the post-mortem for the “disappointing results of the 2011 General Election” as a signal that the citizens must ensure that the PAP is forced to carry out yet another post-mortem for GE2020.
If the PAP matches or even surpasses their results of 2015, then Singaporeans would have once again kicked ourselves in the butt.