by Yoong Siew Wah
There were genuine fears among opposition leaders that there could be a complete wipe out of the opposition in the general election. In the event I think God had looked kindly on Singapore opposition and could have ordained that there should be some semblance of democracy in Singapore politics.
Workers’ Party (WP) could have been chosen as a Darling of Fate(天之骄子) and romped home in their victory in Aljunied GRC, Sengkang GRC and Hougang SMC.
Although it may not come as a surprise to WP but I think this was something beyond their wildest dream. It shows that Singaporeans are tired of authoritarian rule and wanted to see more checks an balances in Parliament.
Sengkang is unique and could be a precursor of more revolutionary changes in the Singapore political landscape. The WP Sengkang team is young and dynamic and could reflect the revolutionary fervour of the young voters in Sengkang. They were so favourably regarded by the young Sengkang voters.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) should have seen the writing on the wall and it was a suicide to parachute their candidates including the anchor minister Ng Chee Meng to contest the GRC.
According to the grape vine they were viewed with disdain by the young voters and had at once become non-starters. The WP had a political star in Jamus Lim who had made short shrift of the Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in their political debate. Another political star was a 26 year old young Malay woman Rheesa Khan who projected a formidable image of political activism. She enjoyed considerable adulation from especially young Singaporeans despite her skirmish with the police over her so-called racial writings.
WP Sengkang victory stunned the PAP as well as the general public because it was like something out of the blue but nevertheless it was received with jubilation by the young Sengkang voters as well as discerning Singaporeans. Now what is going to happen to the three PAP political office holders who lost in Sengkang is something the public would be interested in.
WP’s victory in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC may not be such a surprise to the public as they were already hoping that there could be some political development in the future. The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has not done too badly considering that they were quite new and depended really on the political pull of Dr Tan Cheng Bock. There is a saying that is it not easy for one person to upset the apple-cart.
The PAP has garnered 83 seats out of 93 contested and has a comfortable majority in Parliament but we can see from hereon quite a lot of political sparks provided by the 10 redoubtable WP MPs in Parliament. They will keep the run-in-the-mill type of PAP MPs on their toes which is a good beginning. It’s good to make them sweat for their fat MP allowances.
Unless the PAP wakes up from their slumber they may see more erosion of their political standing in Parliament in the future. I think they should take heed of the sagacious advice of Minister K Shanmugam to reflect and soul-searching.
Mr Yoong Siew Wah, was the Director of Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) from 1971 to 1974. He was Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) in the 1960s, and had a distinguished career in the Singapore Special Branch in the 1950s. Mr Yoong, who is in his 90s, keeps a blog called Singapore Recalcitrant.