We either had the most extraordinary general election or some people are getting ahead of themselves.
Did you hear the verdict that everybody has come up tops in GE2020?
Among those passing this judgement is veteran diplomat Tommy Koh who called the election results a victory for Singapore, victory for the People’s Action Party and victory for the Workers’ Party.
Likewise, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has dubbed the election outcome good for Singapore, good for the PAP and good for the opposition.
Phew! We must be the only country to produce election results so stunningly equitably good.
Conventional wisdom tells us that it remains to be seen how the results would pan out and we shouldn’t be jumping the gun at making definitive judgement calls.
And if we were to go by past elections, we would need to be even more circumspect.
In 2011, the WP had the audacity to capture a Group Representation Constituency, up till then seen as an impregnable fortress for the PAP. This subsequently led to the WP being embroiled in a multi-year town council saga that ended up in the courts and has yet to be concluded.
So who knows what “lesson” awaits the WP for its audacity of winning a second GRC in 2020.
Will the PAP be amenable for more robust democracy, in furtherance of a two-party system?
Or will the PAP double down and try and checkmate the WP and opposition to prevent further inroads in Parliament?
Minister Lawrence Wong has already given a preview of the PAP’s cards.
He said over the weekend that now that the WP has 10 Members of Parliament, it cannot just ask questions and ask for changes to government policies. “It is also their duty to put forward serious policy alternatives to be scrutinised and debated,” he added.
WP chief Pritam Singh swiftly responded in a Facebook post that the “fundamental role of a responsible opposition” is to question the government and hold it to account.
On the WP proposing “serious policy alternatives,” Pritam said that unlike the WP, which relies on a volunteer base, the government has access to “a 120,000-strong civil service as a potential resource.” He added that opposition parties have “been hampered by the lack of information and statistics on national issues and government policies.”
Barely 10 days after the election, the PAP has already upped the ante for the WP.
To say that GE2020 is a win for the country, win for the PAP and win for the WP and the opposition is premature. It remains to be seen what kind of politics will be played out by the PAP.