In a lengthy Facebook post today (21 July), Workers’ Party’s Yee Jenn Jong rebutted People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Lawrence Wong’s claim that PAP is unlikely to garner more than 65% of the vote share in following elections.
He was referring to Mr Wong’s remarks as published in an article by Today in which the MP said, “Subsequent general elections will be much tougher than this one… The desire for diversity in Parliament, for checks and balances, is permanent. It is here to stay and we must be prepared for this new reality.”
Responding to this, Mr Yee wrote in his post, “With due respect to Minister Lawrence Wong, I do not think this ‘desire for diverse voices, checks and balances’ is something new that will cause PAP’s vote share to be unlikely to exceed 65% in future.”
Referring back to 1968, Mr Yee said in his post that PAP was given a “blank cheque” when the Barisan Socialis boycotted the general election (GE) then, thus allowing the PAP to “cement super dominance of parliament and to further execute drastic measures to quell talented people who desired to be on the alternative camp.”
“I do not need to elaborate on how people had been exiled, bankrupted or put into detention for making their stand in the past,” he added.
He went on to say that inroads were made by the alternative camp when there were good candidates, giving the example of JB Jeyaretnam who broke the PAP’s 100% dominance in 1981, following by Chiam See Tong in 1984, and three others—including Low Thia Khiang—in 1991.
“Even Eunos and Cheng San GRC were almost lost in the past by the PAP when a strong challenge emerged,” he noted.
Mr Yee went on to say, “Against a backdrop of fear, super dominance of PAP and various measures such as GRC, town councils, gerrymandering, opposition already made small breakthroughs,” adding that the desire for checks and balances has always been present.
The problem, says Mr Yee, is that the flow of talent into the alternative camp has been “choked for a long time”. He credited Mr Low’s “tactics” of gradually building up a “respectable and credible force” as the reason many others now “dare to come forward”.
He continued, “Social media and an increasingly educated electorate also contributed to more coming forward. Others have now come up to show the way.”
Talking about the recent GE2020, Mr Yee said the election presented credible challenges to the PAP in many parts of the country by several parties.
He warned, “Only the PAP wants you to believe that talented people are reluctant to join politics, that Singapore only has enough for a team A.”
“It is time we move to a functioning first world democracy,” stressed Mr Yee.
“The road is still long. Singapore is bigger than the PAP. Many artificial hurdles have to be removed. At least we are making steady progress,” he concluded.