Shortly after the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) won the General Election in July, then Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong claimed that now that The Workers’ Party (WP) had 10 elected Members of Parliament (MP) in Parliament, it could not just continue to question and ask for changes to government policy.
Instead, Wong insisted that “it is also their duty to put forward serious policy alternatives to be scrutinised and debated”.
Yet even as Wong appears to give the WP the veneer of respect as equal politicians, the PAP continues to apparently treat the elected MPs from WP as second class citizens.
Just recently, the officiation of a Residents’ Committee (RC) project in Sengkang Group Representative Constituency (GRC) attracted criticism for inviting former Senior Minister of State Lam Pin Min to officiate this event rather than an MP from the WP. Given that Sengkang GRC was decisively won by the WP, leaving them out like this was odd.
This is not the first time that an elected WP MP has been sidelined over an unelected PAP politician either. In July, the Kaki Bukit community organisation (part of Aljunied GRC) did the very same thing for its National Day event by inviting the PAP’s Shamsul Kamar instead of the WP’s elected MPs for the area.
Why are the authorities seemingly sidelining WP politicians and then imposing obligations on them depending on whatever apparently suits the PAP?
Wong puts the heavy burden on WP of having to come up with alternative policies despite only having won 10 seats out of an overwhelming 93 which still gives the PAP great dominance with 83 seats. Yet in the same vein, the WP are left out of the opportunities where they can easily meet constituents. How is this fair?
If the WP are to discharge the burden of coming up with alternative policies despite being the underdog, shouldn’t they be given an even playing field when it comes to having an equal platform to meet the people?
The PAP cannot cherry pick its dealings with the WP in this manner. If you want them to come up with policies like your equals against your overwhelming majority, then you have to accord them the courtesy that comes with that burden – you have to give them their due and invite them to the events that are within their purview.
Not to do so – and so blatantly not as well – seems bullying and opportunistic on the part of the PAP.