GE2015 results clearly shows that democracy, human rights, transparency, and accountability are not so important as compared to economic achievements. Many voters believe without the PAP Singapore will not have progressed ‘from third world to first world’ within 50 years. Many middle voters also choose to give the PAP a second chance.
Will the coming Bukit Batok single member constituency by-election make a difference? How can Singapore Democratic Party effectively change the mind of BB voters in the next few months? What strategies can help to turn the table around?
SDP has a weak starting point, perhaps at 30% or at most 35%. This will be the main contest between SDP and the PAP even there is a multi-corner by-election. Even there is one to one contest, bookies will give the ‘win’ to the PAP.
And changing Singaporeans’ attitudes towards democracy, transparency and accountability is a huge challenge. Whether aggressively or passively promoting and engaging the change, the result is not impressive at all.
Interestingly in parliament, PM Lee Hsien Loong discussed 5 key principles of Singapore political system early this year. In which, he also mentioned about accountability, open, contestable, and political stabilisers (the Presidency).
[“Most political systems have such stabilisers built in - either an upper house, like the Senate in the United States or the House of Lords in United Kingdom.”
“Singapore is too small to have either an upper house, or regional sets of Governments beyond Town Councils. But we too need stabilisers, especially in two areas: Protecting our reserves and safeguarding the integrity of the public service,” Mr Lee said.]
Obviously, the PAP does not think ‘the checks and balances in the Parliament’ is a stabiliser. The obvious result of GE2015 seems to support this.
‘Bo chap’ or ‘don’t care’ political attitudes of many Singaporeans have also made the PAP their natural choice.
And SDP has to face an unfriendly press…..
How can SDP break the cycle? Their by-election campaign team has started working, how can they reach the heartlanders and residents in HDB flats?
Working harder than the PAP, perhaps, is the answer.
Look at this situation:
Bukit Batok by-election is a new learning experience for the oppositions whether there is a breakthrough or not.
This is the lesson not only for SDP but also for other opposition parties.
All the best and good luck, SDP!