The opposition parties are out in force this time around – all 89 seats are contested, and most of their candidates seem to come from respectable backgrounds. Some of these candidates can even speak multiple languages, a fact that somehow always pleases the crowd at rallies!
But I’ve been thinking and observing over the past week’s campaigning, and some of the things these opposition parties say are starting to worry me.
Uniquely Singaporean Parties
First and perhaps most obvious is the reluctance of opposition parties to try and form a government. Most of them are basing their campaign on blaming the PAP, and claiming that they will keep the PAP in check when they’re voted into parliament.
A rather odd logic, if you ask me. Perhaps it is another uniquely Singaporean trait – we have almost 10 opposition parties whose very point of existence is to provide diversity to the ruling party.
Diversity is good?
Diversity seems to be another oft-repeated catchphrase for the opposition parties. Vote me in! So there’s diversity in the parliament!
Do we really want diversity, for diversity’s sake?
And at the end of it all, what does political diversity actually mean? WP has been described as PAP-lite, so I suppose the only diversity there is the color of their shirts. Yet they’re asking for voters to grant them 28 seats in the parliament.
To what end?
28 seats would not allow the WP to block constitutional changes suggested by the PAP, and neither would their opinions actually make a difference in policies. The only difference would probably appear in the bank accounts of the extra 21 MPs.
Policymaking can be scary
Perhaps to set themselves apart, the SDP put out a whole series of alternative policies on big issues like housing and healthcare. What do they say?
Free healthcare! Reduce housing prices! Implement minimum wage!
Errr. Somebody’s gonna pay for all those right? Easy, the SDP says. Cut defence budget by 40%, increase corporate taxes, and increase tax on the rich. Sounds good, but what does that actually mean?
It means our armed forces will be weakened significantly, when our neighbouring countries are becoming more nationalistic.
It means that companies, already facing the crunch from the lesser availability of foreign labour and a possible minimum wage regime, would need to incur even more additional costs.
This must be why even their leader Chee Soon Juan is astutely avoiding any mention of SDP’s policies at their rallies, because they know that when Singaporeans really think about SDP’s policies, they would realise that the policies are not viable at all. So all they talk about is the good old days, when every Singaporean led a relaxing life.