Sunday, May 07, 2006

Singapore General Elections 2006 - Results

So, the hammer is down. PAP by a country mile.

The results came out around midnight yesterday (polling day). Winning 66% of the total votes cast nationwide, PAP has retained 82 seats of the 84 seat Singapore parliament. The opposition retains their 2 seats and the opposition candidate with the highest losing % of votes cast will get another NCMP (Non-Constituency MP) seat .

I guess the results are as expected. With 40% of the voters being born after independence, a 66% vote seems reasonable. But papers report that the 66% was evenly spread, meaning apparently 2 out of 3 young Singaporeans approve of PAP's methods. Do you think so?

Anyway, my personal opinion is that the opposition played the wrong strategy in this election. Choosing to confront the PAP over bread and butter issues like jobs, HDB upgrading, manifestos, economic plans etc. They have to realise that they can never beat the PAP along this path.

1. The PAP is the govt. They have access to figures, projections and most importantly, civil service expertise to construct and back their claims. Challenging the ruling party on their figures and charts is a losing game.

2. Track record. It's beyond me why the opposition keeps getting baited to argue with the PAP on track record. The PAP has an excellent track record. The prosperity of Singapore is testament to that. The opposition has NO track record. But the point that they keep missing is that they are NOT EXPECTED to have a track record. If you've never been in govt, nobody expects you to be able to prove that you can do a better job.

3. Forming an alternative govt. This seems to be the opposition's main thrust. They want to be the alternative to the PAP. That's again untenable, why? No data and no track record. Nobody wants an untested govt, especially one made up of sales executives and bar owners.

So how? What can the opposition do? If it were me, me ah... I'd base my campaign on complementing the PAP.

How? I'd argue that as good a job that the PAP is doing, they can do better. How? A credible opposition. No matter how good a single party govt is, it is never optimum. History and logic dictates this fact. Argue that the PAP needs credible opposition to... wait for it.... lend it more credibility! Having the opposition scrutinise its proposals, offer & recommend suggestions, and if the motion so deserves, lend its approval and support - can only make the govt better, more accountable and more transparent.

And what better way to reduce suspicion and antagonism amongst the 33% (who didn't vote for the PAP). People see the value in having a credible opposition. As the 2006 election showed, 33% of Singapore's voters saw value in having some opposition, ANY opposition, regardless of the candidates' quality. That is a sad situation.

So, yeah... that'll be my manifesto. Complement the PAP and help them get better - by being a credible, devil's-advocate opposition in parliament.

No comments: