GE2015 [Analytical Essay]: Seeing the bigger picture behind the PAP’s “Suicide Squad”

*The direction and intention of this article might have been taken out of context after the edits of TOC.

After TOC Edits:

Another reason for PAP’s reluctance to field a heavyweight: should the PAP end up winning, the public reaction will most likely be the following: Singaporeans, WP’s supporters and pro-opposition supporters may call the PAP a bully for not giving the opposition parties a fair and equal playing field, since it is widely accepted that they purposely field high-ranking Ministers not only in significant pro-oppositions areas, but also in some other constituencies, just to take away the opposition parties’ chances of winning against the PAP.

But the PAP clearly still does not want to let even one more opposition party into any GRC in Singapore. There is already the lack of alternative voices. Why are they so resistant to change and only want to continue a dominant-party system legacy? The government should welcome diverse presence, to enable it to become more vibrant and progressive. This contradicts PAP’s statement that they respect, and are opened to more opposition parties being elected into Parliament.

Original:

All these are to ensure WP keep their presence and ground in Aljunied GRC, for another 5 more years. I highly doubt the residents can bear removing these two prominent leaders of WP. Thus, the government would not want to let history repeat itself and make the same mistake twice. WP are as of presently, the only opposition party taking care of a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and not only that, they are also viewed as playing the role of PAP’s check-and-balance as what many Singaporeans and trend analysis say.

Another even bigger reason which may allow us to see the bigger picture is that – if PAP really put heavyweights e.g. like Ministers, and PAP end up winning, the public reaction will most likely be the following – Singaporeans, WP’s supporters and pro-oppositions may complain that PAP are being bullies for not giving the opposition parties a fair and equal playing field, since they purposely fielded high-ranking ministers not only in significant pro-oppositions areas, but also in some other constituencies, just to take away WP’s or the opposition parties chance to win against PAP. This shows PAP do not want to even let even one opposition party into any GRC in Singapore. There is already the lack of alternative voices. Shouldn’t they at least give oppositions parties some chance? Why are they so resistant to change and only want to continue a dominant-party system legacy? The government should welcome diverse presence, to enable it to become more vibrant and progressive. This contradicts PAP’s statement that they respect, and are opened to more opposition parties being elected into Parliament.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) team put together for Aljunied GRC this coming election is also known as the “suicide squad”. There is one veteran MP Yeo Guat Kwang. He has served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Aljunied GRC from 2001 to 2011, before moving to Ang Mo Kio GRC but still, I do not consider him as a powerhouse. He was also supposedly tipped to retire from politics this year.

It may be just an assumption, but it may be a possible reason why PAP do not mind putting in a veteran minister, since he may already have intentions of leaving the political scene.  The other four contestants candidates are newbies – Chua Eng Leong, Victor Lye, K Muralidharan Pillai and Shamsul Kamar.

What comes to your mind when you see this team’s formation is that PAP has already shot themselves in the foot, and do not mind giving away Aljunied GRC back to the incumbent Workers’ Party (WP) because possibly, they do not want to risk losing politicians of important or influential standing if they took the risk to put powerhouses like what happened in 2011 e.g. PAP lost to Workers’ Party when they contested in Aljunied GRC against WP, and foreign minister George Yeo decided to leave politics soon after.

There is a high risk of PAP losing because look at who they were against with in 2011, and again this year? It is WP – and not just any members from WP, but Low Thia Kiang who has been the long established face of WP, alongside Sylvia Lim, another prominent WP’s figure. It is an assumption here again, that it may be due to the town council fund saga, which is why Low Thia Kiang and Sylvia Lim could have chosen to stay put in Aljunied GRC, though one could have ventured out to increase the likelihood of WP winning in other constituencies.

All these are to ensure WP keep their presence and ground in Aljunied GRC, for another 5 more years. I highly doubt the residents can bear removing these two prominent leaders of WP. Thus, the government would not want to let history repeat itself and make the same mistake twice. WP are as of presently, the only opposition party taking care of a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and not only that, they are also viewed as playing the role of PAP’s check-and-balance as what many Singaporeans and trend analysis say.

Another even bigger reason which may allow us to see the bigger picture is that – if PAP really put heavyweights e.g. like Ministers, and PAP end up winning, the public reaction will most likely be the following – Singaporeans, WP’s supporters and pro-oppositions may complain that PAP are being bullies for not giving the opposition parties a fair and equal playing field, since they purposely fielded high-ranking ministers not only in significant pro-oppositions areas, but also in some other constituencies, just to take away WP’s or the opposition parties chance to win against PAP. This shows PAP do not want to even let even one opposition party into any GRC in Singapore. There is already the lack of alternative voices. Shouldn’t they at least give oppositions parties some chance? Why are they so resistant to change and only want to continue a dominant-party system legacy? The government should welcome diverse presence, to enable it to become more vibrant and progressive. This contradicts PAP’s statement that they respect, and are opened to more opposition parties being elected into Parliament.

Hence, if PAP weighs both the pros and cons of putting a “suicide squad” compared to putting together a team with a few powerhouses from a far-sighted perspective, the pros will outweigh the cons. Why? PAP’s winning back Aljunied GRC from the incumbent WP is favourable for the next 5 years (short-term), but may result in a strong public backlash for the many years to come, as they are deemed as being bullies (long-term).

Such negative publicity is not only bad on PAP’s Aljunied MPs’ image, but also that of PAP’s overall image in the long-term. On the other hand, the “suicide squad” was already expected beforehand, and thus, it only brought about mild media reaction for PAP’s Aljunied team (short-term) – that they do not have a high chance of winning for this election, but it does not even significantly impact PAP’s overall image in the long-term.

To check out more of our posts on GE2015, click HERE

Written by: Cass

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