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Letter: Political landscape and challenges for opposition parties in Singapore

Letter delves into Singapore’s political dynamics, highlighting generational contentment and challenges faced by opposition parties against the dominant People’s Action Party.



by Teo Kueh Liang

I read with interest, The Independent Singapore’s Opinion, “Heng Swee Kiat: PAP must continue to win the trust of Singaporeans of different generations” & “Analysts: next GE could be held as early as November 2024” (Nov 7 & 8 respectively).

Generally, most Singaporeans especially the Snowflake Generation (Millennials) and some Strawberry Generation (Gen Z and Alpha) are satisfied with their social status and current living environment and do not want politics to change overnight.

These groups of Singaporeans are generally well-educated, tech-savvy, demanding, idealistic, and ambitious (in terms of their own career path development or business-mindedness). So, as far as they are able to secure a reasonably ideal job, get a HDB flat or condominium accommodation of their preferred choice and location for raising their families. In due course, they are not so particular about who and which political party will form the government.

This situation/scenario is also applied to most academics and professionals.

For businessmen or entrepreneurs, their priorities are generally established upon searching for business opportunities and securing reliable, lucrative business contracts in and out of Singapore based upon the conducive business environment. Hence, these business people are more interested or concentrated in making money, and be apathetic in the spectrum of politics.

Anyway, it is the strategic move adopted by the People’s Action Party (PAP) to target and place its vital focus on the aspirations, interests and priorities as well as the difficulties or plights (such as high costs of living, exorbitant prices of HDB flats and cars, high rental of commercial properties and utility bills) of Singaporeans of different generations.

If the PAP government keeps continually heading towards this right direction, and most importantly, trying hard to resolve all the predicaments of living faced by the different tiers/social classes and different generations of Singaporeans, I am confident that the PAP will achieve its amazing and sizeable results in the next General Election.

On the other hand, the opposition parties in Singapore are relatively weak because there are several political parties, their organizations are small in size, and their financial resources and talents are insufficient. The general impression they give to voters is that they are independent in their own affairs and have their own agendas, lacking of close cooperation among themselves like a piece of loose sand.

Recently, some of the political parties have formed their political coalitions ahead of next GE; this move is to improve strength by integrating resources.

For example, the People’s Alliance (the combination of Peoples Voice, the Reform Party, People’s Power Party and the Democratic Progressive Party) and another opposition coalition which was formed by the National Solidarity Party (NSP), Red Dot United (RDU), Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and Singapore United Party (SUP). However, the Workers’ Party and The Progress Singapore Party still remain individually independent.

The PAP has been the dominant political party in Singapore, it is simply because its political achievements are impressive, henceforth, re-elected continuously since 1959.

It is precisely for this reason that it has always been difficult for the opposition party to recruit outstanding talents to serve and stand guard for their GE.

Furthermore, some political analysts believe that the reason for the long-term weakness of the opposition parties in Singapore is the lack of alternative policies, while others believe that the opposition parties do not have alternative policies.

Thus, small opposition parties must cultivate party members and candidates and improve their “unreliable” image; they must avoid conflicting remarks and attract voters with rational arguments.

At the same time, the opposition party should use another strategy : move the main battlefield to the online world to expound their political parties’ platforms and future governing policies during the election campaign and try to significantly reduce campaign costs.

Editor: The letter does not represent the publication’s views, and we strongly disagree with the reasons the letter writer put forth regarding the difficulties faced by political parties in Singapore, without addressing the hurdles imposed by the incumbent political party.

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Before the Snowflake and the Strawberry generation are the baby boomers and the Gen X. The elite knows despite Baby boomers and Gen X’s dissatisfaction with things, they are not prepared to lose even more, especially the value of their homes. That’s why 4G elites like Indranee Rajah and others often sarcastically ask “Will you be happy if we make land cheaper for the newer generations and your flat value becomes half in the process?” These two generations of Singaporeans are caught in a catch 22 situation, hence many just LL short of a better phrase. The Snowflake and Strawberry… Read more »

I copletely disagree with the writer. The 30% opposition are mainly online. They read different media and make decisions based on information. Most of the 30% will not subscribe to Straits Times and call it shit times. It is the ignorant 70% on the ground who will need visualization to swing to the opposition. This was clearly shown in the Presidential elections. Tharman spent about $700,000 on campaigning. Ng Kok Song spent about $300,000 and Tan Kin Lian spent about $71,000. The results were about 74% to Tharman, about 14% to both Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian. If… Read more »

I do not share the writer’s confidence that the PAP will win big the next round. The opposition has started chipping away at the ruling party and now have 8 seats (from 10) from 2 GRCs. I don’t see why the opposition cannot win 2 more GRCs and several SMCs. Having said that, I believe the PAP will still retain its two third majority at the next GE. The opposition can only hope to deprive the PAP the two third majority at the GE after that ie around 2030. This slow chipping away of the PAP will also mean the… Read more »

Opposition parties are not weak per se as the Teo mentioned. The PAP damanded they the Oppos tied up one hand to fight them in the boxing ring. And what’s more unnoticeable to ignorant brainwashed electorate, is the referee and judges are PAP’s men.

The writer Teo mentioned Oppo parties relatively weak. Technically there might be some truths. But overrisingly, it is also quite nonsensical to talk about Oppo parties bcz he zero on on landscape. The landscape is one of PAP total hegemonic, full control, andamipulatuon of organs to suit theor advantage which is considerably unfair. Some people may claim, PAP is not obliged to help Oppo parties. I would say this is technically correct. But this is DETRIMENTAL to democracy practice to enable a level playing FIELD to the enhancements of voters choices, to give them the rights to have equal access… Read more »