Low's Low-Down on Opposition Politics

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Ex-Reform Party candidate Frankie Low says that opposition political parties must form an alliance if they wish to be elected, even as he insists “the parties will never unite.”

Singapore’s opposition parties run like Chinese businesses. There’s no way they would give up their idealistic pursuits to form an alliance,” says Low. “Unity is a viable option,” or else many, with the exception of the Workers’ Party, will not be able to reap results.

It is said that time is a critical factor in politics and Low is well aware of that. “Opposition political parties don’t have the luxury of time and resource to do whatever they want. If they wish to form a strong mandate and help citizens fight for their rights, first they would have to set aside their differences and unite.”

It is no surprise that Low got this idea from across the border. Three major opposition political parties — the Democratic Action Party, People’s Justice Party and Pan-Malaysian Islamic party — came together to form a strong front to contest against the ruling Barisan Nasional party in the May 5th elections. The result is positive. Pakatan Rakyat won 46.75 per cent of the votes while Barisan Nasional took home 50.27 per cent of the votes.

Speaking on behalf of his new party Monday (Dec 23), the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Low says that the DPP is open to forming an alliance with other parties as it is aware that opposition parties have a lot of work to do; from policy planning to going door-to-door to meet residents.

The question is: will Singapore’s opposition parties take Low’s advice, given that each party and its leader have different ideals?

Earlier this year, the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan has caused quite a stir when he tried unsuccessfully to court the Workers’ Party with a hot deal during the Punggol-East by elections. Dr Chee made a public announcement that he was interested in standing under the Workers’ Party banner, however, if the party wins, SDP will run the township. The Workers’ Party objected vehemently to Dr Chee’s courtship.

When asked when will the next General Elections be held, Low was quick to reply: “2015 – – the economy will not bode well for Singaporeans in 2014 and resentment will go up. When that happens, the government may be pressured to hold the elections earlier than expected.” 

Low also made some interesting analysis based on his observation of Singapore’s political climate. He said that although the ruling People’s Action Party has done its part to listen to the people, it still has a lot more work to do. The very purpose of having an opposition in parliament is to ensure that the ruling party is constantly kept in check so that it could do more for Singaporeans, especially in areas like healthcare, housing, transportation and education.

Low said that the National Solidarity Party looks set to win a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the next elections, while Workers’ Party will take home a couple more GRCs and Single Member Constituency (SMC) seats. 

The Singapore People’s Party will possibly win back Potong Pasir SMC, provided if the electoral boundaries are not redrawn in favour of the ruling party or that the entire SMC is dissolved. “Lina Chiam has performed way above expectations compared to when she first started out.” Says Low.

Both the Singapore Democratic Party and Reform Party might not win anything.

On retrospect, the PAP may reduce the number of SMCs and increase the GRCs, thereby making it challenging for opposition parties to win in the next elections.

Reiterating on the role of the opposition parties in Singapore, Low says that more oppositions are necessary to push the PAP to do more for Singaporeans.