With the elections fever running high, it was high level drama yesterday when one CEC member of PSP, Mr Alex Tan, called the fringe party leaders “Captains of Sinking Ships.” Some egos were bruised and emotions were running high but deep inside we know that Mr Tan was just being brutally honest.
These are small parties that are facing existential crises with memberships that one can count with 10 fingers and 10 toes. In an effort to salvage the situation, they have banded together to form an alliance and in my opinion they are just clutching at straws.
Earlier this month, Tan Jee Say, the secretary general of SingFirst, was quoted in the main stream media, for starting a new alliance to facilitate the entry of Dr Tan Cheng Bock into the formal alliance structure that they are currently setting up.
As we see it, there are two problems with this proposal. Firstly, these fringe parties, have not done much since they last contested in 2015. In fact, some of their party members have left them and have joined Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Progress Singapore Party. Some of the prominent opposition figures that have left the various opposition parties to join PSP include Hazel Poa, Michelle Lee, Ravi Philemon, Augustine Lee and Adbul Raman.
There has been an exodus of members from the fringe parties into PSP. And PSP stands at 1,200 members, making them the fastest growing political party in Singapore. Some PAP members have also defected to join the new burgeoning political party.
The other problem with the proposal is that, there is no motivation to enter into an alliance with the smaller fringe parties for they do not have any common ground to stand on. The marriage between the alliance members seems tenuous, they do not have a common ideology or philosophy. It is just a recipe for disaster.
It appears, the fringe parties have a chope mentality, like how customers of hawker centers chope their seats for lunch – Just because they arrived at the scene earlier it doesn’t mean that the constituencies that they have contested before is theirs.
Alliance building takes time, no doubt, but seriously there needs to be a convergence of minds and ethos for any meaningful coalition to take place. Making press statements to the main stream media and forcing Dr Tan Cheng Bock to the table is an ill conceived strategy and in bad faith, I say.
Sadly, the fringe parties think that alliance building is like swiping right on Tinder and are expecting the other party to swipe right as well.
Politics is no Tinder and Alex has just swiped left on the fringe parties. Good on you Alex.