A former opposition politician who had contested two General Elections (GEs) under the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and the Reform Party (RP) banner has indicated that it is unlikely that both parties would be able to clinch seats at the next GE.
Gilbert Goh, a noted socio-political activist, rose to prominence in 2011 when he contested Tampines GRC under the NSP ticket in that year’s GE. In the 2015 GE, Mr Goh ran as part of the RP’s team contesting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s own ward, Ang Mo Kio GRC. Mr Goh and his colleagues lost both the 2011 and 2015 GEs.
In an article published on transitioning.org – the support site he runs for unemployed and underemployed Singaporeans – today (18 July), Mr Goh said that it is “difficult to foresee” how parties like the NSP and RP “could win anything in the coming GE even though they have tried for many times.”
Naming the NSP, RP, the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and People’s Power Party (PPP), Mr Goh said that winning seats at the next GE would be akin to “climbing Mt Everest” for these smaller parties.
He predicted: “Most Singaporeans are pragmatic and still prefer the PAP to form the next government but yet many are craving for a alternative voice to provide a stable check-and-balance in Parliament.”
Asserting that the people may prefer bigger opposition parties like the Workers’ Party, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), Mr Goh predicted that while he does not foresee that there will be a change of Government in the next election, he also does not expect the PAP to sweep all the seats.
With regards to the WP – which is the only opposition party that presently has seats in Parliament, Mr Goh predicted:
“The Worker’s Party should still win Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC though the former could prove elusive with the town council suit hanging near it’s throat. It could swing both ways depending on how the government decides to carve out the constituency boundery – they have a huge advantage here though as both the Election Department and constituency boundary committee report to the Prime Minister Office.
“It could even place a minister to contest in Aljunied this time round to foster confidence instead of a unknown team in the previous 2015 GE as it has only lost by less than a mere percentage of the votes.
“Nevertheless, I foresee that the WP’s Aljunied team will finally triumph by virtue of it’s strong ground support during the last two terms and that more importantly, Singaporeans still want to see a firm alternative presence in Parliament.
“Most of the WP’s Aljunied MPs have done well in Parliament so far and their supporters should continue to vote for them in this coming GE to maintain the status quo for the main opposition party.”
He added that a potential Tan Cheng Bock-Lee Hsien Yang partnership could be a force to reckon with and help the PSP clinch a GRC, and that the SDP’s Chee Soon Juan and Paul Tambyah could finally be elected into Parliament.
While Mr Goh does not seem to have much hope for the rest of the smaller parties – including the two parties he was once a part of – he feels that the “PAP will not get another 70% mandate as the LKY sympathy factor has all but evaporated and much has changed in the current political climate.”
Asserting that the current regime seems to be “weaker” since the election, Mr Goh said that the decision to choose Heng Swee Keat as the nation’s next Prime Minister, the widening lack of jobs for fresh graduates and the job uncertainty ageing PMETs face could cause the PAP to lose more ground.
He predicted: “Swing voters could be out in full force this time round and it is believed that at least 10% of pro-PAP supporters may swing their votes to the alternative.
“However, the current new citizen voters (estimated to be at least 8% of the electorate or 180,000) are able to neutralise the predictable swing ensuring that the incumbent will remain in power at least for this soon-coming election.
“With each general election, the contest will be made more difficult for the alternative as more new citizen voters will join the fray rendering any voting swing neutral to the opposition cause.” -/TISG