The planned coalition between four opposition parties has fallen apart, with the parties choosing to hold informal horse-trading talks instead of linking up as one opposition bloc. It is said that the planned coalition died out after running into problems with the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA).
In January this year, the Reform Party (RP), Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), People’s Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced plans to register a coalition ahead of the upcoming General Election. In April, the parties expressed an interest to apply to join the SDA, Singapore’s only registered political alliance.
The SDA, however, irked the leaders of the four parties with the way it communicated certain decisions.
Revealing that the alliance with SDA was “not working out,” RP chairman Andy Zhu told TODAY that the SDA chose to tell the Straits Times that it would be suspending the membership application intake indefinitely, instead of communicating this to the other parties “straight in the face”.
DPP secretary-general Mohamad Hamim Aliyas also said that an alliance with SDA was a “no-go” while PPP chief Goh Meng Seng echoed Mr Zhu’s frustration. Expressing disappointment that the alliance with the SDA fell through, Mr Goh told TODAY that it would be “too late” for the SDA to reconsider its decision now since “preparation needs time.”
SingFirst leader Tan Jee Say said that the four parties are instead holding informal talks to decide which wards to target, so that they would not be “competing against each other”. The parties are also open to helping one another in areas like human resources and logistics.
The four parties are already working together to avoid three-cornered fights as much as possible. While the RP, PPP and DPP are all looking at the newly carved out Kebun Baru single member ward, Mr Goh promised to coordinate with RP to avoid a clash while the DPP graciously said that it will contest the ward only if Mr Goh decides he doesn’t want it.
While plans for an opposition alliance have fallen through, Mr Goh still believes a union is the way forward to keep the opposition cause alive beyond the upcoming election.
Asserting that an alliance could help parties consolidate manpower and “put their brains together” to work together on policies in the interest of the nation, Mr Goh told TODAY: “An alliance is not just a marriage of convenience. I see strength in every other political player, especially their leaders.”
While the upcoming election, which is expected to be held next month, could be Mr Goh’s last run at the polls, he still wants to do his part in setting up a “real” opposition alliance once the next election concludes, whether he wins a seat in Parliament or not.