Dr Bilveer Singh, an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Political Science, has asserted that he believes Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “will be facing the most organised Opposition in a long time” given the election preparation efforts of the various opposition parties in Singapore.
Mr Bilveer, who recently published a book entitled in his new book “Is the People’s Action Party Here to Stay,” pointed out that the three most notable opposition parties in Singapore – the Workers’ Party (WP), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the new Progress Singapore Party (PSP) – have mobilised their troops and have been working the ground.
The WP is the only opposition party in Singapore to currently have a presence in Parliament while the PSP is led by ex-People’s Action Party (PAP) parliamentarian Dr Tan Cheng Bock, whose close friendship with PM Lee’s estranged brother Lee Hsien Yang could convince the younger Lee to join the political fray.
In an interview with TODAY, Assoc Prof Bilveer said that although a May election is popular given past election trends, waiting to call an election in mid-2020 may not be ideal of the ruling party given the ongoing trade war and geopolitics that impact Singapore’s economy.
Pointing out that the Government has called elections in December (1976, 1980 and 1984) and January (1997) in the past, Assoc Prof Singh said: “It will be a judgment call and a political gamble made by no one else other than PM Lee, who in my opinion will be facing the most organised Opposition in a long time. I think both the PAP and the Opposition are already ready to go to the polls.”
Assoc Prof Bilveer identified three possible windows for the next election to the national broadsheet: October, January before Chinese New Year, and after the Budget – around end-April to May.
He predicted: “The longer you wait, the worse it will get for the PAP. The global environment and economy is bad. While there will still be support for the PAP in a bad economy, unemployment will still hurt them to some extent.”
In addition to his work at NUS, Assoc Prof Bilveer also serves as Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and President of the Political Science Association of Singapore.
His latest book – which extensively analyses several up-to-date developments, like the finalisation of the PAP’s 4G leadership, the Workers’ Party town council saga, and the efforts to form an opposition coalition led by Dr Tan Cheng Bock – is now available at major bookshops in Singapore like the Kinokuniya chain of stores.