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Opposition leader says it’s “illogical” to expect un-elected opposition politicians to do house visits

PPP sec-gen Goh Meng Seng asserts that Singaporeans should not equate "political work" with grassroots activities.

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In an explosive Facebook post, People’s Power Party (PPP) secretary-general Goh Meng Seng declared that he will not go door to door to campaign during the next General Election (GE) and that he will stick to campaigning online in a bid to overcome “invisible political boundaries”.

Having been in local politics for over a decade, Goh rose to prominence when he contested in the 2006 general election under the Workers Party (WP) in the Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (Aljunied GRC) as one of 5 team members.

The team garnered 43.9% of the district votes, finished as one of the top three non-ruling party district performers and was eligible for a Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) position which was taken up by team-leader Sylvia Lim.

In spite of Goh being a member of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) and a member of the “A team” of the Workers’ Party, he left the WP in 2006 after the election due to “some Internet postings which had tarnished the WP’s reputation”. He then joined the National Solidarity Party (NSP) and became its Secretary-General.

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Goh contested in the 2011 general election in the five-man Tampines Group Representation Constituency as team leader against the incumbent Mah Bow Tan (then-Minister for National Development), receiving 42.78% of the votes.

Goh stepped down from his post as NSP secretary-general after the election in June 2011 “for a breather and to take stock of his future”. He also gave up his seat in the Central Executive Committee of NSP. He went on to help presidential hopeful Tan Kin Lian in his bid for presidency in 2011 before setting up the PPP in 2015.

In a Facebook post published last Tuesday (9 Apr), Goh said that it is “illogical” to expect un-elected opposition politicians to do house visits and that he is doing away with house visits altogether during the campaign period in the next GE.

He said: “I am not going to “walk the ground”, so to speak. Not going to knock on doors, shake hands and kiss babies… I am not going to play the games according to the “indoctrinated rules” set by PAP. “

Asserting that Singaporeans should not equate “political work” with grassroots activities, Goh noted the uneven playing field for the opposition in the Singapore. He said:

“PAP has successfully misled and brainwashed both voters as well as opposition politicians to think that they should put most of their energy in knocking doors, convincing voters they can run town councils instead of putting up strong debates, policy ideas and scrutiny in parliament.
“After opposition won some seats, they will compete with PAP which has the whole machinery of People’s Association (PA), in conducting durian tours, temple tours, organizing events etc…instead of spending most of their time in policy research and debates.”

Asserting that political parties should not function solely as charity organisations, he added:

“In the end, we have political parties doing Charity Work, giving out goodies, organizing events …. instead of doing the REAL political work of analysing, researching and commenting on Real political issues. Political parties are more like Charity Organization or Event Organizing companies or simply Social Clubs nowadays.
“Voters are judging the ‘quality’ of candidates by looking at whether they ‘serve’ them by ‘knocking doors’ or ‘visit’ them. Or whether they attend wakes or temple dinners and such. Or organize any events for them…etc. The most illogical thing is, they even expect opposition who have not won any seat to do all these!
“Instead of looking at the political views, ideologies or ideals of political candidates, we have voters basically “voting blindly” according to “party branding” or whether candidates “walk the ground”! These totally misguided perception and concept of politics is the direct result of PAP’s subtle brain washing.”

Asserting that Parliament will see “empty chairs and empty tables” when “voters and politicians have WRONG and misguided priorities in politics,” Goh added that he is irked when voters tell him that they will not vote for small parties.

Calling such views “an expression of political immaturity,” Goh said: “One who cannot discern good candidates from bad but resort to some “fuzzy branding”, he must be too lazy to really study and understand each and every choices presented to him.”

Touching on his experience contesting 3 GEs, Goh shared that the 2015 GE made his realise that voters are not as “politically matured” as he expected:

“I thought Singaporeans have evolved and matured politically. Finally they understood the importance of checks and balances, with a desire to vote in more opposition MPs. The path of Democratic Development should be on the right track of no return.
“I was proven totally wrong in GE 2015. Voters are basically more emotional rather than politically matured with the determination of making progress for Democratic Development. I decided to stop all “political wayang” which is totally misleading, misguided and even detrimental towards REAL political Democratic progress for Singapore.”

Realising that public political discourse is key to change, Goh decided to contribute to this discourse by expressing his ideas and ideals online. He shared: “This is a slow and painful process. It needs consistent commitment, nothing less than sweating out in knocking doors.”

On why he is focusing on expressing his ideas and ideals online, Goh responded:

“All political movements always start with evangelism of alternative ideas and ideals, not with knocking doors and kissing babies. When the seeding of ideas and ideals take root in the minds and hearts of voters, their emotional sway will be dampen and hopefully, what happened in 2015 GE will not repeat again.
“Dr Sun Yat Sen had done that all his life, in order to convince people that a change of regime from Monarchy to Republic was a necessity. He changed China, not by knocking doors, kissing babies or doing charity work or organizing tours. He did it through endless and continuous evangelism of his political ideas and ideology, which were so alien to his people of his time.
“My ‘Track Record’ is my consistency in providing my political views, ideas and ideals. Ideas and views which PAP would even adapt quietly without giving due credits, even million dollar ‘elite’ ministers would read and adapt in their policies.”

Noting that his track record has to do with his “consistency in providing my political views, ideas and ideals” as opposed to the number of doors he has knocked, Goh promised:

“If you expect me to knock doors, kiss babies, do charity work or organize events, then don’t vote for me. If you only want to vote for some “big party with big brand”, then I am not for you.

“But if you want an MP who will put 101% in parliamentary work, scrutinize each and every policy and laws which PAP wants to pass, then I will be an extremely good choice for you.”

https://theindependent.sg.sg/i-am-not-fighting-pap-or-wp-i-am-fighting-for-singaporeans-better-future-veteran-opposition-politician/

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