Singapore—In the party political broadcast on July 2 (Thursday), Pritam Singh, the secretary-general of the Workers’ Party (WP) warned against the risk of power falling into the wrong hands, adding that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP)’s “self-checking could fail.”
And while the PAP is all but guaranteed to form the next government, Mr Pritam urged voters who live in areas where WP teams are contesting to vote WP candidates into Parliament, underlining WP’s slogan this year for Singaporeans to make their votes count.
He underlined three ways in which people’s votes can count. First, that WP Members of Parliament will bring up issues in Parliament that PAP’s MPs will not raise, citing such examples as the GST test balloon, the Keppel Offshore and Marine scandal and the constitutional amendment on the Reserved Presidential Election, which WP has brought up.
Second, that WP voted pave the way for other “sincere and capable people” to join the party and run for Parliament, adding that votes would serve as an encouragement for “new and diverse voices.”
Third, Mr Pritam said that “Rational, Responsible and Respectable Workers’ Party MPs in Parliament” would provide a safeguard for Singapore from a “complete dominance of Parliament by one party” that would give a small group of individuals complete control.
He added, “Our long-term dream is for Singapore to have a healthy democracy where there are two or three parties who could form a competent and honest government.”
The WP chief cited the example from other countries where power was consolidated in the wrong hands, noting that the same could happen to the ruling party.
“The PAP is not immune to such a risk. PAP self-checking can fail.
If the wrong people show their true colours only after reaching our highest offices, Singapore is finished. The true safeguards for the people of Singapore are strong political, economic, civic and community institutions that do not favour any party. We need such safeguards.”
Mr Pritam was referring to a statement by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong from the election in 2015 wherein he said, “We (the PAP) are our own checks.” The WP leader had taken issue with Mr Goh’s declaration, and asked voters at that time if this is a system they want in Singapore.
He also acknowledged that the WP “cannot form the next government” as it is only fielding candidates for less than one-fourth of the seats in Parliament.
To end his speech, Mr Pritam reiterated the importance of voting for the Workers’ Party, emphasizing that Singapore is a democracy, not an aristocracy.
“To sum up, your vote for the Workers’ Party is a vote for a contrast of voices and the questioning of the PAP when needed. It is a vote to encourage new blood to contest in future elections.
Finally, a vote for us is a vote for checks and balances to safeguard Singapore for coming generations. We must not be an aristocracy where power is held by the few. We must be a democracy where power is in the hands of the many.” —/TISG
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