Singapore had their elections again in 2021. Like before, the PAP dominated seats in Parliament. Facts are Singaporeans prefer a stable government, same faces, same party, same philosophy.
But things will change quickly in a few years’ time. PM in waiting, Heng Swee Keat, beat the Workers’ Party 53 to 47%. That is slim. Certainly Singaporeans should have given the future PM better mandate. But this didn’t happen. Singaporeans certainly feel positive about younger and more talented oppositions. The Ramus Lim and Nicole Seah effect highlighted how easy it is for opposition to 1) win over younger talents to run as candidates, and 2) challenge incumbent ministers.
Former PAP MP Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s PSP, challenged the incumbent PAP government and almost beat the PAP in West Coast GRC. Slowly, but surely, as the political climate matures in Singapore, we will see more opposition victories. This does not reflect a weakening PAP. This simply reflects the fundamental need for pluralism and differing voices in Parliament. Singaporeans want this even if the opposition candidates seem to be less qualified than those candidates in PAP.
I fear that politics in Singapore is getting more divisive in two extremes, with new citizens and relatively well to do Singaporeans voting for PAP, and the “others” voting for opposition. I expect WP to win more than 2 GRCs in the next election by 2025. If Dr. Tan Cheng Bock manages PSP well for another 3 to 5 years, Singaporeans can expect Dr. Tan’s team to attract even more talent to take away 1 to 2 GRCs from PAP.
It is possible that by as soon as 2025, PAP may not have its 2/3 majority. This means, PAP will still govern Singapore. Singaporeans will have about a decade to prepare scenarios where PAP does not form government.
Some questions Singaporeans have to answer for themselves
- Do Singaporeans want to accept the establishment, where government linked companies (“GLC”) still dominate businesses. In addition, we still field a lot of candidates from GLCs. Does this create a perception that GLCs are somewhat politically linked?
- Do Singaporeans want Ministers that may not be as technically competent, but actually care a lot more for the heart of Singapore? I.e. Will Singaporeans prefer Ministers that fight for rights of Singaporeans even if these policies are less effective to grow the economy?
- Do Singaporeans want a parliament where one party cannot pass new laws as and when they please? Do we want a parliament that can hold different views? Do we want opposition parties strong enough to check on the ruling party?