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Tuesday January 23rd 2018

Which party will win the Punggol East by-election?

I took a cab¬†ride ¬†last week to my¬† appointment and the driver was chatty on the Punggol East by-election – he told me that the Workers’ Party will win the Punggol East by-election even though it is a five-cornered battle!

I told him that even in a three-cornered fight, PAP will win as the opposition votes will be splitted between the other two opposition parties.

I quoted him statistics from the Presidential election which saw a 4-cornered Tan fight and we knew how it ended.

Note that this cab conversation  happened  last week and   before the Prime Minister announced the by-election date.

“Workers’ party sure win one la…” he told me emphatically as I sat behind the cab.

“They have the wind and it is blowing at their¬†end now.”

Workers’ Party sure to win?

Maybe my cab driver  was very much influenced by the Hougang SMC by-election win just six months ago when Yaw Shin Leong absconded from the MP seat triggering a by-election.

Though I wanted very much to agree with my cab driver, I must admit that PAP has the winning edge now in a four-cornered fight.

It is also no wonder that the Prime Minister quickly announced the Nomination Day to be on 16 January follows by voting day  on 26 January.

Some have speculated that he wants the by-election to be done and over with before the AIM findings become public but  I disagree as I thought  the Prime Minister has seized the early advantage  knowing  that  the SDP seriously also wants  to contest in the by-election.

SDP has grown in leaps  and bounds since last year by proposing a series of well-thought-up papers from healthcare to population growth.

It’s Secretary General Chee Soon Juan has also grew more sober and matured and many observers have detected that he is a changed man now compared to many years ago when he went on a unpopular hunger strike and yelled at the then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong during a election campaign.

SDP actually deserved a shot at the by-election but I am sure that Workers’ Party will not give way especially when¬† they have contested in that ward during the past election.

There is this unspoken  rightful claim to a by-election ward if the party has contested in it before.

I am sure that SDP will not be happy if the Workers’ Party contest in Holland GRC if there is a future by-election in that area.

Moreover, what  probably irks many other opposition supporters is  that WP seems aloof and distant after  winning the Aljunied GRC   and   do not make any attempt to connect with  other opposition parties.

There is this enforced  exclusivity which bothers many Singaporeans.

They behave as if they are the only elite opposition party and cut themselves off from the rest.

I  believe that this is wrong as a united opposition is the biggest threat to the ruling party and not  just a solo  dominant opposition party.

Unity of opposition parties in GE 2011

We all knew that the ruling party’s worse nightmare happened three weeks before Nomination Day during the 2011 General Election when all the opposition parties came together and strategised so that there would not be a three-cornered fight in any constituency.

When I saw¬†a picture of all the opposition parties’ chiefs sitting round a table curving ¬†out their turf of engagement for the general election, I saw unity and hope for the country.

It is when all the opposition parties could sit down and unite together for a common cause, then the ruling party will shudder and worry.

The strategy worked well for the opposition during the previous general election  as it is envisaged that any three-cornered fight would automatically hand the favour back  to the ruling party.

Political analysts have argued that there will be 40% loyal  PAP voters followed by another 30%  of  die-hard opposition supporters with the remaining 30% comprising of swing voters.

Even if the remaining 30% of  swing voters totally support the two other opposition parties,  PAP will win as their voters are pretty loyal and the two opposition parties have to share the  other 60% votes.

PAP loyal supporters comprise mainly old folks of the Lee Kuan Yew era, civil servants, generation X PMETs who are gainfulyl employed and doing well  and businessmen with PAP ties.

It is envisaged that the ruling party will win the Punggol East by-election by less than 50% this time  round  - probably in the mid-40s percentage range.

Too many negative stuff has  happened since GE 2011 especially for  those who are disillusioned by  the foreign influx affecting their employment and housing opportunities.

Many local PMETs were replaced by incoming foreign talents and our resale flat prices  have sky-rocketted causing many new couples to miss out on better housing choices in the resale market.

Multiple-cornered fight benefits PAP

If Workers’ Party could have the mandate to go in as a¬† solo opposition¬† party and contest the Punggol East by-election, there is a slim chance that¬† they may win¬† against all odds.

PAP’s candidate Dr Koh Poh Koon seems weak and not a strong war-horse¬† many envisaged PAP will field in a must-win by-election battle.

He also looks shy and unapproachable  on photo.

During the last general election, the Workers’ Party managed to garner 41% of the total votes by fielding a young female candidate.

SDA’s Desmond Ang garnered 4% of the votes which rightfully should go to WP and lost his deposit.

Unhappy Singaporeans

Singaporeans are generally unhappy with their living conditions right now especially with the flood-gate of foreigners in our midst.

Things have pretty much gone downhill after GE 2011 with serious infrastructure  failure such as the massive Orchard flooding and frequent SMRT breakdown.

The public scrutiny  of the sex scandal cases  involving top civil servants and of course Mr Michael Palmer have also place the ruling party on a defensive mode.

More seriously, their famous whiter-than-white party slogan has gone down the drain of no return.

Moreover, the latest AIM scandal involving the town councils have capped off a dismal year for the ruling party.

A by-election is the last thing they want on their agenda especially when it is triggered by a sex scandal involving their own  high-ranking politician.

Never so much negative stuff has happened in any given  year  since the ruling party  seized power in 1965 that it is as if they are shooting themselves in the foot time and again.

The regular by-election syndrome seems to favour the opposition parties more  as it allows them much needed publicity which usually come once every five years.

For the Workers’ Party, they could not have ask for a more regular opportunity to gather 30, 00 people and propagandise their message to them for five nights straight during campaigning.

As for the ruling party, every by-election is a unwelcomed distraction as they have no time  to  try and  rebuild from the disastrous GE 2011.

They also could not consolidate  and build on the popular National Conversation which allowed them to speak to at least 10, 000 people so far.

Nevertheless, unless the opposition parties come to a compromise and field only one candidate, the ruling party will win for sure.

This  by-election is one  that PAP  could not afford  to lose as it  will be a serious stab to the morale of the ruling party and cement the common belief that PAP is on the slippery slope of power decline.

Written by: Gilbert Goh

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Reader Feedback

9 Responses to “Which party will win the Punggol East by-election?”

  1. sal says:

    I wish that the others will give SDP the chance to fight with PAP on this by election …another party view in the Parliament. Vote the party that come out with good policies for the citizens.

  2. Mata Puteh says:

    Gilbert, you may say that the SDP deserves a shot in the bye-election in Punggol East,but can they truly be as confident as the WP that they will win?? Look, the voters in PE are different from say Sambawang, Bukit Timah but lower middle class similar to those in Hougang! The fervour of the Hougang/Aljunied has blown over to PE. There are cross ties as many have friends, and relatives over there! What is most important is the ties between the WP and the voters in PE. So, even if Dr. Chee feels he has a chance, the voters are not ready for him and between a PAP vs SDP, they, including the swing voters would rather cast their votes to the PAP. I am surprised that the pact made in the GE2011 is not valid?? What you said about the WP contesting in Holland GRC is something out of the genie box! They will never intrude into foreign territory!At the most, they will contest in the Tanjong Pagar GRC! SDP will suffer a terrible image blow should they be branded as the spoiler in PE, just like what had happened to Tan Kin Lian in the Presidential Elections!

  3. jj@39 says:

    i also feel that PAP has a better chance to win the by-election.

    Except for WP, the rest of the opposition parties n independent candidates don’t stand any good chance of winning.

  4. sal says:

    Every opposition party have their counter proposal for any policies ….if SDP manage to get into the house, more questions and debate will be hear and more alternative for policies that affect the citizens…in my opinion

    • jj@39 says:

      How many ppl will support SDP now under CSJ leadership?

      Don’t say get elected into the parliament house, maybe SDP also will lose the deposition money for lousy supporting rate again.

      SDP stands no chance of winning in Punggol East by-election. They should try somewhere else.

  5. sal says:

    We must see the party policies not individual…as human being, we make mistake and learn from it…to be a better person. Its no point having good qualification or position in the organisation but if he or she not willing to help the common people.

  6. Al says:

    My guess is that PAP may win by a shear margin against the opposition party. SDP or WP still need to work very hard to capture the voters’ hearts.

  7. sal says:

    Hope WP will win this by election by 1 vote….and Ms Lee LL will prove to the people in PE until the next election.

  8. sal says:

    Congratulation to WP for winning PE by election …Ms Lee LL hope you will be a good MP for the residents and citizens..Congratulation!!!

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