Transitioning: First of all, thank you for responding to our questionnaire on the Workers’ Party Punggol East sizzling by-election victory, can you please state your educational qualification, marital status and work experience?
Dan: Bachelor degree, married, exceeding 10 years’ working experience.
Transitioning: Are you surprised by the wide margin won by the WP? Why?
Dan: I am surprised the PAP is behind when they should be ahead leading the engagement with citizens. Only when PAP realized the WP was knocking on every door did they follow suit. I am surprised at their complacency.
Transitioning: Many Singaporeans have predicted that PAP will likely win the by-election due to the 4-party election battle or that there would at least be a close fight, what happened here?
Dan: The early bird catches the worm. Voters do want to be wooed. The PAP was slow on both counts. Case in point. My previous PAP MP Maliki bothered to visit n dialogue with us. PM decided to replace him with a Vikram.
All I hear (not see) is that he prefers social evenings in pubs etc. I saw he drives a Jaguar. He’s only 30.
I suspect he and his type (Dr Koh) are not really interested in citizens’ welfare.
Transitioning: Do you think that the last-minute withdrawal of SDP proved significant in the victory for WP? Why so?
Dan: Perhaps. This is a rhetorical question. In this case, the SDP avoided the bruised reputation and forfeiture of $14,500 election deposit suffered by RP and SDA.
Transitioning: Do you think that with the loss of two SMC within a short period of 10 months, Sinaporeans have now clearly endorsed WP as the dominant opposition party?
Dan: I wouldn’t read too much into that. BE 2012 was WP defending their seat. BE2013 was WP capturing the incumbent’s seat. All in all, it showed Singaporeans gave vent to their frustrations (whatever that may be).
Transitioning: What do you think are the main reasons why Singaporeans are swinging their votes to the opposition in such large numbers?
Dan: Clearly the PAP being the incumbent has shown themselves to be reactive than proactive. Paying themselves millions in a poor economy does frustrate the average wage earner. Their wages remain depressed whilst living costs keep shooting up.
Transitioning: What should PAP do now to prepare the ground for a sweeter general election in 2016?
Dan: They now have the unenviable task of boosting citizens’ welfare in 36 months.
In WP chief Low Thia Khiang’s words – the policies’ benefits need to trickle to the ground quick.
Transitioning: Many analysts have written that because of the by-election effect, Punggol East residents have swung their votes to the opposition as it will not rock the boat too much, do you agree? Why?
Dan: Partial. Mainly I think the reason is as stated in point 6.
Transitioning: Lastly, how do you think the ruling party will react to the by-election loss? Will they continue with their pro-foreigner policies or significantly tighten the influx as this seems to be the main grouse of the population right now?
Dan: My humble and contrite view is this. Borrowing from IT terminology. The PAP must stop using patches (“koyok”). They need to go back to the drawing board.
The old paradigm is gone. Singapore society, like many countries, will become more unequal. Question is: how do the Government reinvent a new social compact? A package whereby the have-nots do not begrudge the haves. Eg. How does the Government ensure my family, jobs, healthcare, housing and educational opportunities are not compromised given that my income is only $4k compared to my friend whose income is $15k?
Thanks and end of interview