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Wednesday January 17th 2018

Two reasons why PAP won so handsomely in the recent election

Mr Goh,

That is a very good analysis, but you missed two important points.

The first is the external factor, namely all the things that are happening outside Singapore. Over the past year the world has gotten a whole lot more dangerous, politically and financially.

The political paralysis in US, ISIS in the Middle East, the financial and refugees crises in Europe, the China’s economic slowdown that may lead to a world’s recession, Russia’s re-asserting itself, climate change, the gyrating stock markets, and others all add to a sense of an uncertain future. As the saying go, “you do not change horses at mid-stream”.

Many feel that you do not want to leadership in the middle of a crisis, especially when the alternative only brings in more uncertainty.

Which brings me to the second point, the oppositions. It is pointless to blame the ruling party to handing out goodies to get votes. That happens is every democracy, we hear it every time there is an election in the UK.

Yet the government changes hand on a regular basis. For the opposition, it is not enough to offer candidates that are “as good as” the other side and hope that the “throw out the bastard” sentiment will carry the day.

The opposition needs to have someone better. But honestly, are the opposition candidates in this election really significant better than their PAP counterparts? Do they really have a coherent plan of how to govern? Can they provide a compelling vision? Can they help Singapore, a small country, navigate in the choppy uncharted water?

Let’s take your team as an example. In the last four years, how many times have the team walk through Ang Mo Kio talking to the residents and learning about their concerns? What do you really have to offer besides a distaste for the PAP?

Singapore opposition parties need to build themselves up slowly. It may make you feel good to say that every seat is contested. But it is a warning sign to the voters. The PAP members may be a bunch of yahoos.

But many who would cast a protest in order to have more opposition voices in the parliament voted for PAP instead just so that there would not be a fluke and a bunch of unknown and inexperienced yahoos ended up running the country.

So the opposition parties need to reflect and come up with a better strategy. You did some analysis of the percents of swing votes that could have been the result of one action or the other by the ruling party.

Here is another way to look at it. If those constituencies where the PAP won more than 75% (which meant they were PAP strongholds where the opposition parties have no chance) were uncontested, the PAP majority would have been only 67%, meaning that the decision of the opposition to contest every seat actually gave the PAP at least a 2% margin.

Your own slate contributed 0.72% to that 2%. So the delusion of grandeur of the oppositions actually contributed to the PAP landslide.

Thistoo Shallpass

Editor’s note: This article is retrieved from a comment posted here.

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