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Sunday July 22nd 2018

Will Harapan Sg has a chance against PAP without WP in its fold?

The best thing that could happen before the next general election is a united opposition front in the mould of Harapan Sg which is in its initial stage of formation – this is something that many Singaporeans are hoping for so that they could feel unity and strength within the opposition. The unprecedented upset orchestrated by Haparan Malaysia recently has given hope to Singapore that a united opposition front could pave the way for a similar regime change here.

Harapan Malaysia could topple the previous regime because major players have overlooked political self-interest and try to adopt the big-picture view for the good of the country – there were many major self-sacrifices for many players within the league itself and voters could see that motivated many of them to switch political alliance on voting day. Many voters there have in fact voted opposition for the first time in their life and unless we can do the same here and effect a major vote swing for many die-hard PAP supporters, we will not see a regime change any time soon. Voters are also personality-driven in Malaysia and in Tun Mahathir, they saw a familiar face whom they have voted for and counted on before in the past.

However, the opposition here has faced some stick for fighting election every five years in its own divisive nature which many feel could not garner enough credility and confidence when the voters witnessed small parties tackling one or two GRCs with limited resources against a formidable giant.Many Singaporeans, for the longest time, have lamented at the fragmented nature of the opposition with individualistic people at its helm trying to protect its own self interest – which is detriment to the political landscape of the country.

Many voters in fact grudgingly voted back PAP as they can’t see how a small party of five or six members could make things better for them – so for many voters its better with the same devil than the unchartered deep blue sea. Singaporeans tend to go along with a trusted capable foe than a undependable uncertain friend as much is at stake especially when many people here are risk-averse and fearful of any change that come their way.

Besides Workers’ Party and perhaps Singapore Democratic Party, not many small solo parties could garner more than 40% of the voters’ choice let alone win any seats in any election so far so the formation of Harapan Sg is probably the best thing that could have happen for the past five decades for the opposition since election is available after independence. The voters are frustrated to see small splinter opposition parties coming on board with it’s own agenda and a united front is the best way forward for the country which is crying out for change.

The PAP is perceived as weakening under the frail leadership of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the past 12 years and the time for a regime change may be possible if the fragmented opposition could get its own act together to pose a strong united challenge during the next election. Image is vital for political parties and confidence another key determinant if it is to win any seats soon. The Workers’ Party, to its credit, has recently brought in a group of capable ambitious professionals who can add alot of value to the opposition giant which naturally will transmit much confidence to the voters. Its not surprising if the current team can win another GRC with people like Leon Pereira and Daniel Goh in its fold.

However, for all the good that Workers’ party has done recently to try and change the political landscape of the country, it will probably remain a reasonably strong co-driver at best and incapable of overthrowing the current regime or even form the next government by doing things everything on its own.

But can newly-formed Harapan Sg overthrow a powerful regime like what our neighbours did to UMNO just three months ago? Harapan Malaysia has Tun Mahathir as it’s anchor which gave the alliance much credibility and confidence and both the civil society and opposition parties are already working hand in hand closely for at least two decades before the overthrow. The civil society has been organsing a few huge nation-wide Bersih events and many opposition parties have thrown in their support for the gatherings which are earth-shaking to say the least. The protests were attended by tens of thousands of Malaysians are were seen as essential prelude to the regime change during the last election.

Our civil society is still operating very much on it’s own and unless the opposition could romp them into Harapan Sg, it will still be a divisive platform separating the voices of influential activists from mainstream opposition parties. Efforts can be made to try and bring these two groups together into the alliance which will effectively strengthen the team and deepen the opposition core. Influential activists like Alex Au, Jolovan Wham and Kirsten Han will add alot of weight to the alliance as they are the current thinkers and shapers of our country now.

Nevertheless, as for the opposition alliance, its common knowledge that Workers’ Party – the biggest and most credible opposition party so far with six elected MPs will prefer to go alone fighting the battle on its own than join forces with other opposition parties effectively stripping Harapan Sg of its major force and resource. This unsettling news seem to have cause much frustration among the opposition as once again its self-exclusion has reinforced the belief that the only opposition party with elected MPs is not only arrogant but self-centred in the way it conducts itself. If it has other plans and motivation, they should make it known rather than trying to shy itself away from all the other opposition parties.

As the only party with elected MPs, it’s inclusion in Harapan Sg will definitely add alot of weight and confidence to the alliance which is also lacking a key player in the mould of Tun Mahathir. One can only hope that WP will change it’s mind and come on board before the next election later on. The alliance can also turn heads if it could get Dr Tan Cheng Bock – a major player in Singapore’s politics and his clout will definitely add alot of weight to the alliance.

However, the recent formation of Harapan Sg is the right step forward and any regime change will take many years or even decades to happen – with or without the participation of Workers’ Party. At best, we will see PAP challenging WP and Harapan Sg during the next election and this may be the best scenario we may have for the next election which will likely take place next year or a year later.

Written by: Gilbert Goh

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One Response to “Will Harapan Sg has a chance against PAP without WP in its fold?”

  1. Hello says:

    Changing the current greedy regime is not only the GOOD thing … but the even the GREAT thing !!!

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