Singaporeans apparently fear a non-PAP government?

I certainly do not think that Singapore fears a non-People’s Action Party (PAP) Government and we are more than ready for a change in Government.

The article from South China Morning Post (SCMP), “Singapore election: why lots of parties will make little difference” that was written by a former Straits Times Editor, warns the opposition that:

“When calls to topple the PAP get too loud, Singaporean voters tend to retreat into the safety of the ruling party’s embrace.“

The article has also essentially written off Singapore’s opposition movement as one that is in disarray, disjointed and incoherent with little chance of achieving any meaningful electoral result at the upcoming General Elections essentially because “uniting the opposition is mission impossible” and without a “by-election” strategy voters fearing a freak election result would flock to the safety of voting for the PAP.

In a scathing indictment of the chances of the alternative political parties at the ballot box, it is the view of that writer that there is no strength in numbers but rather incoherence and confusion instead.

His central argument is essentially that too many cooks spoil the broth and that opposition disunity creates a dilution of the opposition vote.

The article states:

“Ten possible challengers for the PAP may seem like a genuine threat to the ruling party. But unlike a soccer match, higher numbers do not translate into a winning score in Singapore’s opposition politics. Instead, the crowded field has seen these parties score two own goals.

First, the more opposition parties contesting, the higher the likelihood of multi-cornered fights during the election. These fights rarely weigh in favour of the opposition when they are up against the PAP.

Second, more parties mean more mixed messaging and a lack of a coherent and centralised strategy from the opposition camp.”

Several questions arise from the points raised in the article under review:

  • Do more Singaporeans fear a change in Government than those who think Singapore needs a change in Government?
  • Do Singaporeans think that the opposition can form a credible alternative to the PAP Government?
  • Is opposition unity a guarantee for success at the polls for the alternative parties?
  • Is it impossible for most of the alternative political parties to cooperate to prevent three-cornered fights and otherwise maintain coherent messaging and a unity of purpose?
  • Is the opposition as incoherent and disjointed as the writer suggests?
  • Will many Singaporeans still vote for the PAP no matter how badly the PAP Government treats them?

While I do not have access to data to answer these questions adequately, I can certainly take issue with the views expressed in the SCMP article.

To be fair, the writer of the article linked below most certainly makes several valid and interesting observations but equally makes several unnecessary assumptions and an important omission in making his unduly pessimistic prediction.

The main assumption I would find fault with being that the possibility of a change from the PAP Government freaks Singaporeans out into voting for the PAP.


This is very old school thinking especially convenient in opposition bashing without any real evidence or research to support such a conclusion.

The references to certain election wins on the basis of a “by-election” strategy is sheer conjecture. Each opposition electoral success can be attributed to several other factors including sheer hard work on the ground.

He also assumes that the alternative parties will not co-operate to prevent three-cornered fights or maintain common messaging.

Again this is something that can be managed and is indeed largely managed though admittedly three-cornered fights do appear to dilute the opposition vote.

One glaring omission in his argument that must be considered in any discussion of GE voting patterns in Singapore is that with respect to pull factors. The writer essentially only talks about push factors that dilute the opposition vote base.

It is my view that this is largely the case. In fact, there are at least three pull factors that operate on voters in favour of the PAP that have nothing to do with the opposition per se which the writer does not address as briefly sketched out as follows:

Brand adhesion – Loyalty and otherwise misguided loyalty (mass delusion and false consciousness through years of brain washing and a lack of critical enlightenment).

Fear – The politics of fear through years of PAP fear mongering (including therefore the operation of a “Political Stockholm Syndrome” within our kidnaped democracy where fear prevents people from seeing the obvious truth to deny reality as part of a perverse dependency within a survival strategy).

Habit – Apathethic voters who do not think critically and do not see any valid reason for change by virtue of sheer inertia.

It is important to note that the political processes across Southeast Asia including Singapore are centred on personalities and families rather than on ideologies or competing policies.

Our last GE 2015 is a good example as the Lee Kuan Yew factor, following his death dominated the emotions of that election. The fact is that this overwhelming emotion that overcame the nation has largely become less prominent and in fact, has instead been overtaken by the emotion of disgust people feel over allegations of abuse of power by the Prime Minister against his siblings with respect to Lee Kuan Yew’s estate. The significance of emotional factors was wholly omitted in the assessment under review.

Finally, the writer fails to mention that there may be a very high probability that the ground is particularly sour against the PAP and perhaps to an extent that is unprecedented in our political history; that will surely impact the polls.

For all these reasons it is my view that the writer has overstated his case somewhat and is otherwise unduly pessimistic.

The proliferation of alternative party’s and a failure to adopt a by-election strategy is not the only reason why the opposition movement has not found favour with the Singapore voter yet.

In fact, it is my view that there are several pull factors that account for the sorry state of opposition voices in Parliament and it is vital that these factors be addressed in any campaign to unseat the PAP Government.

On the other hand, there may indeed be reasons to be optimistic as the balance in pull factors in the PAP’s favour to date can easily tilt into push factors against them and hopefully may already have.

Vote Them Out. #VTO.


Khush Chopra




18 Responses to “Singaporeans apparently fear a non-PAP government?”

  • To TRE: ad big problem:

    Hi, TRE, your sponsored content loads unstop. Hundreds of picture ads.
    As long as the mouse is over the pictures, they keep loading more and more.


    Tech: Did noticed the sudden change in display and have contacted the advertiser for their immediate action. Thank you.

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  • TeuBlu:

    Seriously not totally true.
    We need to see a strong oppo alliance to win over most fence-sitters.

    Partly its oppo parties’ own doing of remaining fragmented that is the cause of PEOPLE still opting for PAP.

    Many sgs are fed up with PAP but the oppo is not offering much of a *COMFORTABLE* choice?

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    Basically a lot of people are afraid to vote against their emplyers. Unless they get laid off, then there’s a reason not to vote white.

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  • Providential Meals for a PRICE:

    Too many (other) cooks spoil the broth?

    But the incumbent culinaire upsets stomachs wholesale for too great a demand on our meagre pockets. And it’s gotten dirt-rich experimenting in its glossy kitchen.

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  • UniQ:

    The oppos are facing a huge oiled machineries. Thus, voters needs to know if the oppos are ‘strong’ enough when they are voted in. The signs is having a strong coalition with good prominent figures that voters can relate to under a single banner, not the suggested 4-5 parties. Imagine how parliament will work with so many thoughts and concepts while the nation suffer under a smallest disagreement on policies ? How the nation is gonna move ahead in the next 4 years under so many camps of thoughts and interests ? Definitely NOT A JOKE..

    In order to project their will to serve, voters are looking at the will to listen to the voters to form a coalition. If the starting block from voters view is not even fulfill, how on earth does one think most voters will consider at the polling booth ?

    The oppos do not need frustrated and angry voters, they need voters with a conscience mind. Ppl with family, career, businesses to consider how to move ahead. Many have to plan their next move along with the current dynamic political landscape.

    Family plans will have to swift, Career viability will be affected, Local Businesses will have to decide on their path ahead when they head to the booth affecting hundreds and thousands of jobs, foreign businesses needs to report back on viability to continue operations based on stability and strong governance. Singaporeans cannot afford to avoid these thoughts so too with the oppos. Thus, without a definitive ‘strength’ to go against this machinery, let’s not waste everyone’s time.

    Since modern democracy, its always a ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ wing ideology, a Conservative/Liberal divides, now you see the point where history does teach us something ?

    All nations will have both the frustrated and the resentful. Its usually the literates that changes the tides. See USA, Poland, UK, etc. These are the people who thought things over and not hear-say. That’s how TRE started about a decade ago. Definitely not through hatred and frustration.

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  • MikeB:

    Singaporeans are fed up because each oppo has its own agenda and has no strength on its own. Even Workers Party is weak on its own. There are many Singaporeans fence sitters hoping for Oppo parties to work together with the same agenda as one united party.

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  • ex-guy from 151th standard:

    //Finally, the writer fails to mention that there may be a very high probability that the ground is particularly sour against the PAP and perhaps to an extent that is unprecedented in our political history; that will surely impact the polls.//

    afterall , it is a ex-guy from 151th standard.

    perhaps a propaganda piece to perpetuate the myth of the white idiots as long as possible. white idiots have ruled more than 5 decades and they have good writers finessing their 151th standard of grandmother story writing during this long period ?

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  • John Lim:

    Of course! Look what happened in the last election. Because the opposition fielded every ward, and KBW came out with a statement that said “No guarantee the PAP will form the next government”, all frightened voters to the prospect of the opposition forming the next government! And a lot, instead, voted for the PAP!

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  • WP my lose Bedok Reservoir:

    I was a bedok reservoir and heard from resident there who newly moved in were unhappy with the road conditions in the estate and they believe there is wrong doing with the funds of wp TC.

    WP is partly to be blamed too.
    It has not been able to convince many residents that it is clean.

    Also WP has not raised many issues which they know exist. I am not going to name these issues in housing estates.

    So, I also have no choice but be suspicious of WP , whether it is a real opposition party or for Wayang?

    WP may lose Bedok Reservoir this GE.

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  • opposition dude:

    The article isn’t wrong in saying that the opposition can’t come together as a coalition. What the opposition has shown in the last 2 GEs is that they can avoid 3 cornered fights if they so wish to unlike in GEs of the 90s.

    What the article has got correct is that the majority do not vote for the opposition, otherwise we would have more than 6 opposition MPs by now. It’s a fact to say that the majority are super kiasee. After all who has never heard of the 2 famous excuses uttered by all kiasees tio bo?

    The opposition has tremendous work to do and should an opposition party have enough quality people to take on PAP in over half the parliament seats is when we might see a change in government. The kiasees are very comfortable with a one party government because it’s the only thing they know. And we all know the kiasees fear change. And we also know that you cannot change their minds ever.

    So whatever plans any opposition party has must take into account the majority of kiasees. If the kiasees can actually sense that an opposition party might be better than PAP I would not be surprised if they voted for that opposition party instead.

    But remember, for now at least it must be a 1 for 1 replacement. The kiasees will not accept a coalition government for sure, otherwise we would have had one by now.

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  • NotMyProblem:

    We should not be still thinking of Opposition alliance, no need. Just remember it is People vs PAP, when PAP loses the People win that’s all we need.

    We need to take back the country that we love. If Hong Kongers can say they can die for their cause, for freedom and liberty for themselves and their future generation, why we cannot use our votes to fight for ours.

    Just vote against the PAP that’s all!! DON’T MARK THE “X” AT PAP’S BOX, just put the “X” in the other box.

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  • Sickman of SG:

    Those 70% sickman, when they lost their job, they has no fear, They only fear PaP is no more Govt. Because the PaP always clown like a Santa Claus. Fear U n Reward U. This coming GE, many public said GE will B help in Sept. August month give U a Chicken wing of $300. Nowember anothe Chicken wing of $300. If Sept they lose the GE. no more chicken wings ($300) for U. Those 70% sickman fear no more $300 for them.

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  • More Pain Needed:

    No need to over analyze things.
    All kinds of excuses came up because the pain is not enough.
    When pain is enough, change will come.

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  • UniQ:

    Oppos Candidates,

    Read the postings above.

    Tell me if you guys wanna be voted in based on intellect or visceral choices ?

    Because the repercussion will the great and the entire land will roll along with your doings, due to the failed foresights in the beginning.

    Sincerely, looking for an answer.

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  • UniQ:

    The very voters that put you guys on the seats will be the very ppl that crumble you.

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  • there goes your answer right ?:

    //I was a bedok reservoir and heard from resident there who newly moved in were unhappy with the road conditions in the estate and they believe there is wrong doing with the funds of wp TC.//

    aiyoh. road condition under TC meh ? did you talk to WP TC or SOME AUTHORITY IN CHARGE OF ROADS to REMIND them or you guessing that they know ?

    you forgot ah, there are some busy body unelected adviser(s) from the white idiotic gang there also ? did you inform them ? or they find no unhappiness on (or cannot see any) the road conditions there excepting you ?

    //So, I also have no choice but be suspicious of WP , whether it is a real opposition party or for Wayang?

    WP may lose Bedok Reservoir this GE.?//

    So which party you find not suspicious and most likely to win if WP loses lar ? there goes your answer right ?

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  • Should Elections be Abolished?:

    If singaporeans who oppose opposition want a PAP-ONLY-ETERNALEE govt, then they may support a bill that abolish elections, if such a bill ever is tabled.

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    Please lah: Peh was never editor of The Straits Times. Get your fact right.

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