Cynical Investor’s take on my comments on opposition candidates and unity

After the rout of the 2015 GE, the political scene has quiet down by several hundred decibels. Only a few political commentators are left writing about local politics. The IPS did a big survey on the possible reasons for the collapse of the opposition camp in the GE with fairly similar conclusions as those coming out from the social media.

The two points that I made on opposition unity and rounding up of credible candidates are something practical to do but would not guarantee that they will win the next GE but would definitely put them in a much stronger position to take the PAP head on. How the opposition is going to form a coalition and what this coalition will be like is amorphous and there is no absolute formula for it. It would depend on the opposition leaders to work out what kind of coalition they would be comfortable with as each party and leaders would have very strong views on that. It may be a loser coalition, something like the Pakatan Rakyat of Malaysia when uncomfortable they may be about each other’s manifestos or objectives, there is still a common enemy to face. To propose or suggest a formula from anyone is premature and may not even be welcomed.

As for the credible candidates available today versus the loose cannons, let’s be polite and not to be too specific and personal. The credible opposition party leaders would know who are the better candidates to fish out from the mirky waters. It is not necessary that one must have a Ph D or be a lawyer or doctor to be a good politician or national leader. What is important is the heart must be in the right place, that the well being of Singaporeans must be the most important goal for whoever that wants to lead the country. Definitely you do not want pretenders or people that would sell out the interests of Singaporeans even if they are genius in their own fields.

The present loose opposition camp with all the talents scattered would not do. There are many good candidates appearing in the last GE. They did not lose because they were no good. Many were any time better than the PAP candidates. There were many factors and unknowns that shaped the result of the last GE. Many of the factors would not be around or would still have the same effects in the next GE. The PAP possibly have maxed out their advantages and political capital this round. When the political wind changes, the same batch of good opposition candidates could turn out to be winners. Good and bad, credible and not credible are relative. And in a GE there are many imponderables that would determine the final outcome.

What the opposition camp needs to do is to strengthen their position, regroup their forces to fight a better fight. How the voters would cast their votes, if all things are fair and equal, is anyone’s guess. No one has a solution that can ensure success for the opposition, not me, not any of the opposition leaders, not anyone. The opposition leaders must get working now and not to let time to slip by and wait for the wind to change. 4 years could pass at a wink and the new faces of the last election would be more matured and seasoned and could be better recognized by working for it from now till the next GE.

A GE is not just about the two weeks of campaigning. The campaigning starts now. The ground work starts now. The coalition work starts now. They need to build this up to be in time for the next GE. They did to do something more substantive to make a difference. Not doing anything is not an option. If the next GE is going to be the same, then it would be a waste of time for the opposition camp. They need to make things happen in the next GE by working for it now.


agongkia said...

//They did not lose because they were not good.//........

Good oso must have brain and being able to see far.Phd is just a piece of paper.
Those you think is good may not necessarily be so.Ph. oso got fake one.

Best is to get those botartcheh kopitiam lawyer who appear to be gong gong , look like paikias or cheekopeks...,but they may be the one being able to see further ,know the ground and on how to win or able to foresee 70%.
Important is to have a good heart to serve without expecting to be paid.Can serve as oppo too.But.....loo oo lui bo?

Anonymous said...

WP Teochew Ah Hia already said that in a GE, majority voters are very scared to accidentally vote PAP out because WP is not ready to be govt.
And WP Gerald Giam went further and said WP will not want to form a coalition govt with other opposition parties! No wonder he lost in East Coast GRC!

And as a result of what above 2 said, and this one I said, majority voters (aka 70%) are so scared that they even accidentally gave the PAP a bigger mnandate than they wanted to! Hahahahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Our opposition parties are not there yet to act arrogantly. They need to compromise with other oppo parties to stand together. Behaving like a prima donna would only end up like the last GE, white washed.

Old Man of the SEA said...

Politics in Singapore or anywhere else means

1. money and time,
2. passion and endurance,
3. shrewdness and sustainability,
4. teamwork and co-operation,
5. leadership and character.

These ten factors are necessary to ensure success.

It is not just about getting a group of like-minded people and form a political party and then enter the Elections, and hoping against hope to be able to get elected.

It is not just about getting all the Indian Chiefs to come together to from a loose coalition party like the Pa-kai-tan of Malaysia. A loose coalition party won't work in Singapore simply because Malaysians know how to be humble when need be. They have been humbled for decades by the Bumiputra Policy that favours the Malays over all others. Singaporeans are arrogant to the core, especially when they managed to win one or two seats their heads swell so big that they start thinking that they are the defacto Opposition leaders and can push their weights around. Other smaller opposition parties may give way. BUT the voters can see and the voters can feel. So a few votes tip the scale. Then Ponggol East was lost, isn't it correct?

Even the newly formed Singing First all the way to Tanjong Pagar. What does it tell you. Before it can crawl, a new baby wants to run and fly. It wants to challenge the unchallenged seat of the Godfather of Singapore, albeit dead and gone physically. But his legacy is still fresh and alive and kicking. His legacy alone is able to kick some asses out of his previous areas of influence and dominance. Sing first and talk later or sing first and dream on?

The next GE is not just about winning the hearts of Singaporeans. It is going to be a two-prong requirement: Singaporeans and New Citizens. Any political that neglects the New Citizens' votes will not win. That is for sure. And this is the hardest thing to do for the Opposition Camp because they have nothing concrete to show. Their only weapon of political war is their mouths - Rhetorical Theatrical Comedy to win the minds but not the hearts of the voters.

The Singapore voters, both local Singaporeans and New Citizens, are not stupid. They think for their own welfare. They think long-term. They do not want instability and political upheavals, chaos and mayhem like Thailand and Malaysia. Moreover, they a political brain-dead. Therefore, trying to win their minds cannot do. You have to win their hearts as well. And where are their hearts? Think deeper.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Old man at sea, welcome to the blog.

Agree with what you said about local politics and the pivotal role of new citizens.
Only time can wear down the PAP, and provided they keep on dismissing the interests of the citizens and making life unbearable. If they can do more good for the citizens in general, they will continue to win the support and will continue to rule.

For the moment, only the PAP can decide their fate, to continue to rule or to lose the support of the people. They have track records on their side.

Anonymous said...

Our political model is very unique and well entrenched, the ONLY ONLY
one in the world!

Unless there is an internal SPLIT within PAP, otherwise there is very
very slim chance for the oppositions.

PAP is now too BIG to fail!

PAP is very active at all corners of this very crowded tiny city state.


Anonymous said...

With the kind of Oppies in Sg, the Incumbent qiao kah yeo lanpa oso can win every election la.
Sg got Aung Sung Su Kyi or Mandela or not ?

Anonymous said...

PAP will continue to win in the next few elections.

Reasons: 1. They control the Televisions
2. They control the news medias
With the above they are able to run down the oppositions as when they are
to their advantage. Look at the last few elections.Look at the headlines and the way they present them.
3. Do not under estimate the role of PA. Go and talk to the uncles and
aunties learning line dancing, tai chi etc there. Plus trips to taste durians etc
4. Numbers of people working for GLC including unions. They are heavily
on the side of PAP.
5. Through the town councils and CC they know the details of every
citizens.. eg where they work, what is their income, etc. Based on these they are able to act accordingly. Don't forget. They have the financial and manpower to
implement anything they want.

So the only hope, break up of PAP.

Anonymous said...

What goes up, must come down. It's a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

So the only hope, break up of PAP.
Anon 2:52 p.m.


Which PAP MP or MPs will be khong cum (retard) to break away to form new party? Or cross over to join WP Teochew Ah Hia or SDP Aung Juan Soon Chee? You think Sinkieland is like Myanmar?

Anonymous said...

Dear Redbean, I wish to correct your misconceptions before it is too late. While we support the opposition, our views must be grounded in reality.

Your article does not reflect the reality in Singapore. Singapore and Malaysia are entirely different countries. In Malaysia, Pakatan Rakyat coalition was possible because DAP, PKR and PAS have different vote bases and they need each other in order to have the numbers in parliament to form the government.

In Singapore, there is no such thing because WP, SDP, SPP, SingFirst, etc. do not have different vote bases. Other than WP, the rest have no seats. Without seats, how can you claim to have a vote base? DAP, PAS and PKR had elected seats BEFORE the formation of Pakatan Rakyat. DAP's vote base were Chinese voters, PKR's vote base were urban Malay voters and PAS' vote base were the conservative Muslim voters. In Singapore, can SDP and SingFirst claim to have a vote base? No, they can't because they LOST elections and have no track record of winning.

What would the WP gain from associating with these losers in a coalition? They have not proven that they can win a single seat, so what's their value in a coalition? You say they have credible candidates. We both agree on that. But the hard truth is that the WP can attract credible candidates too and can do without these guys from the other parties. There will be no bargaining chip for a coalition UNLESS the other parties win seats first.

WP will only lose out from being in a coalition with the likes of Chee Soon Juan. Face it, Dr Chee is not a vote puller. If WP were to ally with Dr Chee, they will lose most of the middle ground votes. PAP will easily make the election a referendum on Dr Chee's character and WP will surely lose if they have to defend BOTH Dr Chee and their town council issues.

With the WP's narrow win in Aljunied, they are barely holding on to the middle ground votes and the last thing they need is to be burdened with the taint of associating with Dr Chee. I agree that WP needs to become more vocal in parliament, but that is something they have to do on their own. They are better off on their own than in an alliance with other parties.

Anonymous said...

Moreover, in a coalition, there will be leadership problems because the opposition leaders all want to be the chief. By right, only the party that has parliamentary seats and has consistently won elections can get to be the coalition leader. In such a coalition, will Dr Chee and Tan Jee Say accept that their place is far below Low Thia Khiang and ALL the WP MPs? And that they cannot talk to the media without Low's approval? Remember, WP is a very strict, disciplined party. Nobody can talk to the media without permission from their CEC. And WP is all about grassroots work. Everyone must do 3 years of grassroots service or else WP will not field them as candidates. Even if a very qualified person wants to run for elections, WP will not field him if he did not do grassroots work beforehand. SDP and SingFirst do not agree to such a rigid criteria. WP also does not allow their members to use Hong Lim park.

Do you see my point now? The opposition parties have different leaders, different leadership styles, different ideologies, different members and different cultures. They cannot work together because that will only bring them all down at once. There will be endless conflicts. That's why WP's Low said at the Punggol East by-election rally that Opposition unity is impossible.

SDP has the potential to grow but it must do so alone. SDP has gained ground this GE, but they still have a long way to go before they can ever win a seat. PAP will always bring up Dr Chee's past in every election and it will take time before the middle ground trusts him.

To be more realistic, your articles should not talk of an 'Opposition coalition' for that is just an idealistic dream that will not be achieved in the near future. What you can do is to focus on WP and SDP separately (do not lump them together) and mention each party's progress. That is the best way to grow these parties.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

In politics there is a saying, you can sleep with the devil, or your enemy's enemy is my friend. The most important job for the opposition parties now is to win votes. How best are they going to do it I don't think anyone has the answer. But to continue the way they are doing will be futile.

The base is the 30% plus whatever they can win from the 70%. We are different from Malaysia but winning the votes is still winning the votes. One of the problems is that the talent pool of the opposition is spread too thin and wide. A coalition is one way to bring the talents together. You can form a coalition before an election, not necessary only after being elected.

There is another problem, with every Indian chief aspiring to be the Prime Minister when they can't even get elected as MP or can't win enough seat to form a govt. They need to be less ambitious, get to parliament first, second, to win enough seats to form the govt. Who is going to be the PM of a new govt should not be an issue to keep them apart. Cross the bridge when you are there. Be contented with being an MP first and be happy with being a minister. There can only be one PM.

They must be humble enough to know that not everyone can be the PM and must be willing to join hands, to sleep with the devil, at least there is a better chance to be elected as an MP.

Is there anyone out there with a formula for the opposition to win more seats or to form the govt in the next GE? I know I don't have the answer.

Anonymous said...

It's not about who gets to be the Prime Minister in a coalition. The issue is who calls the shots in the coalition. Who decides what they do and what they say? Different parties approach elections differently. WP sees elections as a grassroots campaign. SDP sees elections as a debate with the PAP.

The best formula for the opposition to win seats is to do a grassroots campaign BEFORE the GE. Must visit every household and make their faces familiar. This strategy worked for WP in Aljunied in 2011 and Punggol East in 2013.

But in GE2015, it didn't work because WP spent too much time defending their town council issue and did not do thorough groundwork in East Coast GRC. The WP team in East Coast were mostly new faces and they did not work the ground enough as compared to WP in Aljunied before 2011. They did their best, but they were not consistent in their outreach in the years before GE2015.

WP has been trying to correct their mistake since the GE defeat. Immediately after the GE, they returned to doing house visits in the constituencies where they lost. Lee Li Lian is still active in Punggol East where she lost. NCMP Leon Perera is still visiting residents in East Coast GRC. NCMP Dennis Tan has been consistently working the ground in Fengshan SMC. He is doing house visits for the HDB flats and private estates. In fact, he is more active there than the PAP MP Cheryl Chan. Dennis also reflected that unlike house visits during the GE which were short, now he has time to spend more time with residents and get to know them better:


Redbean, the only formula for the opposition to win any election is do a thorough grassroots campaign in the constituencies contested. The WP must reach out to every resident in the GRC or SMC and beat the PAP's People's Association (PA) grassroots at this.

That's why the WP needs to be consistent. WP underestimated the strength of the PA grassroots in GE2015. Now they are more prepared. We as netizens must also be prepared to join the WP grassroots before or during the GE to add more force to their campaign. More volunteers means more ground can be covered. Need a lot of volunteers to go to every house for a GRC campaign.

The defeat of Lee Li Lian, Yee Jenn Jong and Gerald Giam was actually good for WP because it frees up three strong leaders to coordinate the WP grassroots in Punggol East, Marine Parade and East Coast.