Suggestions for opposition movement

1) Put aside differences and form an alliance. Self interests should be seconded to overall opposition interests. As it is, even Workers’ Party and Low Thia Khiang face real risks of being voted out of parliament. PAP is too strong and has demonstrated that it can sweep away the entire middle ground. No one can afford not to cooperate anymore.

2) The next campaign must start now. The alliance must decide soon, the candidates for the next election. The chosen candidate must start walking the ground today so that over the next five years he or she would have built a good rapport with the ground and stand a better chance at the polls. Each candidate will walk only an SMC sized ward so that whichever GRC the SMC eventually gets assigned to, the candidate simply joins that GRC.

3) Decisions will be made by an alliance council comprising the secretary generals of the various parties. Rightfully, decisions on who to field and where ought to be settled amicably either through negotiation or vote within the alliance council. But if that is not possible, a nomination election process can be conducted to choose the best candidate. An independent company that all parties agree on can be engaged to conduct the nomination election. A random sample electorate can be polled to see which opposition candidate is the most popular. He or she would then go on to represent the alliance in that constituency. Candidates from various parties can be mixed and matched to the same GRC for overall optimal performance.

4) Implement a carrot and stick system to nudge voters in the right direction. For example (just an example):

– Constituencies scoring less than 30% will have no contest for the next three elections
– Constituencies scoring less than 35% but more than 30% will have no contests for the next two elections
– Constituencies scoring less than 40% but more than 35% will have no contest for the next election
– Constituencies scoring less than 45% but more than 40% may have contest in the next election
– Constituencies scoring 45% or more will be guaranteed contest in the next election

Most Singaporeans treasure the sacred right to vote. The opposition has a power, the power to deny that right. Use that power wisely. This will only work if all opposition parties cooperate in an alliance. Don’t worry about the independents as they tend to lose their deposits.

Cut out the expensive rallies (more like seventh month getai). They generate excitement but not votes.

5) Recognise the middle ground sentiment. They have spoken in no uncertain terms that they simply do not want any opposition party to form the government. Whatever the opposition does, it must never trigger the fear that the PAP may fall. The sad reality is that most of us will probably never see an opposition party govern Singapore in our lifetime.

6) Recognise that all the issues raised so far have little or no effect on the middle ground. The middle ground profile is probably quite comfortable; they are not going to wake up in the middle of the night worried about CPF or the old folk collecting cardboards to supplement income. They probably have enough savings over and above CPF, have bought their homes already or have gotten used to high prices, have gotten used to MRT breakdowns every now and then, which is the new normal. Continue to raise issues but don’t expect any of them to have a knockout effect on the middle ground. Policy suggestions will have to cater primarily to the middle ground which probably means policies won’t be too different from those of the PAP. Yet, there must be differentiation in those policies to avoid PAP crying plagiarism.

7) Enlarge the personal network. There is anecdotal evidence that most of the fear mongering spread through personal contacts like SMS and email. The opposition must catch up in building that network.

8) Take it easy; don’t work too hard because most of your efforts will go down the drain. The middle ground wants you to make noise but doesn’t want you in parliament or at least not in large numbers. The middle ground is actually not so middle after all but favours the PAP instead. It can tolerate or even like the PAP for all its warts. Even though it is ever ready to teach PAP a lesson whenever it seriously steps out of line, but as long as PAP recovers well, it is always ready to welcome PAP back. It’s a no win situation compounded by the heavy influx of new citizens.

Do your best, but don’t expect victory.

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One Response to “Suggestions for opposition movement”

  1. jay sim Says:

    Point 7 is one area the opposition needs to do more. The scaremongering that came 2-3 days before polling was swift and from left field. It was difficult to respond in time.
    Build the network now.

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