Mixed Feelings – By-Election Effect, Fear, Frustration and Change in Aljunied

Aljunied is the big fight, a grudge match to be exact since WP and PAP want to do better than the 43.91% and 56.09% respectively in 2006. The WP now is a stronger team than in 2006 Low Thia Khiang risking all to come over because of while the PAP team still has the 3 big names, George Yeo, Lim Hwee Hua and Zainul Abidin Rasheed. I left out Chen Show Mao as he is a product of media hype who just returned and joined politics, just like the PAP candidates like the SAF generals who appeared out of nowhere and similarly built up by media hype around their so-called qualifications.

First World Parliament, co-drivers, the WP admitting that it is not ready to form the government, all rhetoric for non-Aljunied voters. Property prices dropping because of delayed upgrading once Aljunied falls into WP hands and better infrastructure in the estate if it remains in PAP control and the pressure on them to vote opposition while the rest of Singapore can vote PAP is what Aljunied voters might fear and be frustrated about, something that the PAP is trying desperately to leverage on. Aljunied voters have the fate of Singapore’s opposition on their shoulders because of the Not In My Backyard syndrome of the other SMC and GRC voters stuck in the Singaporean kiasi psyche.

George Yeo is an unfortunate victim of politics. He is not the minister overseeing housing, CPF, transport, employment, immigration, national service, taxes i.e. issues which irked Singaporeans. He is instead the chink in the PAP’s armour purely based on political geography of 2006 and proximity to Hougang. That’s politics and too bad for him. Singapore might lose a foreign minister but looking at things, the PAP will probably dominate parliament and the next foreign minister would be a PAP man still as everyone else in Singapore would vote for PAP as they presume Aljunied would vote for WP. Reviewing the mood so far, the PAP might lose this time.

Why would the PAP lose? Low Thia Khiang is finally risking all by daring to stand shoulder to shoulder this time with Sylvia Lim in Aljunied. The latter was to establish a beachhead in 2006 and the time is ripe for a GRC takeover attempt in WP’s view. Looking at his brand name, WP’s excellent track record however limited it is in parliament, the Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Low team look solid. Especially when the PAP makes dark threats that Aljunied voters would live to regret it if they vote opposition. This type of ultimatum to force Aljunied’s choice is going to backfire on the PAP.

So far the WP thrust is on a First World Parliament but really as they don’t intend to form a shadow cabinet, their talk of First World Parliament is mostly empty, but catchy. What WP is extremely strong in is however their proposals on healthcare, housing, a social safety net etc. besides rightly self-absorbed municipal concerns which Aljunied residents might be more interested in. The PAP is drawing WP in a debate on First World Parliament and the WP appears to be sucked into that debate which works well for the rest of Singapore, but probably less so for Aljunied voters. WP stands on the high ground so far striking a chord with the rest of Singapore, but Aljunied might feel different about it. Or they might not and actually back the First World Parliament dream and live with the trade-off of being in an opposition ward. The hustings are not over yet though.


2 Responses

  1. Opposition taking over Aljunied GRC alone will not change anything except more debate in parliament. PAP still have 2/3 majority to do anything they like. Theoretically, they can amend the constitution to expel all the opposition seats in the parliament and no one can stop them doing so. To effect a real change like abolish GRC opposition needs to secure 2/3 majority in parliament that is very unlikely. So, this GE2011 will not change anything at all. Most Singaporeans do not understand how our political system works. Sad. This is the result of failed nation building that the ruling party is responsible.

  2. An alternative party GRC team inside the parliament changes everything. The PAP would be humbled and fall over themselves into helping us to win back the votes, and the alternatives would be inspired to meet our expectations even more.

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