Thought of the Day - WP's Struggle & Impact on Opposition Dynamics

Many people maybe confused by the statements made by WP SG LTK. First, he changed his previous stance about WP not going to form the alternative government made just a few years ago to proclaim that "WP has the foundation to form the alternative government if voters support it".

Then he announced he will be stepping down as SG of WP next year.

Why would a party leader making such an optimistic proclamation not so long ago would want to announce his retirement as the leader of the party?

Many hardcore WP and opposition supporters jumped in joy when LTK said "WP has the foundation of forming the alternative government" without much thought.

For me personally, I was stunned when LTK uttered such words about "forming the alternative government".

In Singapore's opposition politics, we cannot win solely based on hardcore anti-PAP-opposition supporters. We will need to win the middle ground voters over as well. But sometimes, there are differences in perspective the hardcore opposition supporters vs the middle ground voters. The views on opposition party forming alternative government is one of the biggest differences.

Most of the hardcore opposition supporters would very much like to kick PAP out and have opposition party to form the alternative government. But most of the middle ground voters would frown or even frighten off by such idea. The GE2015 results is one of the most indicative preferences of the middle ground voters who had swung their votes against opposition parties across the board for fear of a "Freak Elections result". Although they would like to see more opposition voices in parliament but they do not want PAP to lose power as ruling party!

Thus, we always thread very carefully on this fine thin line and the LTK whom I know, WILL NEVER MAKE SUCH CLAIMS or mention anything about forming alternative government because he knows this will be unhelpful and will not win him any votes from the middle ground!

And it is EXCEPTIONALLY STUNNING for LTK to talk like that from a position of WEAKNESS instead of Strength. The circumstances surrounding the AHTC saga is extremely unfavorable to WP and WP has exposed its pure incompetency at the very least in this whole saga. Would anyone in his right mind, from the middle ground, believe that WP is suitable to form the alternative government at all?

It is obvious that LTK is just playing to the gallery of hardcore opposition supporters instead of trying to gain trust and confidence from the middle ground. This may mean that he has already given up hope of winning back the support of the middle ground voters since the razor thin victory over Aljunied GRC with a margin not more than 1% in GE2015.

This could work to put up a sympathy bid of being politically persecuted by PAP in the AHTC saga. But the most important intention lies in his words. He said "WP has the FOUNDATION to form the alternative government". What exactly does that mean?

It basically means that WP has the resources to contest AT LEAST HALF of the seats in Singapore. That's what it means. It is a show of WP's intention to contest at least half of the seats for the next GE!

But why would WP under such bad conditions wants to contest MORE seats instead of focusing on less seats and trying to defend AHTC and Hougang?

The political calculation is simple. They have come to the conclusion that they will not be able to win Aljunied GRC, maybe NOT EVEN Hougang for the next GE no matter how hard they try. This is because they have lost all the goodwill, trust and support of the middle ground voters. That is the reason why they are turning to the hardcore supporters to consolidate their support by making such "bold statements".

This is also why LTK announces his retirement from the SG post in such early stage. The next OPC elections of WP's CEC is 9 months later in July 2018, why would he make such early announcement?

The situation may be very harsh on the AHTC saga. They might even launch their third legal attack on WP over AHTC. LTK may be hit very badly and as a seasoned veteran politician who has accumulated huge amount of political capital and legacy, he would sure not want to end his legacy in a defeat at the polls. Thus, I guess that he will not contest in the next GE at all.

But since the chance of winning next GE is so slim with the anticipation of the total destruction of WP's middle ground support, why would the party considering contesting more than 50% of the seats?

The answer lies in the 12 NCMP seats. The only way to ensure that WP continues to dominate the opposition presence in parliament is to win all the 12 NCMP seats. The only way of doing that is to spread the leaders to fight different GRCs so that hopefully, they could win enough votes to gain one or two NCMP seats each for each GRC or SMC battles.

This would mean that the recent announcements made by LTK should be viewed with great pessimism. The party is over for opposition like WP to win seats in next GE. The only thing left to fight among opposition parties are the 12 NCMP seats.

WP's intended "expansion" of contest has nothing to do with the hope of forming alternative government but rather, a desperate struggle to win the 12 NCMP seats.

Thus, we will be seeing a lot of three corner fights mainly with WP in the next GE and they are embarking on an early campaign to solidified hardcore opposition supporters' support by giving false hope, singing the tune of "alternative government" when there is seriously no way they could achieve that under the current circumstances, under the curse of AHTC saga.

Goh Meng Seng