Embrace a more plural political landscape

The People's Action Party has been given another resounding mandate to lead Singapore into the next 50 years of nationhood.

I have always looked upon the PAP as a political entity that doesn't take things for granted, nor take its voters for granted, even in the early 70s, when it did not have to contend with any opposition members in Parliament.

During the general elections of 1984 and 1991, when the PAP suffered significant electoral setbacks, it moved very swiftly and decisively to fix things to prevent a slide in its popularity. The same happened after the 2011 electoral exercise.

Whether it was the issue of foreign talent, property prices or public transport, it wasted no time in putting things straight.

For those who were hoping for a more robust presence of opposition MPs, this GE has been a disappointment.

But Singaporeans are a pragmatic electorate. We have never wanted an opposition for the sake of an opposition.

Opposition parties may have to relook the quality of candidates they field.

Second, from the onset, it seems quite ridiculous to have so many parties for a small state like Singapore with just 2.46 million voters.

Although the parties may have partially succeeded in avoiding three-cornered fights, the disputes may not have put them in good light.

Perhaps it is time for the opposition to consider contesting under an alliance in the next GE, with a common stand on policy issues, a common manifesto and a common logo. It should improve their chances but, most importantly, it would give electors clearer choices.

As the political landscape becomes more plural, it would put the ruling party in good light if it too embraces opposition politics and engages opposition parties.

This year will also be well remembered for the minimal mud-slinging and lack of character assassinations, racial issues and defamatory remarks.

Hopefully, this trend continues for a very long time.

K. Sabehshan