Post-election, opposition has much to do

Many analyses have been made to explain the swing in favour of the ruling party in the recent general election ("PAP wins big with 69.9% of vote"; Sept 12).

But it is worthwhile to ponder over what the opposition can learn from this turn of events, which took many by surprise.

Among the People's Action Party leaders, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been the most welcoming of the legitimate presence of a constructive opposition ("Opposition 'can continue to contribute to Singapore'"; Sept 14). He represents a clear shift from the previously entrenched thinking that Singapore can afford only a single-party rule.

The PAP has been given another chance to make Singapore even better. This change will be most evident in how it henceforth treats all Singaporeans, regardless of partisan allegiance or support in every electoral constituency, based on its election manifesto, "With you, for you, for Singapore".

As for the opposition parties, if they are truly committed to the interests and well-being of Singapore and Singaporeans, then they have to show this from now on.

More than their interactions with voters at places of work and in the community, they have to speak up loud and clear on their alternative views and plans.

And this should not be by reacting to the ruling party's initiatives alone, but by putting forth proposals for solving current and anticipated challenges. There are enough forums and avenues in which to present their case.

All Singaporeans, including both hardcore PAP supporters and staunch opposition supporters, want to hear from the opposition.

More importantly, the voters that the opposition failed to convince this election have to be won over.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)