Returning to the 'old normal'

Instead of bringing forth a "new normal" ("'New normal' alive and well" by Mr Ng Qi Siang; Wednesday), the 2011 General Election, which resulted in the Workers' Party's (WP) capture of Aljunied GRC, may be just an outlier, and the recent election has proven a regression to the "old normal".

In the recent election, the fact that Aljunied GRC was won by the WP's "A" team by a whisker against the PAP's "suicide squad" shows that many voters there have become disenchanted by the alleged financial mismanagement in the town council.

The possibility that other constituencies may also suffer the same fate, should they fall into opposition hands, may have played a part in the resounding win by the PAP.

Unlike Western democracies, such as the United States, Britain and Australia, which comprise largely of two parties that align themselves to definite segments of the political spectrum - with clear ideologies - our fragmented opposition represents too discordant a voice to mount a challenge to the ruling party.

As long as no opposition party has any intention of forming the government, all their alternative policies and plans will continue to fall by the wayside, no matter how strident their views are.

As a voter, I was also worried that the opposition may, however unlikely, have had the role of government thrust upon their inadequate - and unwilling - hands.

I have observed the infighting and disharmony among the various opposition parties, and I shudder to think what Singapore would become, in the event that they had to form a coalition government.

Crucially, the newly eligible cohorts of young voters may also have contributed to the swing to the PAP.

I have heard of many young people who were not at all enamoured by some of the suggestions and claims by the opposition voices on social media.

If the opposition wants to have a bigger stake in the political landscape, it will first have to persuade these discerning young voters.

The opposition still has a long way to go before it becomes a viable force for the ruling party to reckon with.

Maria Loh Mun Foong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'Returning to the 'old normal''. Print Edition | Subscribe