Singapore GE2020: Vote for contrast of voices, and to safeguard Singapore

Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh at a Meet-the-People Session in Bedok Reservoir Road on March 16, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE



Good evening, fellow Singaporeans. As a responsible voter, you want your vote to count. How can you achieve that? The PAP will form the next government. That is a certainty. Even in 2011, when Singaporeans were openly unhappy, the PAP won 81 out of 87 seats, even though it won only 60 per cent of the vote.

If you live where the Workers' Party is contesting, the PAP does not need your vote to form the government. But we need your votes. Amid Covid-19 fear, the PAP could end up with 100 per cent of the elected seats in Parliament. And despite what the PAP may say, it does not need all elected seats to have the mandate to govern.

Your vote for the Workers' Party will count in three ways: First, we will raise issues that PAP MPs cannot or will not raise. Since 2015, we have brought up topics in Parliament such as the GST test balloon, the Keppel Offshore and Marine scandal and the constitutional amendment on the reserved presidential election, amongst many others. Not a single PAP MP filed a parliamentary question on the corruption disclosures at Keppel Offshore and Marine. Only Workers' Party MPs did. As for the GST, we pressed the Government to reveal its expenditure and revenue projections before making Singaporeans pay more. We have highlighted issues on the governance of Singapore and the financial burdens on Singaporeans. By discussing governance, we help you to keep the Government accountable. By raising bread-and-butter issues, we remind the Government of the things that it may forget or ignore.

Second, your vote for the Workers' Party will prompt other sincere and capable people to come forward in future elections to contest for the Workers' Party. These new and diverse voices need your encouragement. Your vote shows our party stalwarts and volunteers that their efforts at parliamentary research, Meet-the-People sessions, house visits and food distribution are recognised. Your vote will bring in new volunteers and candidates.

Third, having rational, responsible and respectable Workers' Party MPs in Parliament will help safeguard our country. Our nation needs protection against complete dominance of Parliament by one party, which could allow a tiny number of people to control everything. Our long-term dream is for Singapore to have a healthy democracy where there are two or three parties who could form a competent and honest government. We have seen from the experiences of other countries that power can fall into the wrong hands.

The PAP is not immune to such a risk. PAP self-checking can fail. If the wrong people show their true colours only after reaching our highest offices, Singapore is finished. The true safeguards for the people of Singapore are strong political, economic, civic and community institutions that do not favour any party. We need such safeguards.

The Workers' Party cannot form the next government. We are contesting fewer than one-quarter of the seats. We are presenting the best candidates we can find. These candidates could have pursued a much easier path by joining the PAP or by simply staying out of politics. But they have taken this far more challenging path because they love our country.

To sum up, your vote for the Workers' Party is a vote for a contrast of voices and the questioning of the PAP when needed. It is a vote to encourage new blood to contest in future elections. Finally, a vote for us is a vote for checks and balances to safeguard Singapore for coming generations. We must not be an aristocracy where power is held by the few. We must be a democracy where power is in the hands of the many. Make your vote count.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2020, with the headline Singapore GE2020: Vote for contrast of voices, and to safeguard Singapore. Subscribe