The Workers' Party (WP) is not trying to deny the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) a strong mandate, said WP candidate for Sengkang GRC Jamus Lim yesterday.
In all likelihood, the PAP will get this mandate by the end of the July 10 election, added Associate Professor Lim, an economist at Essec Business School, during a live debate broadcast on TV and online.
"What we're trying to deny them is a blank cheque," he said.
"That is what I think this election truly is about, so that we can actually have this kind of debate not just in a constrained form over a table but in the forum which was designed for this, which is Parliament.
"I call on voters: If you believe in having all voices heard, if you believe that we succeed only when we have sound and rational debate about what matters, if you believe in the essence of a democratic, modern society for the 21st century, then we ask that you make your vote count, and that you will vote for the Workers' Party."
Prof Lim, in his closing statement, said it was clear from the debate, which he said he had enjoyed, that the PAP "does not have a monopoly on the best ideas on how we should bring society forward".
Responding, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said he completely agreed with Prof Lim.
"The PAP does not claim a monopoly on wisdom. The PAP is not afraid of an open contest of ideas. We do so in real life during campaigns, we do so online and we do it in Parliament."
The minister noted that regardless of the election outcome, the next term of Parliament will have more opposition MPs than before. The minimum number of opposition, including Non-Constituency MPs, was raised from nine to 12 in 2016.
"These members, whether they win the seats or they come in as (NCMPs), have full voting rights, including amending the Constitution and voting in votes of confidence with or against the Government," he said. "So, we are completely open to this contest, because at the end of the day, we are all Singaporeans and we do want a better life."
Prof Lim said it was clear from the debate, which he said he had enjoyed, that the PAP "does not have a monopoly on the best ideas on how we should bring society forward".