The judgement is out: Worker’s Party town council was found guilty of organising a trade fair without the required permit.
During the trial, they raised displeasure of having to acquire written approval from the Citizen’s Consultative Committee, a requirement needed for the grant of the permit.
This to me sends an important message: the Worker’s Party cannot work with the People’s Action Party.
During the last General Elections (GE), I remember a consistent and deeply conflicting dilemma felt by many of my more sensible-voting friends: were they to cast an angry vote against the PAP, or give power to an untested opposition?
Many people struggled to find a viable alternative to turn to. There was an abundance of choice – more than a few opposition parties, almost every seat contested. But many were new faces, their competence and abilities unknown, untested.
The Workers’ Party (WP) played their cards well by sending their A-team candidates to clinch a GRC. Among the opposition teams, only they (and Chiam See Tong’s Singapore People’s Party) have concrete experience running estates. Hougang did fine all these years under the WP. Chiam See Tong did not have a protégé or successor, and people knew that Potong Pasir was in danger of returning to the PAP.
Has it been worth it?
WP has been in the limelight for several matters, such as the Town Council’s (TC) annual financial reports, and more recently, the court case on their refusal to apply for permit for a previous trade fair. There has been little argument from their side has been largelyrhetorical: they’re being bullied, they have no real power and that they need to win more seats in order to fight the PAP.
I’m certainly curious about many, many things that goes on behind the Worker’s Party doors. I don’t doubt that they’re spending a lot of face time with residents. I don’t doubt that they’re attending wakes and throwing up a few questions in Parliament. But as the largest opposition force in Parliament, I really do want to know what plans they have in Singapore… and how they plan to execute it.
In the first year of running Aljunied, they said the bad accounts were due to PAP’s messy handover and diverted the attention to AIM. On the second year, they continued to blame on handover. Would they assure this is not the case when they eventually take control of the government?
Perhaps citizens should step up and guide them along. If they claim to be a check and balance on the PAP, who checks them?
Singaporeans allowed the Worker’s Party to win the GRC. They did this to hear an alternative voice, someone to co-drive.
The sacrifice was not small, and even some of the voters of opposition can agree. Two Cabinet Ministers, one of whom is George Yeo (brilliant and world-respected enough to be invited by Pope Francis himself to be part of a special Vatican Commission to reform the institution). The other, Lim Hwee Hua, was our first woman Cabinet Minister.
At this cost, I certainly don’t want a party whose only weapon is to play the victim’s card.
What do we have to lose
There are certain principles underlying Singapore’s success – integrity, responsibility, accountability, competence for example.
In GE2011, voters sacrificed a good PAP team and George Yeo for WP’s so-called checks and balances, and a set of co-drivers. Nothing wrong with voting in an opposition, such as the Worker’s Party… we need to make sure that all these parties are able to work with each other for the betterment of Singapore.
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