Thursday, 29 October 2009

Singapore’s Opposition Parties – Time for Some Backward Integration?

Is it any surprise that Singaporeans keep voting the People's Action Party (PAP) back into government at each general election? Even for those who may oppose the PAP there are no credible alternatives available.
The PAP has a demonstrated leadership track record which must surely make corporate giants like Warren Buffett or Jack Welch envious. The Little Red Dot's move from third world to first world is not a random event.
It was predicated on a motivated population guided by a first rate leadership.

After four decades in power the PAP is firmly entrenched within the state system. It is often difficult to differentiate between the state and its political leadership. Like any political party with an unbroken chain of governance, the PAP has perfected the ability to pursue 'self-preservation' politics.
One of the PAP's strategies is to invite in non-political or non-establishment members into the party. The party's history is replete with such examples. Some may see these individuals as 'sell outs.' Others see them as smart people who appreciate that in order to make a difference they must join the system. Only by working with the establishment in a responsible manner can they have a positive impact on society.
One result of the PAP policy has been to starve the opposition parties of much needed talent to grow their political franchises. The paucity of political capacity outside of the PAP has focused the opposition on a few dissenting personalities.
To be successful, political parties require more than just candidates and supporters willing to be jailed for the party cause. A research infrastructure supporting policy making is a necessary prerequisite. One may list many other such requirements.
All such infrastructure entails money and talent. Both factors are available in abundance to the PAP – controlling the levers of state attracts cash and people. The virtuous cycle perpetuates the existing system.

Singapore's opposition political parties face a formidable and entrenched foe in the People's Action Party

Singapore's opposition parties face many obstacles in their drive to win public support. One can sympathize with their plight. However, it is not apparent to the public that the opposition parties are serious in their efforts to create a viable alternative to the PAP.
That a senior member of the opposition Reform Party has a US arrest warrant issued in his name for allegedly supporting a foreign terrorist group (apparently the Tamil Tigers) will do nothing to help the opposition's moral authority with the general public.

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