Walid J. Abdullah: Discourse On Voting Need To Move Beyond Fear-Mongering And Red-Herrings

Often, when people say ‘yes the PAP is not perfect, but what alternative do we have?’, you get the sense that they either do not comprehend our political system or they are setting up a false dilemma. This time, like previous years, we are not voting for which party will serve as government: in all likelihood, the PAP will remain as our government. With that in mind then, the questions that should be asked automatically become different. Perhaps the following questions, amongst others, would be more pertinent:

1) Do we believe there is a need to have checks and balances in Parliament against any one party?

2) Since 2011, with more opposition parliamentarians, has the government become more responsive to the desires of the electorate?

3) Has the Workers’ Party lived up to its claim of being a ‘responsible opposition’ party?

4) Are the individual opposition candidates and their respective parties ‘credible’ enough for us, however we define it?

I personally believe that in any other situation, most people would loathe the idea of giving any one person or party near-absolute control over their affairs, so I am not sure why people make exceptions in the case of Singapore politics. At the same time, I cannot say that the performance of WP – both in and outside Parliament – has been so stellar in the past 4 years that they would immediately deserve my vote. That would be my personal dilemma.

Ultimately, each of us would have our own standards in choosing which party to cast our vote for. Hopefully as our society matures politically, the discussions on voting, politics and societal issues would be centered on genuine considerations rather than fear-mongering or red herrings.


Source: Walid J. Abdullah

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