Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Local Opposition needs to form a Shadow Parliament

Recently, each state in Southeast Asia had its fair share of troubling issues in local politics. Singapore wasn't spared too, even though on the surface, the political field still remains peaceful compared to our neighbours.

A few weeks ago, I chanced upon Workers' Party member Yaw Shin Leong's blog and saw his post expressing his remorse for voting for the PAP candidate at the place he resides. He also added that Workers' Party will continue to aim to be a check on the PAP government. Here's a snippet of his entry.

"For the record, it is not the intention of Singapore’s opposition, specifically the Workers’ Party to become Singapore’s government in the near or mid-future. As such, Singaporean voters can definitely vote in more opposition members without fears, contrary to MM Lee’s warnings."

While many political apathetic Singaporeans have come to agree with this philosophy, the politically concerned Singaporeans (like myself) will tend to disagree with it. Anyway this was my comment to his post:

"If everyone feels that this is the way, then Singaporeans could unknowingly vote in more opposition than they thought and MM Lee's nightmare might take place.

The Opposition should begin forming a "shadow parliament" so that in the event that they are voted in, they could have the people with capability to be in place. We do really want to avoid having the case where the opposition is voted into Parliament in big numbers but they do not have the substance to bear such responsiblities.

So while MM Lee's speech might be controversial, there are still some valid points."

In my opinion, the main factor that is drawing back votes to the Opposition lies primarily in the quality of its members and the uncertainty of voting them in. One way of countering these problems would be to establish a Shadow Shadow Parliament or Shadow Parliament out of Parliament, whichever way you want to put it.

With an established SSP format, the Opposition can go further to construct a SSC (C for Cabinet). In this way, voters can be certain that if they were to vote for the Opposition, they are assured of a group of MPs that could represent them and have the substance to mete out quality debates in Parliament.

Opting to be a mere check on the government will not bring a political party too far.

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