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There are only six Workers’ Party elected Members of Parliament. Any practical person would surmise that there is nothing much you can expect from six persons sitting among 75 People’s Action Party MPs. So the answer to the above question, naturally, is: nothing much.
But what the WP could not achieve in Parliament, they definitely achieved it outside Parliament. They managed to raise public awareness that there is a need for an Opposition in Singapore, now and beyond.
So far, they have not only raised national awareness for an opposition voice to be heard, they have managed to blend their voice into every local Singaporean in the heartland with their down-to-earth local issues.
They have successfully cast themselves as representatives of the people by identifying themselves, from humble beginnings to being a self-achiever, with the very people they champion for. This correlation is symbolic as well as significant to the poor, the needy, the elderly and especially to the younger vocal generation gunning for a change.
In short, since GE2011, the WP being the only opposition party has transformed Singapore into the making of a two-party political system.
Is this just a dream? Is this just a convenient assumption? The answer is no because the evidence is crystal clear and the evidence is right here.
In every election people flock to public rallies to hear the message from the speakers first hand. Whether they have little faith in the media or are skeptical of social media, there is nothing like hearing it from the horse's mouth. So rain or shine, weekday or weekend, Singaporeans from all over the island descend by the thousands, standing for hours, and listen intently to what WP politicians have to say.
Whether you believe it or not, accept it or reject it, the WP commands the biggest crowd in very political rally. Yahoo! reported 5,000 people turned up at WP rally versus 500 for PAP and 300 for RP.
This phenomenon baffles many political observers. WP is attracting such a massive crowd even for a mere SMC by-election. Old, young, male, female, individual, family, English speaking, Chinese speaking, dialect speaking, Chinese, Malay, Indian. Yes, almost every Singaporean.
Are these just people attending out of curiosity? Are these hardcore WP supporters? Is this a sign that more people are getting sick and tired of the same old thing? Or are these people just blindly turning to the WP as their hope for the future?
Whatever the reasons, if you can command thousands to come hear you rain or shine, then this is exactly what the WP has done since GE2011. They have succeeded in redefining Singapore politics. They have shown that they are responsible and credible. They have succeeded in making Singaporeans realise that after so many years of a one-party nation, that the WP is the only way to push the PAP all the way into listening and improving the lives of the people.
Sebastian Han, 44
'WP KEEPS GOV'T ON ITS TOES'
The WP’s primary role is to keep the government on its toes. If you ask me, so far this is precisely what they have done for us!
We are slowly discovering the mistakes made the “main driver”. Had there not been an opposing voice in the government, such mistakes would never have been uncovered or discussed in the first place. PAP may have the mandate of the people when we first gained independence. But times have changed. While the WP is far from being a polished gem, we have high hopes for it.
Sam Lim, 41
'DO NOT VOTE RASHLY IN THIS BY-ELECTION'
The role of the opposition requires it to challenge, offer sustainable solutions and alternatives and be ready to govern Singapore whenever required.
However to date, there are no signs that WP can do a better job than PAP in terms of governance and administration of Singapore. I can understand the pain that most Singaporeans faced but will your pain be eased immediately by voting for WP?
No doubt, PAP policies are imperfect and sometimes flawed but it is always very easy to be an armchair critic.
With global economic climate in 2013 remaining sluggish, Singapore needs a proven and steady pair of hands to manoeuvre and not a pair of hands who pretends to be a helping hand.
Kelvin Chung, 32
'WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF CHANGE'
The people of my generation and those that are even far younger are not afraid of change. They want change, they are not like the older generation of the baby boomers that are willing to sit back and be told what to do.
Why has WP been such an influence on Singaporeans? Why are Singaporeans from all areas attending their rally even if they are to standing in the rain and without free gift? Why is WP gaining even bigger attention rather than the rest of the opposition parties beside individuals like Nicole Seah and Mr Chiam See Tong?
How can we say the WP are not doing their part when Chen Show Mao quit his job and flew back to Singapore to be part of the election team for GE 2011. How can we say the WP is not doing what they have promised when they have fought hard for the Hougang residents for the past 20 years?
Steven Cheong, 29