Uniting the Opposition: Framework for Consensus

In Political governance, Wit on 18/01/2012 at 6:17 am

It’s a good time to talk about uniting the Opposition what with the Opposition more-or-less united in attacking the PAP and government over ministerial salaries and train breakdowns.

So is Tan Jee Say doing anything to unite the Opposition?

A usually unreliable source tells that Tan Jee Say has not been doing anything on his pledge to unify the Opposition. Hell’s bells, he can’t be blamed. He fought two elections during period of April – August 2011, and has juz edited, contributed three articles, and published a book. If anything, he needs a break. He is after all turning 58 juz after the Chinese New Year festival’s end. And I would have tot, it would be a full time job keeping away boyars from his daughters.

But after the Chinese New Year hols, to show he is sincere about his promise, he’d better get to work. 

So to help him along, here’s my equivalent of a CNY hamper (snide remarks included as the sour stuff to balance off the sweet stuff).

After PM’s apology in May, juz before the May election, Yawning Bread wrote two manifestos saying, “To mean anything, these words have to be backed by action. I think the following ten-point plan should be the minimum proof of sincerity”.

To help TJS prepare the framework to unite the opposition parties, I’ve amended the manifestos slightly as the basis for a  questionnaire that TJS should use to send to the various oppositon parties.

(Hope TJS doesn’t mind the send-ups in the draft covering letter. Juz having a bit of fun at the expense of a fellow Rafflesian.) 


To the Secretary-Generals of the WP, SPP, SDP, RP, SDA and the President of the NSP

Dear Sir

As you are aware, I have made it my mission to unite the various opposition parties, so that come the next general election, they are in a position to form a coalition government that can take the place of the PAP.

Some of you have welcomed my mission with various degrees of warmness, while some have studiously ignored me. Never mind, as an RI boy, I’m used to people ignoring my brilliance.

As I was

— an RI boy;

a scholar with a PPE degree from Oxford (NOT NUS);

— a high-flying civil servant over 20 years ago;

— a top financial wizard (I also got big house despite not getting ministerial salary);

— a smooth operator (“political opportunist” to my detractors) who can talk of providing shared expertise to all the Opposition parties, then lobby to join one, and when that failed, join another and later leave it without upsetting too many people in the process;

— awarded a COE to contest the last presidential election; and

— someone with 25% of voters behind me (5% more people voted for me than for the WP, and NSP combined and that the combined votes of all the opposition parties was only 40% more than the people who voted for me), 

I have a mandate from the majority of those that voted for the opposition parties (40% of the electorate) and I know what needs to be done to unify the opposition parties: make ME your LEADER.

No, juz joking.

Seriously, I know it is it important to establish where the various parties stand on the various issues that affect S’poreans. To that end, I have prepared a draft “manifesto” in two parts in an attempt to tease out where the parties stand on various issues

  • Part 1 contains issues where I think the parties can agree on; and
  • Part 2 is on the issues where the parties may have differences.

I would like you to answer with a “Agree/ Disagree/ No Views” on each maifesto point. If you Disagree or have no views, please give yr reasons. The idea is to try to find some common ground on issues, as well to as to see what separates the parties.

I’ll collate the results, analyse them and publish yr responses and my analysis on a Facebook page


Part 1

Issues the parties can easily agree on

Please state “Agree/ Disagree/ No Views.” beside each point If you Disagree or have no views, please give your reasons separately

1. Halve ministerial salaries from the proposals that the PM has just accepted.

2. Publish the full accounts for the Youth Olympic Games.

3. Publish the transactional prices at which the Housing and Development Board pays the Singapore Land Authority for land.

4. Peg selling prices of new public housing as follows:

(a) smaller flats pegged to the mean of the 3rd decile of household income;

(b) mid-sized flats pegged to the mean of the 4th and 5th decile of household income;

(c) larger flats pegged to the mean of the 6th decile of household income.

5. Complete all urban rail projects on time and initiate construction of two more metro rail lines by the end of the next parliamentary term.

6. Promise to achieve a reduction of the Gini coefficient of household income of Singapore citizen households to 40 by the end of the next parliamentary term, with a longer-term Gini target of something in the mid-30′s.

Remember that the Gini coefficient of household income is a measure of the income gap between the rich and the poor. Reducing the Gini coefficient means the shrinking of this income gap. This means lifting people out of poverty and addressing the problems of an escalating cost of living. There are multiple ways of doing this; the exact tools can be left to the government of the day to decide so long as the target is achieved.

7. No increase in the total population (citizens + permanent residents + foreigners) by more than 0.5 percent per annum.

8. Abolish group representation constituencies.

9. Create a new, independent Elections Commission with rules as to how to draw up electoral boundaries that are compact and topographically sensible and with voter population in any constituency not to vary by more than 10 percent from the mean of all constituencies.

10. Set up a comprehensive healthcare safety net.

11. Repeal the Internal Security Act.

Part 2

Issues the parties may have differences on

12. Introduce proportional representation for at least one-third of the seats in Parliament.

13. Require all members of parliament to work as such (and as heads of respective town councils) fulltime, except if they take up political appointments in government.

14. Lower the candidature qualification requirements for the presidency.

15. Publish accounts of our sovereign wealth funds.

16. Detach all magistrates, judges and judicial officers from the executive branch; locate them in a separate judicial branch overseen by an independent commission responsible to its charter and the President. The commission will have the power to appoint judges and magistrates. All Supreme Court judges should have fixed tenure until they decide to retire or die. No judge will have renewable terms or term extensions as is presently the case.

16. Abolish the death penalty.

17. Abolish the Societies Act.

18. Abolish all censorship, leaving only a rating system in place; abolish collateral controls (e.g. venue licensing, good-behaviour bonds) that make certain rating classifications censorship in all but name.

19. Repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, and have constitutional guarantees for non-discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation, in accordance with United Nations human rights standards.

20. Nationalise the train and bus public transport system.

  1. You should run for office with the Manifesto 🙂

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