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Old 15-07-2018, 03:14 PM   #2
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As we progress to talking about the future of the opposition in Singapore, something that he says is “on the cards" is an opposition alliance.

The SDP recently invited members of all the other political parties to a forum where it became apparent to him that their ideologies could be aligned.

“We recognise that we probably have more in common than actually what separates us. Most of us are in favour of transparency, accountability, more social justice.

“Dr Tan Cheng Bock was invited and he was going to come for our event but something happened at home, so he couldn’t make it but he sent three of the senior members of his team and they were there. So we think that a figure like him, who has been in Parliament, who has run election campaigns successfully, could be a catalyst to bring people together.”

When asked what role Dr Tan could formally play, Dr Tambyah doesn’t seem certain. *

“I don’t know what he’s going to do but all he needs to do, if he decides to form his own political party, is to draw all the other parties to form a coalition. There are many different possibilities as to what he could do.”

This and the idea of an alliance is "an ongoing conversation", he says.

I wonder how his party plans to convince voters of its merits in the next election considering the PAP’s performance in the last election and the new policies it has introduced since 2011.

“There have been schemes such as the Silver Support Scheme and the MediShield Life which are baby steps towards a national old-age pension and a comprehensive national health insurance policy respectively. However, both are limited severely in terms of the quantum provided (up to a maximum of $250 a month) for the Silver Support Scheme or the high deductibles for MediShield Life.”

He also raises other issues that Singaporeans seem concerned about.

“Prices were raised across the board for*water*and*electricity.*We in the SDP consider healthcare, affordable housing and equitable quality education as basic human rights which should be guaranteed to everyone not dispensed as charity or traded as commodities. The one-party system is a dinosaur which is overdue for extinction in Singapore.”

His ideal vision of a democracy is one that includes many political parties.

“I think what’s important is that there will be a free discussion of ideas, a thinking-through of plans of what’s good for Singapore.”

I ask him what he thinks of suggestions from some quarters that Singapore doesn’t need a multi-party system in order for good governance to be the order of the day.

“I think history tells us otherwise. What’s happened in Mexico, Taiwan and Malaysia is that single-party rule cannot survive for too long because it becomes fossilised. No matter how good you are, you just become fossilised and that’s just the order of things because you need people to keep you on your toes.*

“You need to have time spent in opposition. Like in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party was in opposition for a short period of time and then they came back and they came back better. So I think this is something that is inevitably going to happen.”
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