The Reform Party (RP), People & # 39; s Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have reportedly decided to sign a resolution calling for more unity between the opposition in Singapore.
A copy of the circulating document that is reportedly circulating calls on the parties to commit to "establishing the interests of our nation beyond the interests of a political party, family or individual".
Expressing concerns about the almost total monopoly enjoyed by the ruling People & # 39; s Action Party (PAP) in parliament, the resolution calls on the opposition parties to "commit to a greater unity of the opposition so that Singaporeans make a meaningful choice" at elections ".
However, the resolution does not outline a detailed plan that prescribes how the parties can come together and cooperate.
This comes after seven opposition parties met on July 28 to discuss the possibility of forming an opposition coalition led by former presidential candidate Dr. Tan Cheng Bock. An ex-ruling party politician, Dr. Tan lost the presidential race of 2011 with less than 0.4 percent of the vote and was not allowed to contest the 2015 presidential election.
Even as calls for Dr. Tan to unite the opposition – such as how the ex-Barisan Orthodox politician dr. Mahathir Mohamad walked across the road – in abundance, Dr. Tan said after meeting the opposition parties that he feels he should "help, but in what capacity, I have not decided."
The resolution also does not mention Dr. Tan.
It is speculated that the signing of such a document is only a publicity stunt, as opposition parties meet and work together to prevent triple battles and the like in previous elections.
For example, in the last elections, the Singapore People & # 39; s Party (SPP) and the DPP formed a partnership and contested Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC together, with three SPP candidates and two of the DPP.
In addition, if the larger opposition parties such as the Workers' Party and the Singapore Democratic Party do not sign the document, it is unclear what the value of such a resolution will ultimately be. It should be noted that the Workers' Party was conspicuously absent during the meeting of 28 July.
The SDP, which organized the meeting of 28 July and proposed the resolution in the first place, still has to sign the resolution, although a spokesman said that "the process of signing the resolution (by the parties) is still running".
Mr. Tan Jee Say – a former SDP member who left and started with Singapore's first party – said the leadership of his party has not made a decision about signing the resolution. He told reporters: "I do not see any issues with the resolution, but I do not see any urgency to sign it, we have already indicated that we are committed to the unity of the opposition (by attending the meeting) . "
Despite the lack of details in the resolution, the signatories have said that making such a promise is still "an important step".
DP P leader Ben Pwee told reporters that the signing of the document "is an important step to persuade many small parties to publicly show their willingness to stand behind an important leader as a coalition."
He added: "Previous attempts have only been horse-trading, where no party was willing to get behind another party, and everyone was forced to be treated as equals." The signing of such a resolution with the public The opportunity to be led by Tan Cheng Bock also shows the very first time everyone is prepared to accept the leadership of one leader. "
Similarly, RP Chairman Andy Zhu acknowledged that although "conditions are not laid down" in the document, signing them symbolizes the willingness of the parties to discuss further cooperation.
He added that this signing represents a solid development, compared to previous discussions on cooperation that meant nothing.