Four opposition political parties got together at AMK Hub on Sunday morning, Jan. 19, to hand out oranges for the Chinese New Year festive season and meet the public face-to-face as one grouping for the first time.
As general election fever hits up in Singapore, a total of 15 members from the four parties showed up in different party colours brandishing cartons of fruit.
The proposed opposition grouping has yet to register its alliance, which would comprise Singaporean First party (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People's Power Party (PPP) and Reform Party (RP).
There has also been no indication how they plan to run in the various single member and group representation constituencies, and details about how they organise themselves have been vague.
But as a show of public unity, they have expressed consistently their desire to take on the ruling People's Action Party at the polls.
Banking on Tan Cheng Bock
Tan Jee Say, leader of SingFirst, told The Straits Times that the alliance is banking on fellow Progress Singapore Party (PSP) led by ex-PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock, to steal some of the ruling party's votes share.
Tan Jee Say described Tan Cheng Bock's role as "just like (how) Mahathir split the Malay vote in Malaysia".
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had split the Malay vote in the May 2018 Malaysia general election and swept to power again.
"We hope that Dr Tan will not split the opposition vote, and will just split the PAP vote," Tan Jee Say explained his rationale to ST.
"The opposition vote is already there, 30 to 40 percent, with or without Dr Tan and PSP."
Various opposition leaders turned up for PSP's New Year Dinner on Friday, Jan. 17, in another display that they are tight.
Common platform advantageous to opposition
PPP leader Goh Meng Seng explained that opposition parties having a common policy platform will have "even a slight chance of having a good showing".
He said the opposition parties' good showing in the 2011 general election was due to the parties "attacking the same policy".
Goh told ST: "In 2011, we were very successful because the Housing Board asset enhancement (policy) became the key issue, and every party was saying the same thing and attacking the same policy."
Rare show of unity
This rare show of unity among the smaller opposition parties in Singapore is almost unprecedented as they have traditionally gone at it alone the past few elections, with scant coordination, resulting in three-cornered fights.
This current alliance attracted some media coverage as it was pooh-poohed by PSP member Alex Tan Tiong Hee, who is the personal assistant to Tan Cheng Bock.
PSP has since reiterated the comment was made in Alex Tan Tiong Hee's personal capacity.
The next GE is to be held by April 2021.