Ex-PAP MP Inderjit Singh: The Workers' Party has gained 'brand recognition' as a reputable party

Inderjit commended the Workers' Party selection of its candidates.

Sulaiman Daud | July 12, 2020, 09:39 PM

Former People's Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament Inderjit Singh shared his analysis of the Workers' Party (WP), and the strides they have made in the latest general election.

In a Facebook post on July 12, Inderjit singled out Marine Parade GRC as an example.

The PAP team in Marine Parade, led by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, won 57.76 per cent of the vote.

They faced a largely-inexperienced WP team, led by former non constituency member of parliament Yee Jenn Jong, who arguably performed better than expected. Inderjit said:

"The PAP’s candidates demonstrated great promise and seemed better qualified than the WP candidates. However, they could only garner 57%, against a relatively unknown WP team. Why is this so.

I believe that the WP has today gained the reputation that PAP has had all these years. They have gained a brand recognition as a reputable and responsible political party."

Workers' Party won 50.49% votes in six constituencies it contested in against the PAP.

Going by numbers alone, WP commands close to a 10 percentage points higher vote share than the next best-performing opposition party, the Progress Singapore Party (40.85 per cent).

The Workers' Party brand name

In another Facebook post, also shared on July 12, Inderjit believes that GE2020 has shown that the WP can "automatically garner around 40 per cent" of the votes based on their "brand name" alone.

For this, he gave credit to the WP, and said they have been very selective on choosing candidates and going for quality over quantity. He added:

"So today voters trust that the WP candidates are of good quality and are therefore willing to vote on the brand name more than on assessing candidates on their own merits. This explains the Marine Parade results."

He also placed a high value on ground work, saying that "spending time on ground is essential not just during the GE but also in the years leading up to it."

PAP's candidates appeared to be "cut from the same cloth"

Inderjit mentioned that the PAP candidates all appeared to present themselves in the same manner during their introductions by talking about their humble backgrounds.

This was perceived by some to be a political strategy to "tug at heartstrings" instead of a genuine attempt to connect to the voters, according to Inderjit.

While Inderjit acknowledged that this year's slate of candidates was more diverse than before, the PAP still fielded a large number of candidates with backgrounds in the military and the civil service.

He said that this generated the impression of everyone being cut from the same cloth, and having the same perspective and approach.

Inderjit also noted that the opposition candidates appeared to be more diverse, and were of equal calibre or even better than the PAP's candidates.

Maturity on race

Inderjit also pointed to the WP victory in Aljunied GRC, which featured a team with three ethnic minority candidates (Pritam Singh, Faisal Manap and Leon Perera) as an example of Singapore's growing maturity on racial issues.

"I am glad the Aljunied voters have shown that Singaporeans are no longer thinking along racial lines. The WP fielded 3 minority candidates and they received a strong win this time."

He shared that a friend of his thought that the WP would lose Aljunied as they did not field more Chinese candidates. As it turned out, the WP scored their best ever victory in Aljunied with a vote share of 59.93 per cent.

Inderjit mused that this may be a sign that Singapore is ready to accept a non-Chinese politician as Prime Minister.

Opposition unity

However, Inderjit also had some advice for the opposition as a whole, and said that Singaporeans preferred to see unity over division.

He said the election showed that the voters are discerning, and differentiated between opposition parties they are willing to support and those perceived to be lacking in credentials and credibility. He added:

"So, the way forward for the opposition is not complete unity but for the 3 main parties to work together to show that they are capable of working together and forming a strong collective alternative voice in parliament. Remaining fragmented will not be useful for opposition if they want to gain further traction."

You can see his post below:

Top image from Inderjit Singh's and WP's Facebook page.