Thursday, April 22, 2010

Singapore opposition politician sells flat to contest election

For a large variety of reasons, the small band of opposition politicians in Singapore face an uphill battle to win seats in Parliament.

So credit to Goh Meng Seng, the leader of the small National Solidarity Party, who is selling his apartment to raise funds for his election campaign.

As Goh puts it in a note to blogger and activist Tan Kin Lian: "freedom is not free".

"I think the most important thing is for people to realize that politics is about public service," he continues. "Not just opposition politics, but it is expected of the ruling party politicians as well. Public service may mean sacrifices on both financial as well as family time."

Goh suggests that this is an all-or-nothing election for him. If he fails to get elected, he will leave Singapore (see The Online Citizen for a further interview with Goh).

Singapore's next general election is due by early 2012 but some observers believe the government may go to the polls before then to capitalise on the strong economic recovery.

Politics is always an expensive business but, in Singapore, the risk of failure is particularly high.

The challenges faced by opposition politicians seeking elected office include: government control over the mainstream media, government control of the main grassroots organisation, compulsory voting in a climate of fear about the consequences of not backing the ruling party, the S$14,000 deposit, the risks of libel action for criticising the government in election material, etc.

There's also the small matter of the strong level of genuine support for the PAP, which makes it very difficult for opposition parties to generate any momentum.


1 comment:

  1. One must have a lot of spare cash to fight for a place in Parliament. Singapore election style.