Launch of Workers’ Party Campaign Slogan and Manifesto
“Vote Workers’ Party Towards A First World Parliament”
The Workers’ Party (WP) will campaign on the slogan, “Vote Workers’ Party – Towards A First World Parliament”.
WP has chosen this slogan for the coming General Elections because it believes that it is vital at this juncture of our nation building to critically assess whether our institutions of government are functioning properly, in particular Parliament. As we move towards Parliamentary elections in our 46th year of independence as a nation, we should ask ourselves what kind of Parliament is needed to ensure that Singapore endures for the future.
While Singapore has achieved First World standards in certain areas such as economic development and infrastructure, the same cannot be said of our model of governance. With an overwhelmingly dominant People’s Action Party (PAP) in Parliament, there are severe limitations as to how far Parliament can check the Government, which is supposed to be one of Parliament’s key functions. Ruling party Members of Parliament must support Government agenda, which means that the Government can steamroll its plans through the House easily.
The Workers’ Party believes that it is not in the national interest for Parliament to continue to be so overwhelmingly dominated by the PAP. There is a real danger that Parliament will appear to be a rubber stamp for the government agenda.
No government is perfect, or infallible, or lasts forever. The ruling party must be subject to scrutiny and challenge, and competition to keep it on its toes. It is also critical that Singaporeans are not stuck with just one party able to govern, and no fall-back plan. Alternative governments do not spring up overnight to take over when a government fails. Political experience must be built, and having members of other political parties being elected into Parliament with the people’s mandate is the start to building the necessary political insurance.
Characteristics of First World Parliament
In our view, a First World Parliament for Singapore would have the following characteristics:
- It would consist only of Members of Parliament elected in free and fair elections, all of whom have similar voting rights due to their mandate from their constituencies;
- It would function as a robust check and balance against the Government. For this to happen, there must be a critical mass of elected MPs from opposition parties.
- The Opposition in Parliament must also be responsible for defending national interest viz. to ensure that the Government does not take steps which hurt the people;
- Parliament must respect the Constitution and people’s constitutional rights.
How A First World Parliament Would Benefit Singaporeans
If Singaporeans vote towards a First World Parliament, WP believes the following benefits would accrue to improve Singaporeans’ lives:
- There will be more thorough public examination of policies, subject to public scrutiny. This will promote greater accountability and transparency, and empower Singaporeans to make informed choices;
- The ruling party would be kept on its toes due to political pressure. It would also have to think twice about implementing harsh policies or pay a political price;
- Singaporeans will have some insurance in the event of ruling party decline;
- More diverse interests and viewpoints would be represented in the House, for better representation.
View the Workers’ Party 2011 Manifesto: Towards a First World Parliament.
For Key Highlights from The Workers’ Party 2011 Manifesto, click here.