Opposition Parties In Singapore
7 opposition parties went for a luncheon hosted by the Singapore Democratic Party.
But not all are well-known among Singaporeans, some of whom only know the difference between the People’s Action Party and the Worker’s Party.
Fewer Singaporeans know, even about the existence, of the registered but inactive political parties.
So, we’ve compiled some useful information about the opposition scene, especially about the SDP lunch-mates, which you can use at your next lunch party.
1. Reform Party
The Reform Party was founded by J.B Jerayatnam (JBJ) approximately two months before his death.
Prior to founding the party, JBJ had spent 30 years, from 1971 to 2001, leading the Worker’s Party.
But following the Worker’s Party’s 60th anniversary, the current chief and son of JBJ accused the Worker’s Party of “airbrushing [his father], JBJ, out of history”.
He also said that had it not been for JBJ, “Low Thia Kiang would have remained a Chinese teacher”.
2. National Solidarity Party
To the casual observer, the position of ‘Secretary-General’ of the NSP would seem more like a game of musical chairs.
Within ten years, from 2006 to 2016, they have had seven different secretary-generals.
List of NSP’s Secretary-Generals
3. Singaporeans First Party
People often say that fresh blood is great for political parties.
That probably hits especially close to home for SingFirst.
In the 2015 General Election, the party magnanimously announced that it would not contest in Ang Mo Kio GRC.
The problem was, they failed to convert their word document to PDF format before uploading it onto Facebook.
So the squiggly red underlines that were seared in our memories then, are still on their Facebook page right now.
4. Peoples Voice Party
Because the Peoples Voice Party was founded by Cambridge-educated Mr Lim Tean, who’s also had stints in big law companies including Drew & Napier and Rajah & Tann, we cannot fathom why the name of the party contains a grammatical anomaly.
C’mon, where’s the apostrophe?
Mr Lim Tean, ex-former NSP Secretary-General & founder of Peoples Voice Party
5. Democratic Progressive Party
Founded in 1973 as the “United Front”, the DPP only acquired its current name in 1990.
6. People’s Power Party
Just as the career trajectory of a top defense official is towards that of SMRT CEO, it seems that the requisites to being Founder of a political party here is a rite of passage through the NSP and Worker’s Party.
That’s exactly the path which Mr Goh Meng Seng, former Worker’s Party member and NSP Secretary-General, took before moving on to found the People’s Power Party.
7. Singapore Democratic Party
The party was founded by Mr Chiam See Tong in 1980. He held the position of Secretary-General with the party until 1993.
Mr Chiam held the Potong Pasir ward for a whopping 27 years as Opposition MP, from 1984 to 2011.
During that time, he also left the SDP due to an internal conflict.
After he left, Mr Chee Soon Juan took over the SDP, from 1993 onward.
Mr Chee is another individual, apart from Mr Jerayatnam, who has suffered from crippling lawsuits.
Former Prime Ministers Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew sued him for remarks made about an alleged loan to Indonesian President Suharto.
Mr Chee was ordered to pay $300,000 to the former and $200,000 to the latter.
That’s but one instance. Despite the lawsuits and the lock-ups, the man remains running — and running parties.
8. Singapore People’s Party
As we all know, the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) received an invitation to the luncheon but did not turn up.
The party is now led by Mr Chiam See Tong, who previously broke from the SDP.
In fact, many of the founding members of SPP were ex-members of the SDP who disagreed with SDP’s policy directions.
So, we speculate.
BONUS: Workers’ Party
There’s little we need to say about the Workers’ Party, apart from that we already know there’s no word on whether they received an invitation for SDP’s luncheon.
They are the only opposition party with elected seats in Parliament right now. In total, they have 9 seats.
The other parties
The aforementioned luncheon parties are not the only Opposition parties in Singapore. In fact, there are many more.
Among the active parties, there are United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Singapore Democratic Alliance and Justice Party, Singapore.
Then, there are the other registered parties:
A better opposition
Wherever the opposition parties are headed, we hope that they can find a way to better pool their resources.
All so that they can better represent Singaporeans’ voices in Parliament.