PM Lee statement about not letting opposition grow bigger is not about stifling competition

Competition exists in every field.

In politics, competition shakes off complacency by providing an alternative voice and performing the check and balance role to hold the current government to account.

PM Lee’s statement about not letting opposition grow bigger seems to be a point of contention online.

Mr Yee Jenn Jong of the Worker’s Party and the Singapore Democratic Party claimed that Singaporeans can only stand to benefit with more political competition and this can only happen when the PAP starts to distribute the resources between the parties equally and manipulate less, the existing rules, to suit their agenda.



Yee Jenn Jong and the SDP essentially believes that the only way to check the current government is by allowing a larger opposition presence.

Two points:

1 – Quality over Quantity.

It’s easy to think more is better when it comes to competition – more people, more teams, and more checks and balances. The matter of fact is, you do not need a larger opposition base. You just need quality people in the opposition. These are people like the Low Thia Khiangs and the Chiam See Tongs.

The best competition is often selective, involving an opponent or adversary that challenges you in a way that reveals your strengths, grows your weaknesses, and inspires you to bring your ‘A-game’ every time you turn up.

Should the PAP purposely help a struggling opposition party who cannot get their house in order and lower their standards for the sake of competition?

Should the PAP deliberately save one seat for Mr Chee Soon Juan who cannot get elected by the majority time and time again for the sake of competition?

How will this benefit Singaporeans?

2 – Process and not the result

Good competition is also about the process. It is about creating an environment that will bring out the best from the players.

We now see smaller GRCs, more SMCs, more NMPs and more powers conferred to NCMPs. Check and balances need not necessarily come only from opposition voices but can now come from more diverse individuals in the house. There is more to the competition than just the WP and the SDP.

I wonder if it is in the other direction, would the opposition also also say the same thing: don’t let the PAP grow bigger.

At the end of the day, it is for voters to decide.