Some people think that it doesn’t matter whoever wins tomorrow in Hougang. I disagree.
It matters a lot to WP.
If WP wins– despite Png’s slip-ups, despite the betrayals by its disgruntled leakers, despute unknown spare tyres and despite Yaw’s cockup– that will prove the strength and resilience of its brand and the depth of its popular support.
More importantly, it will send a strong message to the PAP that opposition cannot be traded for porridge, Teochew or otherwise, and it will bolster WP’s confidence.
It will also allow WP to retain its position as the dominant non-PAP political party.
A loss for the WP would be a huge blow to WP, and by implication, could weaken all other non-PAP parties.
It would destroy WP’s confidence, could cause its members to defect to other parties, and will most likely weaken its standing among the other parties.
It also matters a lot to PAP.
While the PAP leadership will try to shrug it off, a loss would definitely make the PAP reconsider what else it could do better before 2016.
A loss for the PAP would not only be a return to the status quo (ie before the Yaw affair), but it would be a clear signal that the people still want more from the PAP, that it is more important to pressure the PAP than it is to punish WP for Yaw’s cockups.
On the other hand, a win for the PAP would be an immeasurable victory for them. It would give them bragging rights, allow them to rid themselves of a thorn in their side and restore their confidence.
More importantly, it would signal to them that the people still want the PAP in power, just a dash of opposition will do. It will show them that the people do not really want another party to form a new govt, that all they want is a kinder, gentler PAP.
A victory for PAP would strengthen the PAP at the expense of WP, and by implication, at the expense of the opposition as a whole.
So, do you think this by-election result is important?