BGA Brainstorm: Singapore’s Shifting Domestic Political Dynamics

Asia Street

Know the Street. Know the people. Know Asia.

Spotlighting ideas from the company’s top minds on key developments IN ASIA.

Singapore’s Shifting Domestic Political Dynamics

Raeesah Khan of the Workers’ Party of Singapore (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons).

BGA Singapore Managing Director Nydia Ngiow recently weighed in on the country’s ongoing domestic political developments in the wake of reactions to the opposition Workers’ Party (WP) handling of the Raeesah Khan issue that began shaping up in early December 2021.

Ngiow was featured multiple media outlets for her insights on the WP’s handling of the case of Raeesah Khan and the implications for the country’s politics and outlook. Khan had spoken about accompanying a rape victim to the police station and hearing inappropriate comments in August, only to later confess to WP leaders that she had lied in parliament. In addition to questions about whether WP should have acted earlier, it has also raised the broader issue of whether it could affect WP’s status as a viable alternative to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) following opposition inroads in Singapore’s last election and the ongoing succession from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to fourth generation (4G) leadership.

In remarks to Today, Ngiow said that though she can empathize with the decision to give Raeesah time to sort things out with her family, the fact that it took the party three months to manage the issue “publicly raises serious questions about the party’s intentions and actions, especially when they had clear opportunities to do so after the October parliamentary session where Ms Raeesah knowingly perpetuated mistruths”.

Ngiow added that the key question will be whether this constitutes a temporary setback or a more serious blow that could set back the work that the WP’s leaders had done to establish itself as an opposition force. Part of that would be dependent on how WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh manages the fallout in the coming weeks and months.

“It remains to be seen whether these new developments have set the party further back after its years of working to become a viable trusted alternative,” Ngiow said.