PPP's Goh Meng Seng says Mr Lee Kuan Yew's death part of reason behind founding of party
People's Power Party chairman says LKY's death this year prompted him to form new party
The People's Power Party (PPP) is a newcomer for the General Election, but the man behind its inception is no stranger to politics in Singapore.
Founder and secretary-general Goh Meng Seng has 15 years of political experience and contested in the last two general elections under two different parties.
On Sept 11, Mr Goh will lead a PPP team to contest Choa Chu Kang GRC. His rival will be Health Minister Gan Kim Yong's People's Action Party (PAP) team.
Yesterday, Mr Goh, 45, the managing director of a group of market research and linguistics companies, told The New Paper in a phone interview that he does not see the switching of parties as a weakness.
"I've learnt a lot during my time in Workers' Party (WP), which I joined in 2001, and helped contribute in the rebranding for the 2006 GE," he said.
Mr Goh was a member of the WP's Central Executive Council and the party's "A" Team, which stood and lost in Aljunied GRC in 2006, with 43.9 per cent of votes.
Saying "my job was done", he left the party later that year and joined the National Solidarity Party (NSP) in 2007. He said he used his knowledge to build NSP up for the 2011 GE.
"We helped increase the profile of NSP after four years. But I felt that we needed more opposition to give rise to more political discourse," he said.
In July this year, the PPP was officially registered, with Mr Goh as its secretary-general.
Mr Goh said the death of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew this year was another reason behind the setting up of the new party.
"The current system, where there is a strong concentration of power, is only viable when you have a strong philosopher behind it.
"Now that Mr Lee is gone, there's no one else who has such a strong political morality who can control everyone. Things can go wrong.
"The only way to provide sustainability is when power is separated into different parties that can act as checks and balances," he said.
Goh Meng Seng
Managing director of a group of market research and linguistics companies
Married with a daughter
POLITICAL CAREER SO FAR:
2001: Joined Workers’ Party (WP)
May 2006: Contested Aljunied GRC with WP
November 2006: Quit WP
March 2007: Joined National Solidarity Party (NSP)
May 2011: Contested Tampines GRC with NSP
November 2011: Quit NSP
July 2015: Registered People’s Power Party (PPP)
MR GOH MENG SENG ON....
WHAT VOTERS ARE LOOKING FOR TODAY
Gone are the bread and butter issues of the early days of Singapore's independence.
Instead, voters today are looking for people who can represent them, are articulate and provide intellectual political discourse.
"I have always challenged the PAP ministers on policy debates, and they always siam (Hokkien for dodge). The only way that I can bring this debate to them is to be elected into Parliament," he said.
The PPP is looking to champion key issues of population growth, national identity, housing, healthcare and the Central Provident Fund (CPF), he said.
HOW HIS PARTY WILL ATTRACT VOTERS
As the PPP is new, Mr Goh said the party will have to rely on personalities, such as his own, to reach out to voters.
"My party is new, but I'm not. My Facebook page, my blog and everything I've done, is out there on the Internet," he said.
So a strong online presence is essential, he said.
"People have come up to me to tell me that they watched an online video of me speaking at the National University of Singapore Society dialogue," he said.
WHAT KEEPS HIM GOING
Standing as an opposition candidate is a public service, Mr Goh said.
This will give voters viable choices when they are at the polling stations and allow them to think carefully about who they wish to elect.
"That, in turn, will create a national level of consciousness for society and the country," he said.
"Whether we win, or not, it is a public service," he said.
He is also grateful for his supporters and helpers who have stood by him over the past 15 years.
HOW THE POLITICAL SCENE HAS CHANGED
The 2006 General Election was a turning point in Singapore's politics, Mr Goh said, adding: "We (then Workers' Party) opened up space, created a wow effect and showed to everyone that there was nothing wrong with the opposition."