Live political debates on TV have been said to be something the ruling government has not been keen on, unwilling to turn election campaigns into political theatre.
So the announcement earlier today (July 1) of televised general election debates came as a surprise.
Kicking off this evening at 8pm, it’ll feature candidates from People’s Action Party (PAP), Workers’ Party (WP) Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) answering a series of questions on topics such as unemployment and social mobility.
Mediacorp stated that it chose the four political parties for fielding the most candidates for GE2020. This, according to Peoples Voice (PV) chief Lim Tean, is “disgraceful” — he was not privy to the party.
“Absolutely disgusting and proves what we have always said — that the establishment sees PV as the biggest threat to the PAP and will avoid mentioning us as far as possible,” he wrote on Facebook.
Lim delivered a tirade against CNA in a short video, claiming that if he knew this was the plan, he would have fielded 30 candidates.
PV has entered 10 candidates for the general election, one fewer than SDP’s 11. The party will be contesting in Jalan Besar GRC, Mountbatten SMC, as well as Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, where it’ll be a three-cornered fight with the incumbent PAP and Singapore Democratic Alliance.
Still, Lim declared that PV could have contested in even more districts but chose not to in the spirit of opposition unity.
“We ceded a lot of ground to parties like the PSP. We even gave up Punggol West to WP. All in the spirit of opposition unity so as to avoid unnecessary three-cornered fights,” he said.
Lim, however, firmly believes that it was a calculated decision by the establishment to exclude him in the televised debates, choosing to invite political parties they “don’t deem to be a threat” for “nice, moderate discussions”.
Undeterred by the exclusion, Lim declared that he plans to insert himself in the debates — by recording the broadcast and edit in clips of him interjecting with points, arguments, and other things he would have said if he was present.
"The debate is of zero value and not worth watching if PV, which represents the interests of the common man is not allowed to participate," he added on Facebook.