Goh Meng Seng: New Media has Lost Credibility by Acting as a Workers’ Party Mouthpiece

Veteran Singapore politician Goh Meng Seng has criticised new media websites for contributing to wider losses for the opposition in General Election 2015.

The People’s Power Party chief said that the move by websites such as The Online Citizen and TR Emeritus to throw their weight behind the “best horse WP” in the hopes of gaining more support for the opposition backfired.

“They lost so much credibility and people tend to compare them to MSM like ST and ZB which are regarded as PAP mouth piece.”

Goh said that the WP was “lucky” to have gained significant ground with its win in Aljunied GRC in GE2011, and that its victory came on the back of mounting public anger against the government.

Criticising the WP for its “mediocre” performance in parliament thereafter, Goh said that the WP’s problems, most notably regarding AHPETC, dragged down the opposition on the whole in GE2015.

On the whole, the opposition bloc secured a 30 percent win in GE2015 against the incumbent PAP government.

This margin was 10 percent less than in GE2011, and the swing in popularity towards the ruling party came as a surprise to both the opposition, and the PAP.

This is Goh Meng Seng’s Facebook post in full:

“Post Mortem Fever~ Free Rider & Failed Internet Outreach

After two months, people are still talking about the results of GE2015.

I have made my views known earlier on, written on my FB and blog but there are new inputs by some keen political observers.

A substantial number of people raise the anger on internet blaming Workers Party for the mediocre performance in parliament (which they have defended themselves with statistics on the total number of questions they have raised in parliament) and the AHPETC saga (despite of Sylvia Lim denial of the vast impact on the Election results) as the key issues which made the Middle ground lost their confidence in opposition as a whole.

Although I think these are important issues but may not be the only main issues that caused the overall fall in opposition support.

I have raised the Fear of PAP losing power as the main issue which somehow orchestrated partly by PAP as well as some fence sitting Middle ground. I was told that some people have circulated a “Vote Wisely” Whatsapp message right before polling day. I do believe that created a major impart.

On the other hand, I think despite of WP trying to defend their performance in parliament, it is undeniable that it is a public perception and Consensus that it has not been effective nor competent in parliamentary debates, regardless of how many questions they have raised.

If you observe carefully, the only issue which WP made noise OUTSIDE parliament is about the AHPETC saga! And this is done as a defensive posture instead of offensive stance against any important current issues!

Thus it is no wonder that voters, Rightfully or wrongfully, had the impression that the only things happening is WP AHPETC problems! WP has never spoke up on any other ex-parliamentary issues like speaking up for the activists who were charged for the heckling saga nor Amos Yee nor any human rights issues.

Neither has it raised its voice timely on current issues in support of any cause of justice or Democracy.

It is contended to its sole platform in parliament and none of its MPs has participated in any protest or activism outside parliament or its constituency activities.

WP was lucky in 2011 that a huge wave was created by other people, be it netizens, activists, other political parties or otherwise prior to elections. It took the opportunistic approach of not making any noise but rode on the waves of anti PAP policies, in particularly the most unlikely HDB issue which it has never objected before, to win Aljunied GRC.

It came in at the very last minute to capitalize on the waves of public sentiments but what it eventually presented in parliament on its views on various issues from ministerial salary to HDB suddenly differed greatly of what it has said during Election rallies or written in its own Manifesto.

This is the result of being Free Riders. As Free Riders, you are forced to ride on the same waves and sing the same tune without being the opinion leaders to craft or manage how the waves pound on PAP. But after Elections, when you are in parliament, you sing different tunes which sometimes contradicted badly with what you have said during Elections. Thus the Perception of mediocre performance was formed by such flip flopping.

In GE201, the new media was very influential, though they have internal competition among them. TRS, TRE or Temasek Review, TOC etc, have more diverse reporting on different opposition parties.

Unfortunately for GE2015, the most influential TRS was forced to close down while TOC and TRE acted like WP mouth piece! (Most likely they thought it is wise to focus on the best horse WP so that it will win more seats but it has definitely backfired.) Thus, they lost so much credibility and people tend to compare them to MSM like ST and ZB which are regarded as PAP mouth piece.

Thus opposition as a whole, lost the New Media war. This is one crucial reason why IPS survey reflected that Middle ground trusted MSM more, instead of other New Media which sound more like WP or SDP mouth piece.

There are many lessons to be learned from these post mortem. But I guess people will definitely get sore and angry at people like me who just have the courage to go against all adversary to point out the simple Truth. It hurts, of course.”

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