By Abdul Gafoor, Social Correspondent
When Pahlavi Shah’s neglect of the Iranian people grew worse in the late 60s and early 70s, it resulted in the growth of various forms of dissident groups. There were communists, socialists, leftists and Islamists. As Pahlavi Shah and his control machine was all too powerful, the various dissident groups were united on one objective which was to oust the Shah. Given the numbers and popularity the Islamists rose to become the principal force in ousting the Shahs and they formed the next government.
As mentioned in the earlier article, the severe deterioration of socio-economic conditions of people in Singapore has led to so many variety of dissident groups being born in the last few years. Today we have the queer groups, leftists, democrats, socialists, worker activists, reformists and Christian right. The last group has indeed rattled PAP that even the PM made them the main topic of national day rally speech.
Just like how the various dissident groups in Iran during the late 1970s converged with a common goal to oust the government, there does seem to be a trend of slow convergence amongst the various dissident groups in Singapore which is expected to gain pace in five to ten years time during which time as MM Lee predicted they are likely to create a political tsunami at the 2021 elections.
The interesting question is which group is likely to rise to the top to form the government then. Given the trend of religious ritualism (which i will not define as religiousity nor as spirituality) increasing rapidly amongst Singaporeans, there is a strong likelihood that we may see the emergence of religion based parties within now and ten years time. These parties are likely to be an Islamic party inspired by PAS, Hindu party inspired by Hindraf and Buddhist party inspired by the recent uprising of Burmese Buddhist monks who are likely to re-emerge again in time to come. One can expect these three parties to form a coalition with the Christian Right party/parties.
In other words in the 2021 election, the defining moment of post 1965 electoral history will be likely to be shaped by the victory of a coalition of religion based parties in very much similarity of how the Islamic clerics ousted the Shah in 1979. Democratic parliamentary elections are all about popularity and such a coalition without doubt can garner at least 50% of the votes. Leftists, socialists, queer groups, reformists, democrats, labour activists, womens groups etc could emerge as a potential another coalition but this coalition represent the interests of at the most a quarter of the population.
Should such an outcome materialise in 2021 election, the PAP will be convinced to send in the army and/or influence senior public servants not to cooperate with the new government. We can then see a similar turbulent transition as what we see in Thailand and Malaysia today. However in those two countries, the aftermath of the turbulent times is likely to be a normalisation. However in the case of Singapore, we are more likely to see the political turbulence to be prolonged like in Iran.
This whole analysis that I am putting forth can only be vaildated by time. My purpose is not put forth a sensational picture of what could happen. I simply want to illustrate the undesirable high risks that country with underdeveloped political system faces in long term if it blindly only focuses on short term political stability. Some idiosyncratic political observers may boast about 50 years of single party rule in Singapore being a source of political stability, failing to realize itself is a source of political instability for the next 50 years.
About the Author:
Abdul Gafoor is a researcher based in the United KingdomSource:The Temasek Review