Singapore's political opposition does not have a strong track record.
The city-state, which celebrated its 53rd birthday this month, has been governed by one political entity, the People's Action Party, since independence. In that time, the former trading outpost has been transformed into an advanced economy — a success story that bolsters the PAP in every election.
Singapore is home to multiple opposition parties, with eight to nine regularly contesting general elections. But poorly defined policies, a dearth of public engagement, and disunity have stymied their performance for decades.
Now, following a shock election result in neighboring Malaysia, opposition parties say they're trying to change that.
Seven parties held a meeting late last month to discuss banding together to contest the next election, which is due by 2021. If a coalition were formed, it would still be unlikely to upset the PAP by then. The near-term goal is targeting the PAP's two-thirds parliamentary majority, so the ruling party can no longer easily change the nation's constitution, opposition leaders told CNBC.
"The current lack of debate in parliament is unhealthy," said Goh Meng Seng, secretary general of three-year-old opposition group, the People's Power Party. "There needs to be more diversity of opinions in decision-making processes, — if there isn't a strong contest of ideas, parliament sittings won't be taken seriously."