Category: Current Affairs
Published on Monday, 22 December 2014 00:00
Are Singaporeans ready to turn out for another election?
A certain issue this week resulted in two very different headlines for the same story:
The Straits Times: Elections will be called when timing is right: PM
TODAY: GE may not be held when everyone's expecting it: PM
Honestly did you really think that PM Lee would not be coy about when the next election will be? If anything, PM Lee is probably quietly snickering at all the opposition voices scrambling to counter the PM's election talk with either bluster or bravado.
So when will elections be held then?
Well take a look this check list and see if you are able to cross everything off it. If you are able to do so then yes elections are right around the corner.
1. Is the PAP prepared? Have all the new candidates properly introduced to the residents of the ward they will be contesting? Have the respective candidates had enough time to work the ground to understand the issues facing the voters? Are the new candidates up to snuff? Is the PAP machine ready to deploy its troops to mount a mass campaign? And most important of all: Is the PAP ready to take on challengers contesting in each and every ward?
2. Is there stuff on the national agenda? SG50 might keep the nation a little too busy feeling good to pay attention to the fact that there's an election going on. Or that might just be the very thing that the PM would be counting on: the feel good factor that could give him the victory he's seeking at the polls.
3. This one is a little hard to predict but anyone can still prepare for it by looking at the appropriate warning signs you get with the intelligence briefings your intelligence agencies provide you: Is there a looming global crisis that would force the voter into wanting to play it safe and sticking with the current driver instead of changing driver midcourse? I'm pretty sure PM Lee is aware of the old saying that there is opportunity in every crisis to know how to capitalize on it.
Other minor considerations that could affect election outcomes that the PM must bear in mind:
4. Are the voters happy? Going by the tone of online discussion the answer's a resounding NO.
5. Are the people fearful? Fear mongering of an immediate crisis during elections tends to push voters to return incumbent parties back into power. People might dismiss the fear factor as a dirty tactic but they cannot deny that it works. The economic report card at election time will play a very big role here.
6. Have the rules been tightened to ensure that social media and alternate media does not influence voting patterns? Will the government move to tighten up rules on election broadcasting to ensure that the internet does not have an unfair advantage over old media?
7. Can the government show that the opposition are once again in disarray and a bad choice? The national press seems to be having a field day with the WP right now. Will all that negative press backfire and deliver the WP the sympathy vote that will allow them to not only retain it's wards and maybe even win another victory?
8. The big one: Has the government taken all the negatives and show that it has delivered on promises to address Singaporean needs and concerns: The list includes matters on housing, transportation, retirement adequacy, healthcare, inflation, immigration and foreign work supply. Will PM Lee be able to convince voters that the measures he introduced post GE 2011 have taken effect and made our lives better?
9. Will former PM Lee Kuan Yew still be around during the next election. Whether you like him or not, the senior Mr. Lee still casts a long shadow over the Singaporean zeitgeist and his presence will have an effect on election results for a long time to come.
So going by this non exhaustive list do you, the reader, think that elections are around the corner?