Recent moves by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) to introduce potential candidates has triggered speculations on the date of Singapore’s next parliamentary election. The next general election, or Singapore GE 2016 as it is more widely known, is much awaited as it is likely to be pivotal for the future of Singapore.
An increasingly disenchanted middle-class and a highly evolved social media environment, has created an electorate that is vocal in expressing their unhappiness over what they see as flawed government policies. Unfortunately, as any and all policies will inevitably involve some form trade-offs, the PAP is thus in a catch-22 position. Do nothing and be blamed, do something and be blamed by someone else.
Exacerbating the situation is that Singapore’s long period of growth and stability has lulled the electorate into a false sense of security. Singapore’s intrinsic vulnerabilities have been forgotten and with it the sense of community above self which is what enabled our founding fathers to achieve so much within the span of one generation.
Today’s electorate, as represented by the likes of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui, demand for ideals like freedom of speech and the right to choose, but do not realize that such ideals are only possible when physiological (like food, water and healthcare) and security needs are first met. Without the basic needs, Singapore will become like Afghanistan where they may have the right to speak (courtesy of the US) and to choose, but they are now constantly worried about where the next meal for their family will come from and whether they will be killed by a road-side bomb.
Based on the constitution, the next general election must be held no later than in 2016. This is because Parliament’s maximum term is five years, and within these five years, it must be dissolved by the President and general elections held within three months. As the last General Election was held on 7 May 2011, assuming that the government of the day decides to stretch it to the maximum, the next general elections must be held no later than 7 August 2016.