Singapore General Election 2015: Real (Correct) Politics in Singapore
Since PM Lee Hsien Loong’s acceptance of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee’s (EBRC) recommendation on 24 July 2015, social media has caught election fever.
The usual suspects of alternative websites (TOC, TRE and ASS) have started to distort information, rehash old issues and make malicious attacks on the Government and its Ministers. Thankfully, in recent months, the proverbial middle-ground and silent majority have started to speak-up and challenge opposition trolls and instigators. This bodes well for Singapore General Election 2015 as Singaporeans will now be able to make a more informed decision on whom they think can better lead Singapore into the future.
When the new electoral boundaries were first announced, to be honest, I too was taken aback. My initial sense of fair-play was challenged and I was indignant that our Government would not play fair. After my emotions had settled, I began to reflect on whether a constantly changing boundary was necessarily a bad thing. I concluded that firstly, Gerrymandering (common in all democracies even in the United States) did not benefit the PAP. Unlike the past where the PAP was dominant with 80% of the popular votes, unless the PAP is now prepared to give-up some Divisions to the opposition, gerrymandering in reality forces the PAP to spread their support base across multiple Division. This in turn benefits the opposition as the margin to win, is likely to be a few percentage point. So why do it? Perhaps it is as PM had mentioned – to address population shifts.
Secondly, and what I believe to be the more important of the two points, is that gerrymandering helps to filter the real political parties from the opportunists. As Kenneth Jeyaretnam famously said, the “General Election is not a once in 4 or 5 year event where opposition parties show up, distribute flyers and should rhetoric.” The General Election concerns the future of Singapore and Singaporeans and real political parties work and walk the ground on a daily basis. If a political party has done that, it does not really matter if the boundaries are redrawn. The voters will know.
So gerrymandering while seemingly unfair on the surface, actually helps the real political parties stand-out from the opportunists. It is obvious that parties like Singaporean First do not really care about Singaporeans. The extent of their ground work is to do a few walk-about, distribute their manifesto and then call for Singaporeans to vote for them if they want change. My question is what have you done for Singaporeans first, to have earned the right to represent us? And there are many more political parties like that.
For all their imperfections, I can see that the PAP actually helps everyday Singaporean. I see them and their party activists on the ground on a daily basis. For opposition political parties who are genuine in helping Singaporeans, there is nothing stopping them from having their own weekly Meet-the-People Sessions (MPS) or raising funds for the needy. It is whether they want to or not. At the heart of real, and I might add correct, politics is the intention of helping people. To me, I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care.
In short, show me you care first, before asking for my vote!