Home > Politics > SG Election (4) – Political Awakening?

SG Election (4) – Political Awakening?

You know how many articles like to use this template: “No matter what’s the outcome, the people will…”, and yes I’m going to use the template again, just in case you’re not bored with it yet Smile with tongue out

Some hours later, about 2.5 million voters will head to the polling stations to cast their vote, and to decide their future (can we please stop using all these cheesy words already? Smile with tongue out). Only about 140k voters will not be able to vote because they reside in Tanjong Pagar GRC, where PAP’s godfather Lee Kuan Yew and his team scored a walkover. Overseas voters could register themselves in embassies in 9 major cities and hence vote in overseas. Contrasting that with Malaysia, where we have minister telling us that Malaysians abroad shall not vote because “they don’t like the country”, *SIGH*…

Voting is compulsory or your name will get struck off the elector roll, which you’ll need to pay or give valid reason to reinstate your name back into the roll. Polling period is from 8am to 8pm, then probably from 10pm onwards you’ll get official results coming in… I don’t remember hearing any “unofficial results” in 2006 GE, hopefully this time the media will start to collate the unofficial numbers each party receives and put them up…

PAP garners overall vote of 66% during 2006 GE. In GRCs, it was 67% on average, with Aljunied GRC scoring only 56% but Sembawang GRC scored 76.7%. Variation in SMC is bigger, 37% and 44% for the oppositions seat, while scoring 68% to 77% in 4 seats, bringing an average of 61% for the SMCs. The voting pattern among the constituencies are quite similar which can be attributed to the similar racial composition as well as the small geographical area, i.e. that a local issue in one constituency is usually applicable to the rest of the island. In my opinion, the variation among constituencies in 2006 GE is candidate-driven, the two SMCs that PAP lost were held by opposition since 1988 and 1991, while the Workers Party has been working on the ground in Aljunied GRC since 2001…

Most of the Singaporeans I know can be classified into three groups, first group the most, third the least:
1) Hinting that they are leaning towards opposition, and to much lesser extent (I only hear bold statement like “I voting for XX, please vote for XX” once), calling people to vote opposition with them;
2) Know what’s going on but prefer to not talk about elections and not showing obvious preferences;
3) Indicate that they have no choice because “the opposition here sucks”…

It’s hard to predict because I think Singaporeans are rather “secretive” on their votes. I’m going to play with the number in a very amateur way: Simple extrapolation and assuming uniform change in the country. A 7% nationwide swing would result in the fall of 1 GRC and 2 possible SMC loss for PAP, resulting in a total of 9 MPs for opposition. I personally think that a 7% swing is very likely to occur. In 2006 GE, the swing from PAP to opposition was 8.7% and judging from the ground sentiment, I think it is even possible to see another 8.7% swing, which may bring another GRC and another SMC into opposition’s hand, i.e. 14 MPs for opposition.

But the hard truth is, while Aljunied seems ripe for a change, other GRCs seem to be relatively safe for PAP. The PAP is not seen sweating over other GRCs and there’s no heavy media attention on any other GRCs except Aljunied. As for the SMCs, it seems like this traditional battleground is “forgotten”, making it very hard to see if there’s any possible opposition gain. After all, I’m not aware of any oppositions working on the ground of the GRCs and SMCs except the already-opposition wards as well as Aljunied GRC (Note: All except 3 SMCs were newly drawn just 2 months ago…) So it is quite likely that the opposition will end up having 1 GRC and 2 SMCs, i.e. only 7 MPs, which is not going to be exciting in my opinion… Well at least the PAP’s popularity vote will decrease, that’s for sure! Smile

 

Alright, no matter what’s the election outcome (jeng jeng jeng), this election will definitely be remembered as the “political awakening” for the Singaporean people. To me, polling day is like the “holy day” for a democracy. It makes you feel the presence of democracy, I believe the kind of “feel-good” sensation is going to boost the political awareness in many people, especially those who decided to attend rallies, to kill time or not. The fact that voting is compulsory, and that almost the whole country is up for election means that the people need to follow the political news in order to make decision. The Singaporean people ended up digesting lots and lots of information, many of which are political stories, during this election, because they get to CHOOSE, and it’s everyone’s habit to check their product before deciding what to buy right? Internet penetration rate in Singapore is 80%, and I think almost all the younger generation find information through internet. While many of these young people never voted before (because of the walkovers in past elections), it is simply impossible to ignore the election when the video of the rallies is up almost immediately in the youtube and almost everyone in the facebook or twitter or whatnot is sharing all election-related information from videos to articles to notes written by ordinary you and me.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it is for sure that the future general elections will not see much walkovers, and I think the people will start to follow what’s going on in the Singapore politics from this point onwards, because they know they have to vote again, and they probably don’t want to do last-minute-homework anymore. More significantly, it means the next parliament will be the results of the participation of almost all eligible voters in the country. When you’re the shareholder, you’ll definitely pay more attention to what’s going on in the “company” and that’s likely to happen when more people will want to know what’s happening with the parliamentary democracy.

When I see young people and even kids being a plenty in the rallies, I can’t help but to think in the next five years, or ten years, Singapore will definitely see a more political savvy voters entering the system, and with the air of “informed citizenry” (Amazing that Singaporean people are talking about being “informed citizen” over this election!) getting thicker, I think the two-party-system is definitely going to settle down in Singapore.

And the usually more political savvy Malaysian will not be able to laugh at the Singaporeans for being ignorant about politics and civil liberty. In fact we’ll have to be worried that with the current BN government’s attitude (and may I add, PKR’s attitude) towards the (dirty) politics and civil society among others, we may end up not going anywhere and continue our journey towards the hall of failed nations…

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