Tuesday, 13 October 2015

One Month After GE2015 - What's the Big Fuss?

The Big Fuss over Singapore GE2015 – One Month After
“A Great Victory for Singapore and Democracy”

To insiders who know the people, activists and workings inside the PAP, its organisation, values, activities, unshakeable grass-roots network and governance performance record, the outcome of Singapore General Elections or GE2015 was never in the slightest doubt. Pre-GE2015 pundits had probably created the Big Fuss of uncertainties and predicting disaster for PAP in order to encourage bets to profit themselves. 

Many explanations and analysis have been offered for the landslide victory on 11 September 2015 by Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) as if it was like finding water on Mars or discovering how to make gold out of lead.  Never mind that the PAP has always been repeatedly returned to power to form the government with comfortable majorities in Parliament for the past 50 years of Singapore’s existence.   

On an ordinary General Elections day on 11 September 2015, the PAP secured an exceptional 69.9% popular vote share to return to power again. It secured 83 out of 89 parliamentary seats in 29 constituencies, where 15 constituencies gave the PAP more than 70% of their votes. Overall, Singaporeans decisively awarded the PAP with widespread popular vote-swings from the 2011 GE with many from more than 10% to 15%.  Bottom-line, the PAP won almost 10% more votes, from a larger electorate base, from just 60.1% in GE2011. 

Many have pointed to generous SG50 “goodies” distributed by the Government to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Singapore as a major reason for PAP votes.  These may have a little positive effect but could not have been even a decisive factor in GE2015.  After all, the people are accustomed to regular “goodies” by the Government annually even during non-Elections years.   

Some cited the failed strategy by Opposition parties to contest every constituency, and thereby created a “fear” in the minds of the electorate of a “freakish (?)” elections outcome whereby the PAP may not win enough seats to form the next government. This argument is bizarre and absurd because the Opposition parties have adopted similar strategies to contest more than 50% of seats, and repeatedly failed, in previous elections. And if the PAP had indeed been performing sub-par to deserve being replaced, then this “100% contests” strategy would be best for the eventual Opposition alternative government. Unless of course, either the PAP performance was never an electoral issue (why change the government then?) or/and the electorate did not have any confidence in an Opposition alternative government (why vote for the Opposition?).    

Were there no issues worthy of General Elections showdown?  In fact, there were many and plentiful issues to anyone following the web-sites, Blogs and Speakers Corner speeches of the various Opposition parties as well as many armchair-bound commentators over the previous 18+ months.  The issues ranged from emotional CPF withdrawals, high medical costs, immigrant workers, Town Council mis-management, national service, university places and public transport inefficiencies.  These issues were actively argued and engaged in public conversations, public-square, Blog-sites as well as vigorously debated in Parliament.  Alternative solutions were also suggested in the various Manifestos of the Opposition Parties and formed the content of election rally speeches which were also widely published in the local newspapers.  Yet, judging from the final votes on GE Day, the PAP had won over the hearts and minds of the electorates with its narratives, conversations and proposed solutions on all the issues.  And then some.

Perhaps, the respective quality of the Opposition candidates as compared with PAP candidates, were found deficient and sorely wanting in experience and educational qualifications. Actually, the slate of Opposition candidates is about the best ever mustered in any Singapore General Elections. To be fair, just comparing them to the new PAP candidates is sufficient to conclude that they are probably quite evenly matched in their relative lack of political and grassroots experience.  Yet, the new PAP candidates fared generally much better than Opposition candidates from their respective final vote-count.  Individual candidate’s family backgrounds, educational qualifications and their political experience (or lack thereof) did not appear to matter to the electorates.  Sitting PAP candidates did well; the PAP’s overall distributed vote counts attest to and confirm the PAP as indeed and still THE Party of the People”.

The most obvious and true explanation for the landslide GE2015 outcome is the PAP itself.

The untimely demise in March 2015 of Singapore’s Founding Father and First Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) brought forth such over-flowing and out-pouring of national grief and gratitude to the one who led the nation from a Third World island state to First World metropolis as he had promised.    

Throughout the National Mourning Week at the end of March 2015, PAP activists discarded their customary “white” attires as they joined common cause with the “People-in-Black” united in the common painful sorrow of the death of the People’s Champion.  The PAP’s Men-in-White (“MIW”) were indistinguishable. Then dressed in common black, the MIW and people entwined in painful grief as they comfort one another to make the transition easier to bear.  The pain grew deep and unbearable as to be intolerable at times during the funeral procession.  Together, they – the Party and the People - were one; united in loss, side-by-side as one people, facing tomorrow as one nation and reaching beyond our grasp towards realizing the fuller vision of the remarkably extraordinary man who took us on the road of no return arriving at the Metropolis as he promised.

That week in March 2015, almost 6 months earlier, was the defining moment for GE2015.  A grateful nation would demonstrate its eternal loyalty to her Founder by re-affirming his Party’s rightful and well-deserving place as the continuing Government by a landslide mandate later the year.  

As a political party founded in 1955 to fight for independence from British colonial rule, the PAP has been in power since self-government in 1959.  Over these 60 years, the PAP has seen the rise and fall of many political parties from Europe, US, Americas, Africa and neighbouring South-East Asian countries.  Far too many political parties who had fought for independence have become victims to its own greed for power and money corruption; and with many others have also suppressed and repressed their own people in order to remain in power undemocratically.  Very few corrupt political leaders actually want to remember that the purpose of forming democratic governments is to create wealth and prosperity for its people with opportunities leading to the greatest benefits for the largest number.     

The landslide victory of GE2015 for the PAP augurs well for Singapore into the future towards SG100, our 100th anniversary in 2065, as we continue to build on what we have been entrusted and bequeathed by LKY – to be One People and One Nation forever.

For the PAP, its transparency and anti-corruption values have created a tremendous social capital deserving of unshakeable public trust, which translated repeatedly into decisive electoral votes in General Elections like GE2015.  



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