Two days till the nation goes to the polls, dear reader. And just the third time in my lifetime that I will get to choose members of parliament to represent me and my interests. Of course, this being Singapore, these things take on a Uniquely Singapore flavour, one that doesn’t always leave the nicest taste in your mouth. Let me explain.
Singapore has what you might call a giant elephant in the proverbial room – the People’s Action Party (PAP). The PAP has been in power since we gained our independence in 1965, and they have designed and implemented a system where the deck is always stacked in their favour. The media is subservient to the whims and fancy of the ruling elite, the judiciary is used as a tool to harass and bankrupt opposition politicians, and the electoral boundaries have been gerrymandered to the nth degree.
With such a stacked deck, you would think that nobody in their right mind would dare to stand up and contest in the elections. But since 2011, we have been fortunate that some brave souls have struck up the courage to do so. To them, I will be eternally grateful for sticking to and fighting for their beliefs. The likes of the Workers Party (WP), the National Solidarity Party (NSP), the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) have some of the truest patriots Singapore has ever had.
In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, the PAP government thinks its a good idea to call for snap elections. Parliament was dissolved on 23 June, nominations were made on 30 June, and the actual voting will happen on 10 July. Basically, the entire process takes just 3 weeks! My question is whether it is even wise to have an election at this time, as the government had until the end of next year to conduct it. Are they putting peoples lives at risk?
Anyway, the decision has been made, and its now time for us to make a choice. I’m in the camp of people who think its good to have opposition voices in parliament to provide different views. The PAP has such a hegemony on Singapore that they tend to only draw from the supposed “elite”. We are supremely fortunate that the slate of candidates from the opposition parties appear to be as good, if not better, that what the PAP are putting forward. The likes of Jamus Lim, Raeesha Khan, Nicole Seah, He Ting Ru, Chee Soon Juan, Dr Paul Thambya, and Michelle Lee Juen all deserve our vote, and I hope that they will achieve success this Friday.
For me personally, I will be voting for the Workers Party because their proposed policies resonate with me. The following are the key ones that I’ve picked out from their manifesto:
- Strengthen social safety nets for retrenched workers
- Reduce form class sizes in schools to 20-25 students
- Introduce Special Dividend from GIC investments for CPF members
- Introduce a national minimum wage
- Introduce Redundancy insurance
- Legislate against discrimination for gender, race and age
- No to a GST hike
- Do more to mitigate climate change
AS you can see, these are common-sense policies that will benefit every Singaporean, and I can whole-heartedly get behind any party that proposes thus. I hope my fellow Singaporeans do as well. At the end of the day though, in the words of a wise man: