By: Roadside Observer
On 11th September 2015, Singaporeans went for the most significant polling in post Lee Kuan Yew (the republic’s founder) era.
Contrary to popular speculations, this time around the ruling party People’s Action Party (PAP) won landslide majority votes. Oppositions were sidelined on all fronts! The swing of votes seemed to be a nation-wide phenomenon.
Immediately after the polling results were concluded, many started to sound off their sentiments. Even the experts were dumbfounded.
Some believe that it was becos of huge support the oppositions were gaining during the 9 days campaigning period, and hence Singaporeans were so panic about a freak outcome might take place to cause the current government (PAP) to be dethroned. Therefore many of them changed their mind at last minute, swinging their votes to the ruling party. Does this make sense?
In reality, this theory of last minute change of mind is a wild card scenario. But it is not credible.
There are two most plausible factors that contributed to the landslide win for PAP on this General Election (GE),
(1) majority of Singaporeans on the street and job market have realized the regional gloomy economic situation and the possible impact on Singapore. As usual, large number of young families and middle income groups decided to place their bet (for the next 5 years) on the old and experienced Ship Captain to navigate the potential perfect storm heading their way. They believe only the party with the resources and policies could save the day or at least reduce the pain. This has become the general consensus during the poll.
(2) Sentimental factor. The SG50 pride and joy celebration with the government still vivid as well as tribute to the late Lee Kuan Yew sentiment also played a part. Coupled with drastic U-turn of some policies the last three years.
And therefore, desire for more diversified voices in parliament no longer an urgent matter! That can wait. (Sorry oppositions, Singaporeans don’t need you now for the time being). The election results seemed to have nothing to do with party manifesto at this juncture. In itself it demonstrated a group-think mentality of Singaporean voters. Majority just wanted a safe bet for the next five years, in order to weather the economic thunderstorm and regional uncertainty.
So, the surprising polling results has nothing to do with what the oppositions and ruling party had said and done during the campaigning period nor the town counsel issues. It is just that majority of Singaporeans are now very realistic in making their bargains in times of General Election.
For this few years, it is a safer bet to let the experienced captain take full control of the cruise ship. ie. Giving the ship captain a mandate.
Remember what Bill Clinton had said: “It’s economy, stupid!”
Going forward, if the people are not happy with some major policy changes, huge number of votes can still swing back to the other side.
Apparently this is the real New Normal that the ruling party should take note.
For oppositions, don’t need to dig in too hard to find the answers for this GE 2015. Simply put, it is the wrong timing for your battle of more diversified voices in the parliament! There’s a Chinese saying: 非战之罪. ie. Is not your fault in battle.
Question: Does it mean that the voters becoming smarter these day and gaining more bargaining power?
One interesting point to note, many of them stayed through till 4am in the morning just to get the real time news about the fate of Aljunied constituency. And apparently many were afraid that the opposition might lose it to the ruling party. Why?
(It should be clear that many voters still want credible opposition(s) to be around and not been weakened too much… ).