Early GE or delay till Covid-19 is controlled or when required by constitution?

Mr Yee Jenn Jong

My post is in response to former Nominated Members of Parliament (NMPs) Calvin Cheng and Eugene Tan in Calvin’s public Facebook page and Eugene in ST Opinion.

1. Yes, no one knows when the situation will ebb. There is a year left till April 2021 and even if you minus off the very short period that is required by our constitution from dissolving of parliament to nomination and 9 days of campaigning plus 1 day cooling, there are still 10 months to go. There is no immediate necessity to call the General Election (GE) now.

2. The government received a very strong mandate in 2015. So there is no question of the PAP needing a strong mandate to carry out what they need to do in a crisis. I do not know of any democratically elected government that has a stronger mandate. Nor has anyone stopped the government so far from doing what they need to do in this crisis. If they need to pass any new laws or implement any drastic measures in this near end-of-term period, they have the mandate to do so anyway. If they need to tap on reserves which I believe they will in tomorrow’s announcement, who will stop them? No fresh mandate is needed.

3. So what if there is still a bad Covid-19 situation nearing April 2021? Firstly, we often tend to overestimate how good or bad things are. China managed to control quite well in a short period. Italy seemed to have peaked. Yes, many countries are still climbing up the infection curve but countries have taken note of the seriousness and most have implemented quite drastic measures. Medical research is proceeding rapidly to find some cure. Even if we have to do GE in March / April 2021 with Covid-19 still very much in our midst, then we will just have to proceed and no one will fault the government for doing what is required constitutionally. If there had to be curbs on rallies and gatherings still by that time (hopefully with other alternatives allowed), there are no strong reasons to complain.

4. With no disrespect to Eugene or Calvin, for they have done their good contributions in parliament; they did not get into parliament by elections. I have contested, twice. I do not believe in going into a contest just to put my name up and hope for the best. Even if the odds are stacked heavily against me, even if I have to walk till my shoe breaks (which they had) and I lose my voice or suffer cramps from too much climbing of stairs (and I had many times), I will still have to contest as hard as I can knowing that if I lose, it is not for the lack of trying.

Any serious campaign will take not just the candidates but a large number of volunteers, reaching out to a large number of Singaporeans. Any serious party will have to make sure that their message reach to as many voters as possible. Rallies will not be allowed. Sure, there can be e-rallies but can these reach to all? Will it have the same effect?

Elections are once in 5 years. Do we accord seriousness to the process or are they meant to just endorse the incumbents? Will their candidates, especially the new ones who do not have to sweat it out to win support really understand their constituents?

In serious campaigning, there has to be house to house visits and outreach in public places. No matter how we try to have safeguards, the population will be unnecessarily exposed. Just take a look at the viral video of the PM’s visit to a market in Ang Mo Kio last weekend to see how all our social distancing rules were broken.

Right now, businesses and people are asked to make sacrifices to keep everyone safe. We are almost in a shutdown. We have gone past DOSCON Orange and are just a step short of Red. We appreciate these efforts to keep Singapore safe.

So if we call the GE now, a lot of campaigning activities will go on despite trying one’s best efforts to keep it lower key. The PAP is the price setter. They introduce new faces in public places and go about doing house and market visits, the price-takers will follow suit. If it has to take place, sure, the price-takers will have to be ready and will step up but is it what’s good for Singapore at this time?

If by March 2021 the situation is not improved and we really have to do a Covid-19 GE with restrictions, then I am sure Singaporeans will understand. But to force it now when there is no time urgency and when the priority should be Covid-19 containment, you will leave many with a bitter taste. Sure, the PAP will win again, but it will be tainted with #notmygovernment.

 

Yee Jenn Jong

* The author is a member of the Workers’ Party and had contested in GE2011 and 2015 as a candidate. This post is his personal opinion and does not express the view of the party.

 

 

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12 Responses to “Early GE or delay till Covid-19 is controlled or when required by constitution?”

  • to have an election or not:

    God in his utmost wisdom and mercy will settle this.
    if not, it means God has given up on us too and the ‘DEVIL’ wins.

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  • Asd:

    I think just change the constitution to no more election and declare as communist state la so much wayang for what and why want the citizen to get infected and die

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  • Fence Sitter:

    Sorry, but this message comes from Mr Yee, someone who has contested elections more than once, and never made any inroads. A message tinted with sour grapes. Since Mr Yee has no electoral success to speak of, he should kindly step aside and his comments on when the election should be held be disregarded.

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  • PAPVID-20:

    In simple Singlish, it means …… can wait how long then wait how long lah. Wait until cannot wait then hold election also not too late, tio bo?

    JJ definitely makes sense but unfortunately, that ‘hunger for power’ in the pap has killed all their sense.

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  • Fencesitter Shitter:

    This same Mr. Yee Jenn Yong was so very close to winning Joo Chiat seat in 2010 that your Pappyheads freaked out come 2015 and resorted to their Realpolitik thingy – absorbing Joo Chiat into their GRC creature…. enough said.

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  • this one is pap IB for sure:

    Fence Sitter:
    Sorry, but this message comes from Mr Yee, someone who has contested elections more than once, and never made any inroads. A message tinted with sour grapes. Since Mr Yee has no electoral success to speak of, he should kindly step aside and his comments on when the election should be held be disregarded.

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  • Sure, the PAP will lose:

    “Sure, the PAP will win again”

    I don’t like candidates who go into the fight admitting defeat before the fight begins. Some years back, there was a candidate who, during his election rally, praised the other party for doing a good job. He’s probably a spy? He did his job. The other party won.

    Sure, they are being realistic. But, do you really have to say it before the fight? Please, enter the fight with your expectations up!

    There is always an element of surprise. Something unexpected may happen or is already happening.

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  • Great Asia:

    Shallow monkeys still don’t get it?!

    The Great Asia has been here since day one to warn you that PAP fat cats are wayanging about controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

    PAP monkeys wanted to keep Singapore “business as usual”, so that they can exploit the coronavirus crisis to plan and execute a General Election.

    PAP fat cats took risk with Singaporean health for their self interests.

    From day one I knew this will happen.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • opposition dude:

    Since goondu Loong thinks it’s time for another strong mandate then let him hold the election now. Once it’s announced there will be a fury of posts condemning him but you know he won’t give a flying F anyway. It’s only if the silent majority think that this is wrong and vote opposition will he know that it was a mistake for holding the election in the midst of Covid.

    As they say, fortune favours the brave. He is making a very big assumption that he will get another high percentage victory as he THINKS that voters will just automatically vote for his party in this crisis. He better be damn sure about this because if his assumption is dead wrong he could well be seeing his ranks decimated!

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  • No election lah:

    No election now lah.
    Save lives more important now. Concentrate on the Virus problem.
    The election can still wait….

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  • Useless:

    GE more important than Tokyu games ?

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  • WakeupSG:

    “In Singapore, we are doing everything we can to keep you and your families safe,” he said.

    https://www.straitstimes.com/politics/singapores-aviation-and-tourism-sectors-most-badly-hit-by-coronavirus-pandemic-dpm-heng

    How to keep voters safe during GE in May/June when the Covid-19 curve is still moving up & unstable?

    Better to focus all resources & unite SG to combat this killer virus & not be distracted & divided by GE. It is inhuman to even hint & suggest options by PM of GE during this critical crisis which warrants the use of SG Reserves to cope with the state of emergency and let the Head of State issue an order to delay the GE even till after the April 2021 deadline if the virus is not contained!

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