Saturday, September 12, 2015

GE2015 - The Election of the Whites

GE2015's result had been a shocker to many, not just the Opposition parties and supporters, but also a surprising result for the PAP voters and the PAP leadership.

Much was the hype for the Oppositions, especially Chee Soon Quan's return, Worker's Party's Fengshan SMC & East Coast GRC bid, and even SPP's Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss contest for Mountbatten SMC.

Worker's Party was looking to build inroads into becoming a credible Opposition force in Parliament, aiming to take East Coast GRC as well as the highly "dangerous" Feng Shan SMC. Chee Soon Quan stupidly take on Holland-Bukit Timah after his 15 years away from political elections (what is with his obsession over Holland-Bukit Timah?)

But as the sample count result came out, it was surprisingly "White" - almost all of them with a heavy inclination towards the PAP. Multiple wards have over 70% voted for the PAP. And as the night wears on, the sample count turns true, as PAP take down on electoral ward after another with spectacular victories. Taking at least two thirds of the votes for almost every ward, with the exception of the WP strongholds.

Punggol East SMC fell to the PAP, while Hougang SMC continues to hang on to become the longest Opposition held ward, overtaking Potong Pasir. Feng Shan SMC is won by the PAP with no drama, and so did East Coast GRC painted white without much of a "challenge". Finally Aljunied GRC is retained by the WP with the slightest of margins after a recount.

Opposition are at the loss of words over the stunning PAP victory that see a massive swing towards the PAP. Many theories and reasonings are provided by various leaders, as well as commentaries... For me, its basically lies with a simple fact: PAP did improve after GE2011.

Some people say, because LKY pass away, because SG50, because shows, because just NDP-ed. But seriously, would you really vote the PAP because "its SG50, so I gonna vote the PAP" or "I gonna vote the PAP, because I want to honor LKY". I really dun think its this "simple".

PAP made a lot of changes after GE2011. Prior to GE2011, PAP had almost totally neglected the fact that Singapore is a Nation. Singing to "Global City" during NDP isnt what Singaporeans expect. All policies that brought a massive foreign population increase as well as an overly stretched infrastructure led to a national swing towards the Oppositions. Many voted for the Opposition just to protest against the PAP. PAP realised this very possibility that they might actually really lose power someday in the future after their first GRC defeat, they decided to go back to the roots - care for the people.

The way way overdue Pioneer Generation Package is launched, inflow of foreign labour is much better controlled, various initiative to improve people-government conversation and feedback channel is launched (it might not be perfect, but its a huge improvement over what was previously......almost none). Flooding stopped; and huge funds are invested to rebuild and improve our transportation infrastructures.

And it is all these very noticable changes in PAP policies that swing the silent majority (the swing votes), back in favor of the PAP.

GE2015 is an election that, regardless which way the voters vote, its a good vote. Voting against the PAP would further push the PAP to work harder to regain back the confidence of the people - a show of people's power. But a vote for the PAP, also encourages the PAP that, the change in PAP's direction is a right one, and thus PAP would have the confidence to continue to build on that and shape themselves for the new post-LKY era.

The election results also proved my theory that, the default vote for Singaporeans will always going to be the PAP. My rallying and encouragement for people to vote for the Worker's Party remains the be the right decisions, as it is always an uphill battle for the Oppositions to gain any sort of foothold in the Singapore political landscape.

The people has spoken - PAP, do not fail us.

Worker's Party still a winner in GE2015 despite East Coast GRC

Worker's Party retained the seats of Aljunied GRC in the slimmest of margins, however losing "normally" the highly anticipated East Coast GRC and Fengshan GRC. Most WP and Opposition supporters are disappointed at the results... But Worker's Party supporters, dun be sad or disappointed.

Do you know? That by retaining the Aljunied GRC, Worker's Party have already made history by being the first Opposition Party to retain a GRC in the history of Singapore. It is a remarkable achievement by itself.

Before nomination day and for the past 2-3 years, my stand was always that, if WP can successfully defend their Aljunied seats, and Punggol East seat - it would have been a great achievement, given how difficult it was to win the GRC at the first place.

Despite a surprise defeat of the Punggol East seat to the veteran PAP backbencher of 10 years, WP had kept their seats as per their victories in 2011.

The next 5 years will be pivotal, for WP have to prove themselves that they are worth the confidence placed in them by the Aljunied voters. As I advocated to all my Aljunied voter friends - give them a chance to proof themselves for another term, as the first term is not a fair gauge of their abilities.

I am glad Aljunied voted WP back in, so now its up to WP to proof themselves in the coming 5 years.

Monday, September 7, 2015

GRC - the double edge sword

GRC was conceived by the PAP leadership to serve a 4 primary purposes.

One is to ensure minority representation based on the assumption that a minority candidate will always have a disadvantage in a 1 on 1 electoral contest against a Chinese race candidate as the Chinese race is a huge majority within the entirety of the Singapore population.

The 2nd reason is more "sinister" or "smart", depending on which side of the fence you are on: it is to limit the growth of the Opposition and curtailing their ability to win huge numbers of seats. Opposition was on the rise after JBJ and Chiam See Tong was voted in. And just these 2 voices along, caused tremendous distress to the PAP, whom had already been used to unquestioned rule over the island state. Thus, GRC system as well as the Elected Presidency, is mooted to protect PAP's rule and perhaps, Singapore as a country from rogue parties whom run a populist campaign, which the policies may win votes but spells an end to wise rule for the fragile country.

The 3rd reason is to usher in "weak" but "obedient" PAP members into the parliament. This is a form of cronyism perhaps, where certain candidates may have been given the promise of a MP seat after accomplishing certain given missions - for example contesting in an Opposition stronghold. Typically, such candidates takes up half or more of the candidacy in each GRC and destined to be backbenchers where their attendance in parliament is irrelevant.

The last reason is to allow more freedom to the Cabinet Ministers and appointment holders to concentrate on their "more important roles", leaving municipal issues to the other MPs of the GRC (which probably also do not do much, as most of the work are done by the CCCs)

This GRC concept seemed like a very good idea and looks to serve it purpose (and it did for 2 decades). But the 2011 General Election defeat in Aljunied GRC to the Worker's Party exposed a serious flaw in the system - its that for every GRC PAP lost, they lose 1 or sometimes even 2 ministers (or minister calibre candidates).

George Yeo was "set free" and went on to enjoy a more relaxing and private life since, and Singapore lost a good minister in the process. GRC suddenly appears to become a double edge sword as opposed to be the impregnable shield that it was mooted out to be. And in this 2015 General Elections, PM Lee scaled down the average size of the GRC in response and the PAP GRCs all feels a tad bit that more fragile.

In a different perspective, PAP is actually gambling on the future of Singapore with such a policy. Ministers and potential future leaders heads each GRC, when one GRC falls, there goes the valuable talent in that minister and the future leader that is in line for leadership renewal. It is evident when PAP chickened out by fielding its weakest ever GRC line up in history to contest Aljunied GRC. This brinkmanship-type of electoral rule cuts both ways, causing the situation where, regardless which side you vote: either for a more plural parliamentary representation or for a good minister whom could have served the country well in the cabinet - you lose.

This lose-lose type of election COULD NOT have happened, if it had been just the traditional 1 candidate 1 ward type of election. In which universe would George Yeo have lost his seat, if he had contesting in a SMC? Especially one which every seat is a SMC.

To blood new leaders, one must go through the baptism of fire of contesting on their own, for their own seat and win their right to be in parliament - THEN we talk about selecting them as future leaders for the country. The GRC system must be abolished, for the long term greater good of the country, and for PAP's right and mandate to continue their rule in Singapore.

When PAP start to lose not just 1, but 3, 4 or even 5 or 6 minister-calibre people to the GRC's reverse blade - it would have become too late for the PAP. You lose 3 or 4 minister calibre people, the party calibre drops 20% in term of human capital. And if PAP do not revoke this GRC system, and let it run its course, one day when PAP loses 3 to 4 GRCs, they would not have enough quality candidates to fill the ranks in the cabinet, and it will spell the beginning of the end for the ruling party.

When that happen PAP, will start concentrating all their "elites" into A teams, to protect them from being voted out, and leaving other weaker ward to be contested by backbenchers (which left them vulnerable to Oppositions A teams) - and irreversible slide for the PAP into "just another party" status - since it start using the Opposition election strategies...

I do not believe this election will see PAP losing 3 to 4 GRCs (GE2015), thus, its not too late for the PAP to reverse this GRC system back into its rightful system of 1 candidate 1 ward. For Singapore, and for our future; for their own good and their own mandate - abolish the GRC system.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

GE2015: What are you really voting for?

Before I start, let me say "PAISEH!"  - for the lack of action on this blog. I was busy with work, and kindda lazy to type. But since its GE2015, so let me show some light about what election should be about, and how parties SHOULD behave and manage themselves.

So when we vote, what are we really voting for?

There is 2 main answers (and seemingly very obvious):
 - The Candidate.
 - The Party

So what about the candidate? People tends to lose sight of what the candidate is we vote in to be Member of Parliament (MP) is about, due to all the political hustlings and disinformation that is being spread around and spoke as if its truth.

First and foremost, the Member of Parliament is the People's Representative in Parliament. They are the voice of the constituents towards their issues, concerns and also to vote for or against policies raised by the Government.

But do not be mistaken, we ARE NOT voting for the next Bishop, or the next Monk / Reverend or some holy saint. Its not about voting for a hardworker or a simply a diligent person who can do a job very well. Its voting for someone who can SPEAK and SPEAK WELL, someone who can DEBATE and someone who can ARGUE FOR YOUR WELLBEING. Thus, a candidate MUST be able to speak well.

However, to expect the individual to be all knowing and all knowledgeable - is a ridiculous expectation on the individual candidate. THUS, we are also voting for the Party. The Party is not just an emblem, a logo or just a name (or least, it should not be).

The Party have to be the ENGINE behind the MP that is representing the people. The party should be an organised machinery with a research & analysis arm, social / community assistance arm, and a communications arm, as well as the Members of Parliament that are the spokesmen and representative of the Party in Parliament.

The Party IS NOT just the candidates or just the leader. It must be MORE than just that, and more than just a brand. It have to be a team that supports the MP, the behind the scene team that make everything possible.

And BECAUSE, the importance of the Party that is behind the MP, that works silently behind the scene, in order for the MP to do their job properly in Parliament. Thus, the party is the other 50% of the equation of what we are voting for.

The Party also represents the policies they believe in or against, their manifesto and the vision that have for Singapore.

Thus the Party is very important; it is what enables the MP to be who he can be; the machinery that scrutinise the policy, arrange the logistics especially during the elections, helps to connect to the constituents and subsequent helping them as well as to communicate the party message to the people.


So its 50-50 between Candidate and Party.

But when you break it down, the candidate still holds the most water.

A person who can speak well and speaks for you - 50%
Policy Research/Analysis - 10%
Community Assistance - 10%
Communications to you and keeping you updated - 10%
Manifesto & Philosophy - 10%
Brand & Vision - 10%
TOTAL - 100%

Thus, if we vote according to the equation above, PAP candidates ARE NOT necessarily the automatic choice for you. Because its important that they are able to speak for you, but as most of them are backbenchers...

But of course, I could not deny the fact that many of the PAP candidates are good choices even with the equation above (what I trying to highlight is many arent). But Oppositions have a fair shot at it.

If they can get the Party side of things done well (like Worker's Party, and perhaps also Singapore Democratic Party) - then with the right quality candidate - they can be just as good or even a better choice than the PAP's.

Now its up to you now.

Vote well.