Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Economy a top issue on voters' minds, say analysts

“It’s the economy, stupid.” Election guru James Carville had the phrase pasted on his campaign office walls in 1992. It powered his client Bill Clinton to the White House as a recession derailed incumbent George Bush’s re-election bid.

What was true then – that most people of voting age care deeply about their finances – could be even more salient now, amid the worst global recession in recent memory due to Covid-19.

When Singaporeans cast their votes on July 10, jobs and the economy can be expected to be a defining issue.

It can be a deeply partisan one, too. Studies in the United States have shown that when the rate of unemployment is high, political challengers talk a lot about the state of the economy and blame incumbents for it.

It is often said that an economic downturn often signals the downfall of a sitting president in the US. Studies there also show that people are more likely to be influenced by blame-the-incumbent messages when they themselves are unemployed. The level of blame goes up the longer their duration of unemployment.

This raises questions about how much of such voter psychology applies here in Singapore, where times of crisis have tended to see a flight to safety instead, with voters preferring to stick with the tried and tested ruling People’s Action Party, as happened after the 2001 downturn caused by the bursting of the dot.com bubble and the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

Acknowledging this on Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also cited the other side of the equation. A downturn is hardly the “happiest of times” to hold an election, he said.

“People are feeling the pain and the uncertainty because of the crisis, some acutely. The opposition is making the most of that,” said PM Lee, adding that this was why the PAP was expecting a “tough election”.

He explained that he had chosen to go to the polls sooner rather than later, as doing so now – when things are relatively stable – will clear the decks and give the new government a fresh five-year mandate.

Yesterday, in an address to Singaporeans, PM Lee warned that the worst of the economic downturn is yet to come, there will be more retrenchments, and some of the jobs lost may never come back.

LIVELIHOODS AT STAKE

The economy is in its worst recession since independence. With livelihoods at stake, the state of the economy is definitely a key consideration in this GE.

MR IRVIN SEAH, DBS Bank senior economist.

CRUX OF THE MATTER

For Singaporeans, the economy is what drives politics. Voters’ selection of a political party or candidate to represent them is predicated on how they can revitalise or even stabilise the economy, and generate jobs for Singaporeans.

DR FELIX TAN, associate lecturer at SIM Global Education.

NEED OF THE HOUR

To me, the Government has performed well and we need a really strong government to help us during this period, instead of just some opposition voices here and there.

MR JIM LIM, managing director of a small and medium-sized enterprise, on how economic considerations will determine how he votes.

So will the pandemic, both a health and economic crisis, focus voters’ minds on the challenges ahead, as the PAP would like?

Or will the pain that is being felt turn the mood sour and be reflected in the outcome on Polling Day?

Analysts said the reservoir of public goodwill is still full as the country heads to the polls.

Maybank Kim Eng senior economist Chua Hak Bin said: “The PAP is riding on the positive sentiments from the reopening of the economy and generous fiscal handouts.”

The election is also taking place before the worst of the economic downturn bites and deep retrenchments kick in, with some jobs never to come back. The Singapore economy is expected to shrink by up to 7 per cent this year.

The Government has mounted unprecedented fiscal firepower over four Budgets, devoting almost $93 billion to Covid-19 support measures and drawing up to $52 billion from past reserves.

Key measures include the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), which subsidises wages so that firms can retain their workers, as well as foreign worker levy waivers and tax rebates. Many of the schemes are due to taper off before the end of this year.

And in the matter of election messaging, the PAP has chosen a pragmatic yet forward-looking manifesto: Our Lives, Our Jobs, Our Future, which speaks directly to Singaporeans’ concerns.

DBS Bank senior economist Irvin Seah said: “The economy is in its worst recession since independence. With livelihoods at stake, the state of the economy is definitely a key consideration in this GE.”

Dr Felix Tan, associate lecturer at SIM Global Education, said voters are naturally concerned about job security, as the pandemic has effectively culled jobs that had been deemed relatively “safe”, such as in the tourism and food and beverage sectors.

“For Singaporeans, the economy is what drives politics. Voters’ selection of a political party or candidate to represent them is predicated on how they can revitalise or even stabilise the economy, and generate jobs for Singaporeans,” Dr Tan said.

In the 2001 General Election, held during a period when Singapore was in a recession triggered by the dot.com crash, the PAP won with a landslide 75.3 per cent share of the votes. This was more than 10 percentage points higher than in the 1997 polls.

Likewise, in the 1997 polls, which took place in the early phase of the Asian financial crisis, the PAP won 65 per cent of the votes, a 4 percentage point increase from the 1991 General Election.

Voters such as Mr Jim Lim said economic considerations will indeed determine how they vote. The 54-year-old managing director of a small and medium-sized enterprise welcomes relief measures such as the JSS.

“To me, the Government has performed well and we need a really strong government to help us during this period, instead of just some opposition voices here and there,” he told The Straits Times.

Opposition leaders reject this, saying in recent days that it is precisely in a time of crisis that more checks are needed on the ruling party.

Analysts added that the strength of the Government’s fiscal response to the Covid-19 crisis could also limit the policy space that opposition parties have to manoeuvre in.

The Government has not only marshalled a historic four Budgets to provide wage subsidies, income relief for self-employed persons and rebates for companies in the short term, but it also has promised to reskill and retrain Singaporeans over the long term for jobs of the future.

The plans are detailed. In the party’s manifesto, entire sections are devoted to workers of every stripe, from young job seekers to workers with disabilities. In the works are re-employment grants and job redesign, structured traineeships, enhanced Workfare support and an extended Progressive Wage Model. Special attention will be paid to those aged 40 to 60, through heavily subsidised reskilling programmes as well as hiring incentives.

Pointing to this, National University of Singapore Business School associate professor Lawrence Loh said: “This election will see a great flight to a trusted government and Parliament.”

DBS Bank’s Mr Seah said “robust fiscal power does not necessarily translate into effective policies”, and short of simply calling for more money to be spent, opposition parties must offer better alternatives to government policies or suggestions for improvement.

Former Nominated MP and political observer Zulkifli Baharudin said that even if the opposition can come up with alternatives, these are difficult to turn into actual votes during a crisis election, especially when many Singaporeans are grateful for the Government’s financial help.

He added that this is why the various opposition parties, in their public communications, have not gone into too much detail about their economic policies.

There is the added constraint that only one opposition party, the Workers’ Party (WP), has been elected into Parliament to date.

“The idea that Singapore needs a strong opposition is an ideological one that has not been translated into conviction. Opposition politics have not been successfully entrenched yet,” said Mr Zulkifli.

The net result of all of this, said CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun, is that opposition parties often end up focusing on short-term issues where they can make quick electoral gains, such as Central Provident Fund withdrawal limits, the cost of living and Housing Board flat leases, and curbs on foreign workers.

“That’s why for all opposition parties, issues like the goods and services tax (GST) hike suddenly go to the top of the list (during the election),” he added.

Calls for the GST to be suspended or scrapped are being made by several opposition parties, as are proposals for restrictions on immigration and free trade agreements.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has said there will be no GST hike to 9 per cent next year, and while the increase still has to take place by 2025 to fund the country’s growing healthcare needs, there will be a $6 billion Assurance Package and an enhanced GST permanent voucher scheme to help Singaporeans cope when the tax is introduced.

Mr Song noted that the PAP has emphasised long-term issues despite the pressure to focus only on the immediate needs of protecting jobs and helping businesses. “The digitalisation drive for businesses, for example, is a game changer which has been accelerated due to Covid-19.”

But the outcome of GE2020 depends on whether Singaporeans choose to take the long view and see the bigger picture, he added.

“The key thing for voters is whether short-term issues such as the cost of living matter more and whether they view current issues as something they can take in their stride, bearing in mind that there are longer-term issues which are more important to the overall survival of Singapore.”

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Political broadcasts to air daily from July 2-9

SINGAPORE – The two party political broadcasts (PPBs) for the upcoming general election will begin on Thursday (July 2) while those for constituency political broadcasts (CPBs) will roll out from Friday.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) on Wednesday announced that the PPBs will be aired across 19 TV and radio channels from 8pm on July 2 and July 9.

Since the 1980 election, parties that field at least six candidates under a recognised party symbol are eligible for airtime on free-to-air radio and television.

Independents and political parties fielding fewer than six candidates under the same recognised party symbol are not eligible for the PPBs. This means the People’s Power Party, Singapore Democratic Alliance, Singapore People’s Party and Red Dot United are not eligible to put out a PPB.

The broadcast of the party fielding the least number of candidates will be aired first, and vice versa. The amount of airtime allocated to each party is determined by the number of candidates it fields. The time allocation is:

Reform Party (six candidates): 2½ minutes

National Solidarity Party (10): 3 minutes

Peoples Voice (10): 3 minutes

Singapore Democratic Party (11): 3 minutes

Workers’ Party (21): 4½ minutes

Progress Singapore Party (24): 5 minutes

People’s Action Party (93): 13 minutes

Meanwhile, in between the two PPBs, Singaporeans will also be able to watch candidates speak in the constituency political broadcasts on Mediacorp’s Channel 5 from 7pm, from Friday to Wednesday.

CPBs are one-off arrangements to give parties and candidates more airtime to put their messages out to voters in view of the Covid-19 situation, which has meant that traditional election rallies, which typically attract thousands, are off the table.

Each candidate will get three minutes to speak, which means the broadcast for a single-member constituency (SMC) will last three minutes. That for a group representation constituency (GRC) will be 12 or 15 minutes, depending on whether it is a four- or five-member GRC, and regardless of how many candidates speak.

Candidates can choose to speak in any of the four official languages of English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil, said the Elections Department on June 24, which rules out dialects, which were sometimes used by candidates at previous election rallies.

The CPBs will be broadcast based on the alphabetical order of the constituency, and the broadcasts for each constituency will start with the incumbent, which means Aljunied GRC’s Workers’ Party slate will kick off the CPBs and Yuhua SMC’s Singapore Democratic Party candidate Robin Low will wrap things up.

Details of the PPBs and CPBs will be released on Mediacorp’s website.

Singapore GE2020: Get full election coverage on our dedicated site here.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Uphill battle but WP candidates are no pushovers, says Pritam

The election will be an uphill battle for the Workers’ Party (WP) but its candidates will prove that they are no pushovers, said party secretary-general Pritam Singh yesterday, after the party completed the nomination process for its 21 candidates.

Asked about his expectations for the general election, he said the party expects it to be difficult – with Covid-19 making campaigning even more challenging – and again raised the possibility of a clean sweep by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

“The WP is always up against an opponent which is much more well resourced, and which always fights hard in every election,” he said.

“So, obviously I want our candidates to do well and to fight equally hard.”

The WP is fielding 21 candidates in six constituencies for this general election.

It sprang no surprises on Nomination Day, having earlier announced the number of candidates and constituencies it was contesting.

It is contesting Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, where it is the incumbent, as well as East Coast, Marine Parade and Sengkang GRCs and Punggol West SMC.

The list of WP candidates includes several who are taking part in the election for the first time.

In Sengkang GRC, for example, three of its four candidates are new faces. Only lawyer He Tingru, 37, has stood for election previously, as part of the WP team contesting in Marine Parade GRC in 2015.

The other members of its Sengkang team are economist Jamus Lim, 44; equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33; and social activist Raeesah Khan, 26.

But Mr Singh, 43, said the party has full confidence in the younger candidates.

CHALLENGING SITUATION

It’s always an uphill battle but now, I think, in the situation of Covid-19, it will probably be more challenging for us. We have to devote resources not just on the ground, which is still the main thrust of our campaign, but also… on social media.

WORKERS’ PARTY CHIEF PRITAM SINGH

“I think they will do well for the Workers’ Party and I think they will prove to voters that they’re no pushovers,” he said.

“They will be prepared to fight for the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans, not just in Parliament, but in the constituency and in their town councils as well.”

During the interview in Hougang – which Mr Singh said was chosen as the venue because it was where the “new spirit of the Workers’ Party bloomed” – the WP chief said that restrictions on campaigning due to the coronavirus crisis will make this general election more difficult for opposition parties.

“It’s always an uphill battle but now, I think, in the situation of Covid-19, it will probably be more challenging for us,” he told reporters.

“We have to devote resources not just on the ground, which is still the main thrust of our campaign, but also… on social media.”

His comments came after the WP rolled out a number of slickly produced campaign videos on social media that introduced party members and highlighted its achievements in some of the constituencies where it is contesting the upcoming polls.

On the PAP’s move to field Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in East Coast GRC, Mr Singh said it is “an important signal that (they) are sending, that they take our challenge in East Coast very seriously”.

He added: “I would say we take their challenge equally seriously, and that’s why we’ve put together a strong slate of candidates in the East Coast team.”

Meanwhile, Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) Dennis Tan, 49, the party’s candidate for Hougang SMC, addressed the argument that the opposition did not need to fear a wipeout as the enhanced NCMP scheme guarantees at least 12 opposition MPs in Parliament.

The PAP’s Ms Indranee Rajah made this point on Monday during an interview, saying that NCMPs had the same voting rights as MPs.

While Mr Tan acknowledged that NCMPs have the same speaking rights as elected MPs, he said the NCMP scheme is not a solution for having a vibrant opposition.

“It will create a problem for all opposition party members. It will prevent us from sinking roots into the constituency, because… we are not allowed to hold events, for example.”

If people keep thinking that the NCMP scheme is a solution, he said, there is a strong chance that opposition parties will never be in sync with the constituencies.

Mr Tan added: “So one day, whether in the near or further future, if the PAP were to fail, if the PAP were to do very badly, how is another party going to take over as government?”

Last night, in a message to voters uploaded on its website, the opposition party said it was pro-Singapore – and was rational, responsible and respectable.

Signed by Mr Singh, it also stressed the value of having an opposition in Parliament. For example, it cited how the victory of the WP in the 2011 General Election forced PAP MPs and ministers to walk the ground more frequently.

Mr Singh added: “An elected opposition is necessary to keep the ruling party on its toes and to challenge the PAP for the betterment of Singapore.”

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Court of Appeal dismisses legal bid to postpone election

SINGAPORE – The Court of Appeal on Tuesday (June 30) dismissed a constitutional challenge seeking to postpone the election, brought by lawyer M. Ravi on behalf of his client Daniel De Costa.

Mr Ravi had argued that his client’s constitutional right to a “free and fair” election had been violated because of changes that have been made to the electoral process in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The court, comprising Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon and Judges of Appeal Andrew Phang and Judith Prakash, rejected his arguments without calling for Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair to respond.

De Costa was ordered to pay costs of $15,000 to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for the appeal, which was held on an expedited basis via video conference, after his case was first dismissed by the High Court on Monday evening (June 29).

De Costa had filed an application to the High Court on June 23, the same day that Parliament was dissolved, for the pending election to be postponed to a time when it is possible for everyone to vote.

He asked the court to prohibit the Returning Officer from proceeding with the election and to declare that “the right to free and fair elections is a fundamental right” under the Constitution.

Mr Ravi argued that changes to the electoral process under the Parliamentary Elections (Covid-19 Special Arrangements) Act, passed by Parliament in May, will deprive the electorate of a “free and fair” election.

In dismissing the appeal, the apex court said it was “evident that the appellant really had no case to mount” in connection with the right to vote.

“It is correct to say as a matter of principle that elections should be free and fair but it falls on the appellant to identify specific aspects of what this requires, how this attracts constitutional status and how a breach of this is threatened and on none of these were we presented with even an arguable case,” said the court.

Among other things, Mr Ravi had argued that more than 200,000 Singaporeans overseas may not be able to vote owing to travel restrictions.

“However, he was unable to identify the constitutional basis upon which it could be said that the Government had an obligation to provide a means for every Singaporean anywhere in the world to be able to cast their ballots,” said the court.

The court said De Costa’s lack of legal standing to bring the case was also a basis to dismiss the appeal.

For instance, while he raised the issue about the rights of voters overseas, De Costa himself is not overseas.

“He has not demonstrated that his right to vote is in any way affected,” said the court.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: WP's Pritam Singh says Covid-19 makes campaigning more challenging for the opposition

SINGAPORE – Restrictions on campaigning due to the coronavirus crisis will make this general election more difficult for opposition parties, Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh said on Tuesday (June 30).

“It’s always an uphill battle, but now I think in the situation of Covid-19, it will probably be more challenging for us,” he told reporters gathered in Hougang for the party’s first interview after Nomination Day.

“We have to devote resources not just on the ground, which is still the main thrust of our campaign but also… on social media.”

Mr Singh, 43, added that while the WP is up against an opponent who is more well-resourced, it will continue to fight hard in this election.

The WP is fielding 21 candidates in six constituencies for the July 10 general election.

These are Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, where the WP is incumbent, as well as East Coast, Marine Parade and Sengkang GRCs and Punggol West SMC.

Mr Singh said the PAP’s move to field Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in East Coast GRC was “an important signal that they take our challenge in East Coast very seriously”.

“I would say we take their challenge equally seriously and that’s why we’ve put together a strong slate of candidates in the East Coast team.”

A number of WP candidates are taking part in elections for the first time. In Sengkang GRC, for example, three of its four-men slate are new faces.

Only lawyer He Ting Ru, 37, had run for elections previously, as part of the WP team contesting Marine Parade GRC in 2015. The other members of its Sengkang team are economist Jamus Lim, 44, equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33, and social activist Raeesah Khan, 26.

Mr Singh said the party has full confidence in the younger candidates.

He said: “I think they will do well for the Workers’ Party and I think they will prove to voters that they’re no pushovers.”

He added: “They will be prepared to fight for the interests of Singapore and Singaporeans not just in Parliament but in the constituency, and in their town councils as well.”

Meanwhile, non-constituency MP (NCMP) Dennis Tan, 49, the party’s candidate for Hougang SMC, thanked voters in the constituency for supporting the WP.

He said: “I’ve always appreciated the Hougang voters’ understanding of the importance of having a strong authoritative voice in Parliament for 29 years.”

Hougang SMC, won by former WP chief Low Thia Khiang in 1991, is the longest-held opposition constituency in Singapore.

Mr Tan said he has learnt many things about the single-seat ward from his predecessors, Mr Low and Mr Png Eng Huat, the WP’s incumbent Hougang MP.

He added: “I look forward to serving them in Parliament and speaking up for them, the past five years in Parliament has given me more confidence.”

Mr Tan also addressed the argument that the opposition need not fear a wipe-out as the enhanced NCMP scheme guarantees at least 12 opposition MPs in Parliament.

The ruling People’s Action Party’s Indranee Rajah made this point on Monday during an interview, saying that NCMPs had the same voting rights as MPs.

Acknowledging that NCMPs have the same speaking rights as elected MPs, Mr Tan added: “But I think we Singaporeans must be very careful that they do not fall into this trap of thinking that NCMP is a solution for an alternative position.”

He said NCMPs may find it tough to sink their roots as opposition parties may not be allowed the same rights to use facilities and organise grassroots events.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: New opposition face Sivakumaran Chellappa to take on incumbent Lim Biow Chuan in Mountbatten

SINGAPORE – Peoples Voice (PV) candidate Sivakumaran Chellappa is contesting the single seat of Mountbatten against People’s Action Party incumbent Lim Biow Chuan, who has held the position for two terms since 2011.

They will be battling to win over 24,267 electors in the single-member constituency this year after having successfully submitted their nomination papers on Tuesday (June 30).

Mr Lim thanked Mountbatten residents for allowing him to be a part of their “family” for many years.

“This coming election is not just about electing an MP. It’s also about preparing for the future,” he said in his thank you speech. “Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainties in the lives of many of us. Let’s vote for someone who can prepare and look after your future. Please vote for the PAP. Please vote for me.”

Mr Lim, 57, entered politics in 2006 as part of the team in Marine Parade group representation constituency. He subsequently stood on his own in 2011 when Mountbatten was hived out as an SMC.

In the previous two elections, Mr Lim had faced off against opposition politician Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, who had stood as a candidate first with the National Solidarity Party, and then with the Singapore People’s Party.

At the 2015 General Election, Mr Lim had won 71.86 per cent (15,331) of the votes, while Ms Chong-Aruldoss took 28.14 per cent (6,004). She has since left politics.

Mr Chellappa, 57, an educator, submitted his nomination paper in what was a surprising move, as financial adviser and blogger Leong Sze Hian, 66, was expected to contest the SMC.

In his thank you speech, Mr Chellappa said: “People get to represent their interests through the members of parliament… let’s institute some changes today. Beyond Covid, there is a future for the country. Let’s vote for that too.”

Mr Leong, 66, has been making headlines as he is involved in a defamation suit brought against him by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, which is set to be heard in the High Court from July 6 to 10.

PM Lee had filed the suit over a post shared by Mr Leong on his Facebook page on Nov 7, 2018, which contained a link to an article by Malaysian news site The Coverage.

The article alleged that former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak had signed “secret deals” with PM Lee in exchange for Singapore banks’ help in laundering money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Three-cornered fight for Pioneer's single seat between PAP, PSP and independent

SINGAPORE – A three-cornered fight is set for Pioneer SMC, as the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and an independent candidate will challenge the ruling PAP for the seat.

Two-term People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Patrick Tay will face off PSP candidate Lim Cher Hong, 42, author and chartered financial consultant. It is Mr Lim’s first election and he was introduced by the party last week.

In a surprise twist, an independent candidate Mr Cheang Peng Wah, who declined to give his age or occupation, is also running for the single seat.

Another independent candidate, Victor Ronnie Lai, 65, turned up at the Pioneer Jurong Junior College nomination centre on Tuesday (June 30).

The retired financial accountant, who carried a bunch of sunflowers and a Singapore flag, could not get enough assentors to enter the centre and left after an hour of waiting.

Peoples Voice’s Gilbert Goh, 59, who runs a non-governmental organisation counselling unemployed Singaporeans, had originally planned to challenge for the Pioneer seat but changed his mind, saying he is “giving way” because PSP is there.

He opted to run instead at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC with his party against incumbents PAP and fellow opposition side Singapore Democratic Alliance.

Last week, National Solidarity Party (NSP), which has contested the Pioneer ward since 2011, dropped its plan to contest the seat after it came to an agreement with PSP.

PAP’s Mr Tay was previously the MP for the Boon Lay ward in West Coast GRC since 2015.

Before he took over, Pioneer SMC was helmed by Mr Cedric Foo for four terms, even after the single seat constituency was carved out of West Coast GRC in 2011.

In the 2015 general election, Mr Foo received a vote share of 76.34 per cent, beating NSP’s Elvin Ong 23.66 per cent.

There are 24,672 electors in Pioneer SMC, down slightly from the 2015 total of 25,458.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

GE2020: PAP to battle it out with Peoples Voice in Jalan Besar GRC

SINGAPORE – A Peoples Voice (PV) team led by party chief Lim Tean will contest Jalan Besar GRC, going against a refreshed PAP team led by Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

Mrs Teo’s team will include Mr Heng Chee How, 58, Ms Denise Phua, 59 and PAP new face Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42.

PV, which has carried out its outreach in the area largely under the radar, revealed its full slate for the GRC for the first time on Nomination Day (June 30).

The PV team includes blogger Leong Sze Hian, 66, Mr Nor Azlan Bin Sulaiman, 49, and Mr Michael Fang Amin, 43.

Mrs Teo, after spending three terms in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, will be taking over the Kreta Ayer – Kim Seng ward from five-term MP Lily Neo.

Polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal is replacing former communications and information minister Yaacob Ibrahim in Kolam Ayer. Both Dr Neo and Dr Yaacob are retiring from politics.

The People’s Action Party team, led by Dr Yaacob clinched 67.7 per cent of the votes against the Workers’ Party in the 2015 general elections.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Sengkang GRC set to be two-horse race between PAP and Workers' Party

SINGAPORE – The new Sengkang GRC will likely be the stage for a face-off between a PAP team led by labour chief Ng Chee Meng, and a Workers’ Party (WP) contingent that looks to be helmed by lawyer He Ting Ru.

Mr Ng’s team arrived at St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School – the nomination centre for Sengkang GRC – at about 10.15 am on Tuesday (June 30), which is Nomination Day.

There was no change to the slate which the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) had heavily hinted it would field in the four-member group representation constituency in the north-east of Singapore.

The PAP team seen at the nomination centre included Mr Ng, formerly an MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC; Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, and PAP new face Raymond Lye, a lawyer.

Meanwhile, the WP team arrived at about 10.40am. The WP, in line with its tradition of keeping its cards close to its chest, had not formally announced its line-up for Sengkang GRC.

But Ms He, 37, was seen entering the nomination centre with economist Jamus Lim, 44; equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33 and social activist Raeesah Khan, 26.

Of the four candidates likely to be fielded by the WP, three are new faces taking part in their first general election. Ms He had been part of the WP team contesting Marine Parade GRC in 2015.

Candidates from both parties arrived at the nomination centre in high spirits. They were accompanied by endorsers clad in their party colours – white for the PAP, and blue for the WP.

But while this is typical of nomination day during a general election, it was clear that GE2020 was taking place in unusual times.

Everyone wore a mask. Temperature screening was conducted before candidates and their endorsers could enter the nomination centre, and those who did were seen scanning the SafeEntry QR codes for contact tracing.

Entourages were considerably smaller, and party members were careful to stick to safe distancing guidelines.


(Clockwise from top left)The Workers’ Party Sengkang contingent consists of lawyer He Ting Ru, economist Jamus Lim, equity research analyst Louis Chua and social activist Raeesah Khan. PHOTOS: WORKERS’ PARTY

Pundits expect a close fight between the PAP and WP in Sengkang GRC, a newly-formed constituency that contains old WP stomping grounds.

Sengkang GRC was formed by taking the Sengkang Central ward from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and combining it with the single seat of Punggol East and part of Sengkang West SMC. It covers the Anchorvale, Compassvale and Rivervale neighbourhoods.

Both Punggol East and Sengkang West were contested by the opposition in previous general elections.

The PAP won Punggol East SMC by a slim margin in 2015. Party stalwart Charles Chong, with 51.76 per cent of the vote, took the single-member constituency from the WP’s Lee Li Lian that year. Ms Lee had previously won the SMC in a 2013 by-election.

Source: Read Full Article

Categories
Politics

Singapore GE2020: Overseas voters can vote in 10 cities, provisions for returning Singaporeans to vote

SINGAPORE – Singaporeans overseas who have registered as voters can vote at polling stations in 10 cities, the same 10 as in 2015: Beijing, Canberra, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington.

This time, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, overseas voting will take place subject to the approval of the authorities in the countries concerned.

The Elections Department (ELD) will also make arrangements for returning Singaporeans, who have to stay home for 14 days, to vote.

For those serving the stay-home notice at hotels, ELD will arrange for them to vote at the hotels.

For those serving the stay-home notice at home, ELD will make arrangements for them to vote “while minimising exposure to other voters, candidates and election officials”.

Details will be shared after Nomination Day.

The ELD said in a statement on Monday (June 29) that Returning Officer Tan Meng Dui arrived at this decision after consulting Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health.

On overseas voting in the 10 cities, all of which are places where a significant number of Singaporeans are present, the ELD said it is “working with the overseas polling stations to implement the necessary safety measures to ensure that voting is safe for our overseas voters and election officials”.

Details on the voting procedures will be sent to registered overseas voters after Nomination Day, it added.

Source: Read Full Article