If you are a Singaporean who no longer aligns yourself with PAP anymore, you would do well to pray that Singapore will have a by-election every quarter before General Elections 2016.
What this means is that you would have to pray very hard that there will be 12 more politicians who will have affairs.
Why do I say we need more by-elections?
- 9 January: PM Lee Hsien Loong called for a by-elections for the Punggol East constituency.
- 10 January: PAP announced their candidate for Punggol East – Koh Poh Koon.
- 11 January: The government announced, “significant new property cooling measures … (which) include size restrictions on executive condominiums, tighter loan-to-valuations and higher buyer stamp duty.”
- 12 January: Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean claimed to know that the “residents’ concerns are about issues related to day-to-day living and their surroundings such as transport.”
- 12 January: Koh started introducing himself to residents of Punggol East and said that, “I’m running my own race. My focus is really on my residents’ needs. That’s what being an MP is about – serving my residents.”
- 13 January: Koh unveiled his campaign message, “This is me. I am me.” He also claimed that he wasn’t trying to garner “sympathy votes,” by talking about his “kampong boy childhood as the son of a bus driver”, even as the people in Punggol East do not live in kampongs.
- 14 January: Worker’s Party unveiled their candidate Ms Lee Li Lian, so PAP sat out on this one. Even then, on separate news, it was reported how Madam Halimah Yacob was “elected” as the Speaker of Parliament, as the mainstream media covered news of the other MPs showering praise on her, and thanking Michael Palmer for being a respectable Speaker of Parliament previously. Any links?
- 15 January: PAP sat out again as SDA unveiled their candidate Desmond Lim and and SDA announced that they will not be contesting the by-elections.
- 16 January: It was confirmed that candidates from PAP, RP, SDA and WP will be contesting in the Punggol East constituency. PAP then turned on their machinery once again. Koh said, “”My supporters of Punggol East, let us work together… to make a better Punggol East.” Koh also said that he would, “Listen more, empathise more, and interact more.” DPM Teo chimed in to say, “I expect that it will be a close fight… what we need to do is to go out and reach out to as many residents as possible … Over the next few days, (Koh) will reach out to as many as he can. He’s a down to earth, sincere person… who can make their lives better, and Punggol East better.”
- 17 January: The government announced “a slew of new rail transit projects which will be completed by 2030. By then, Singapore’s metro network will increase to 360km, from 178km today.”
According to The Online Citizen, the two top national issues that concern the residents of Punggol East are public transportation reliability and affordability, and affordable housing. According to the Today newspaper on 16 January, “residents also hope to have more public transportation options, especially connections to other parts of the island, including the Central Business District. As it is, the trains and buses are packed during peak hours.” On the next day, the government introduced new rail transit projects.
In all, can you see the well-oiled publicity machinery that PAP was churning out?
PAP had timed the announcement for the by-elections, the day right after PM Lee said MND will conduct a review of the Town Councils (after the Aim saga). PAP had hoped to ride on the expectant ‘high’ that would hopefully come from appeasing the swing voters with the review of the Town Councils – hopefully this will retain the swing voters to vote for PAP, before the effects dissipate.
PAP wanted Koh to emphasise how he is “running my own race”, how “This is me. I am me.” They also tried to shape him as someone who is willing to, “Listen more, empathise more, and interact more” and that, “He’s a down to earth, sincere person.” Why does PAP go through all that effort to reduce the association between PAP and Koh? They know that the PAP no longer have a good reputation, so they do not want people to think that Koh is an underling of PAP. This is a similar tactic that they had used for Tony Tan for the presidential elections in 2011. What was the outcome? At the same time, by delinking Koh from PAP, they hope that they can then play up on how he is more willing (than PAP is) to “listen” and to “empathise”. Will this work? Will the residents of Punggol East be had?
Finally, and most importantly, why is the by-elections so important? Two days after PM Lee announced the dates for the by-elections, they announced new property cooling measures. A day after nomination, they announced new rail transit projects. Could there be more announcement(s) coming up before polling day on 26 January 2013? You bet. Housing and transportation are two of the top-most issues on Singaporeans’ minds and these two areas are also where increase in prices have been felt more significantly over the past few years. Within a span of a few days, the government announced major steps to tackle these issues. Why? Because the by-elections are here?
If not for the by-elections, would the government has so speedily announced these new initiatives? Would the government has responded to Singaporeans?
Imagine if we have a by-elections every quarter for the next 3 years before General Elections 2016. If everytime a by-elections come around, the government decides to coincide the announcement of new initiatives to address Singaporeans’ concerns, by GE 2016, the increase of our cost of living would have abated, real wages would have rose and increase in prices of goods would have subsided and we would have a more equal society. Good, right?
So, all you can hope now is more of our politicians have affairs.