Friday, July 24, 2020

GE2020 commentary: Assessing the voters’ message to PAP (and other parties)

By Eugene K B Tan

14 July, 2020

Despite the “crisis of a generation”, the 2020 general election results point to a considered flight from the status quo, rather than a flight to safety.

Singaporean voters, through their 2.54 million ballots cast, sent a nuanced message to all political parties and election candidates. It was a renewed, urgent expression of a vote for change, more so than in the 2011 election.

For the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), winning 83 out of 93 seats with a popular vote share of 61.24 per cent — while indicative of a “clear mandate” — fell short of the strong mandate it had sought. In losing an unprecedented second group representation constituency (GRC), it also lost three political office-holders in the process.

Many GRCs, including those helmed by the PAP fourth-generation (4G) ministers, also saw the ground shift significantly against them.

This raises questions whether the next generation leadership has truly earned the trust and confidence of Singaporeans. This could not come at a worse time for leadership succession.

Singapore’s economic slump may have bottomed out but job losses, wage cuts likely to continue: Economists

By Janice Lim

15 July, 2020

Singapore’s economy shrank 41.2 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first as the nation went into recession

Economists said that job losses and wage cuts are set to continue

The economic contraction in the second quarter is the most severe since the country's independence

SINGAPORE — The worst of Singapore’s economic contraction is probably over, but more job losses and wage cuts are to be expected, especially in the later part of 2020, economists said on Tuesday (July 14).


From a Washington Post newsletter:
A reporter approached Sen. Mitt Romney in the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon to ask: “Do you have confidence in the president’s handling of this crisis right now?”
“Which? There are so many crises going on,” replied Romney (R-Utah). “I’m not sure which.”
The 2012 GOP presidential nominee was not trying to be flip and lamented President Trump’s response to the novel coronavirus when the reporter clarified. But our nation faces cascading crises:
the worst civil unrest since 1968, the worst economic upheaval since 1933 and the worst public health emergency since 1918. This morning’s jobs report shows another 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the 18th straight week that more than a million Americans have filed claims.
Other ongoing crises get less attention because of the contagion, but that does not mean they have been solved.
There is an opioid crisis causing deaths of despair, the climate crisis that imperils the future of the planet, a looming sovereign debt crisis that most political leaders seem nonchalant about, rising great-power conflict with China, including a new space race, and fresh complications overnight in Afghanistan as America struggles to exit her longest war.

[And of course the biggest crisis is that there is an idiot in the White House.]

Monday, July 13, 2020

GE2020 commentary: What next for PAP and Singapore politics?

By Nicholas Fang

13 July, 2020

As the dust settles on Singapore’s 13th General Election, the time is ripe for some soul searching, not only by political parties as they evaluate the outcome of a bruising campaign, but also by the electorate.

The nine days of campaigning and the preceding months of posturing and positioning by the various parties have thrown up some interesting lessons which could be useful for politicians, particularly those from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), in light of the electoral results.

GE2020: Sengkang residents give reasons why they plumped for WP, including a better connection with its candidates

By DARYL CHOO, Lena Loke, Nabilah Awang

12 July, 2020

  • Residents gave a variety of reasons for PAP's loss, from perceptions of candidates to municipal issues
  • Most said that both teams had competent candidates, but they felt more connected to WP
  • Residents said that there was lack of neighbourhood provision shops and hawker centres in Sengkang
  • The housing estate is home to many young families who felt that the younger WP team could represent them
  • Residents also sang praises of Dr Jamus Lim, a new candidate of WP

SINGAPORE — In what seemed like a repeat of the 2011 General Election (GE), the Workers’ Party (WP) secured a victory at the polls on Friday (July 10) at Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to knock off a People’s Action Party (PAP) team consisting of three political office-holders.

Time to rethink one man, one vote?

Lawrence Loh
For The Straits Times

Jun 28, 2016
[Note the date of this news article. This was not a reaction to WP winning a second GRC.]

There are parallels between Brexit and Singapore after Separation in 1965, says one writer, while two others argue that Brexit points to failings of the one man, one vote system.

The Brexit shock took the world by storm. It is a perfect storm, definitely much more than the proverbial storm in a cup of English tea.

Almost everyone, everywhere - from political leaders to financial professionals to laymen, from the Americas to Singapore - are figuring out what the future will hold and what the impact will be for them. It is like a wake-up call that the unthinkable nightmare has actually happened.

Despite the hullabaloo on the bleak future of the once united Britain, the more fundamental issue is probably the time-honoured one man, one vote system.

Democracy, as enshrined by the right of determination by all, has been the dominant model globally for most modern countries' organisation and order.

The merit of the principle of equal voting rights for all is compelling. It respects the very sanctity of what it is to be human - to have a voice in how society is being ruled if you are part of it. This principle has even been weaved into diplomatic relations, especially in how the West is dealing with the rest of the world.

It is often taboo to question the one man, one vote system. To do so will risk having critics brandishing labels like elitism, imperialism or even authoritarianism.

GE2020: Low Thia Khiang's absence unlikely to significantly impact Workers' Party's chances, say analysts

By Kenneth Cheng

27 June, 2020

Ex-WP chief Low unlikely to remove himself completely from politics, say analysts

WP has nurtured younger leaders with extensive experience on the ground

Exit of WP’s ‘talisman’ may galvanise support for party

SINGAPORE — The absence of former Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang from the coming General Election (GE) is unlikely to have a significant impact on Singapore’s main opposition party’s chances, political analysts said.

This is because Mr Low, 63, is unlikely to pull back completely from the political arena and the party has nurtured a slate of battle-hardened younger leaders with deep connections to the grassroots, they added.

GE2020: Opposition vote swing shows people are looking beyond bread and butter issues, analysts say

By Aqil Haziq Mahmud

By Matthew Mohan 

12 Jul 2020

SINGAPORE: The vote swing towards opposition parties in this year’s General Election has shown that the electorate does not only care about bread and butter issues, political observers told CNA.

While the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) had built its campaign and manifesto around saving lives and jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, observers said the results mean some voters also prioritise issues like social justice and having diverse voices in Parliament.

The results also pointed to a more “discerning” electorate, analysts said, adding that the PAP will likely need to demonstrate it can listen to and act on these additional concerns to woo back some of its support.

Official results released after counting dragged into the early hours of Saturday saw the PAP’s vote share slide by close to nine percentage points from the previous election in 2015.

The PAP clinched 61.24 per cent of the vote in this year’s election, but the Workers’ Party (WP) made inroads into Parliament by claiming its second Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the polls held amid the COVID-19 pandemic.