The PAP has this strategy of having each GRC helmed by a minister. The idea is make people fearful of "losing a minister" if they vote against the PAP in a GRC. The PAP then puts newcomers in a GRC who get into parliament on the coat-tails exploiting this fear among voters. Yesterday, PM Lee again played up this fear by saying voters "would have to live with the consequence" of voting for the opposition. So is it really that disastrous if a minister is voted out? We have a very expensive civil service which has highly paid permanent secretaries for each ministry and they are further supported by an also very expensive Admin Service. We have seen ministers without any prior experience, say Liu Tuck Yew who was from the navy, move around and head various ministries. This is possible because there is whole civil service infrastructure in place to support decision making. But suppose you're still not convinced and believe the minister to be a "super-being" without whom his ministry will collapse and all those civil servants don't know what to do unless he is around, just rehire him as "mentor permanent secretary" after he loses.
It is really strange how PAP can create this myth that a running small country like Singapore is almost like 10 times more complex than running the USA or UK and people believe them. You see the opposition in other countries, say in UK, taking over after a decade long absence without much problem.
The other favorite fear mongered during Singapore elections is that of a "freak" result. We see the PAP talking about this during every election. The only thing I find "freakish" about our election results is more than one third of Singaporeans vote against the PAP and this one-third is represented by only 2% of the members in parliament - no thanks to the GRC system. The PAP likes to paint a scenario like this[Link] : people actually want the PAP to remain the govt but somehow vote opposition in such large numbers that they become the majority in parliament. If people vote for the opposition in large numbers, it is most likely these people want the PAP to go. If the unlikely outcome of PAP losing the election occurs, it is more due to their tinkering of the election system in the past decades. Their "methods" of winning elections - use of propaganda, upgrading pork barrel and GRCs + gerrymandering - have an outside chance of backfiring badly on them. The PAP has become dependent on propaganda style of disseminating information which often results in oversimplication and one-sided arguments that many, especially the newer generation, find deceptive and this is being rendered useless by the Internet. Increasing number of people now view their upgrading pork barrel tactics negatively and as something unfair and undemocratic. GRCs and gerrymandering with the electoral boundaries to spread out supporters in a way to gain as many seats as possible and spread the margin of safety. However, if there is an unforeseen swing in votes they will be hit badly losing more seats than if they had more concentration of support within a stronger GRC.
It is not expected for the PAP to lose this elections - despite what they have done in recent years, they still enjoy the goodwill from the 70s right up to early 90s. Reminds me of the Japanese LDP govt that went on and on for years long after they were bad enough to be thrown out. If the remote (I would say negligible) possibility of the PAP losing this elections occur, it will be because of their policies and tactics which have lost them many supporters in the last few years not due to voters making a "freakish" mistake of voting opposition when they really want the PAP.
The outcome most Singaporeans want in this elections is a more balanced 1st world parliament. They want more balanced policies and know they cannot get that with a parliament dominated by the PAP. Once the nomination is done and campaigning begins, it will become very clear where the "hot seats" are and it is a matter of Singaporeans overcoming their own fears to get what they want for the long term good for Singapore, a better future for themselves and their families. This elections, even die-hard PAP supporters have to agree (unless they are unreasonable people) that the opposition has very good highly qualified people who can contribute. If these people don't win due to what many see as unfair PAP tactics, frustration with the PAP is going to mount further polarising the large segment of the population (now >33%) that don't support the PAP and that is actually not good for the PAP. There are genuine philosophical and ideological difference among the citizens. PAP policies don't benefit everyone and I would argue that in recent years they don't even benefit the majority. This country has to start changing direction soon or it will have to do so in a more abrupt manner in the future. I think in 2006, voters gave the PAP a chance to remake itself under a new PM. However, to their disappointment, the PAP appeared to have remade itself in the wrong direction - unbalanced policies like foreign talent policy became even more unbalanced, income gap got bigger, GST was hiked, minister pay increased and expensive public housing became more expensive. The PAP spent the last 4+ years demonstrating to the people the need for a strong opposition in parliament! ..and I believe this is what they are going to get in the coming election.
PM Lee: No by-election if PAP loses a GRC
By Rachel Chang
IF A GRC is lost at the May 7
General Election - and a Minister along with it - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
does not plan to call a by-election to try and get him elected and back into
government, he told the Lianhe Zaobao Chinese daily.
'Elections are a serious thing,' he said in an interview published on Tuesday 'The voters have
decided, and we will accept the voters' decision.'
He added that voters, too, would have to live with the consequences of their choice to turf a Minister
'There are no safety nets in real life. So it's best not to take