Fixing a problem that doesn’t exist

Why does this government have so much time on their hands to solve non-existent problems? When was the last time we had anything close to a riot on Polling Day? Not that I know of in the last 50 years. But perhaps our far-sighted government is preparing for a “freak event”.

When I first read the lead story in TODAY this morning, I thought to myself, “Oh no here they go again.”

True enough, the “proposal” (read: decision) by PM Lee to allocate a day before Polling Day as a “cooling-off period” had all the characteristics of a typical PAP election engineering hit job: Conjure up a problem that doesn’t exist, come up with some pleasant sounding proposal to “solve it”, play on the fears of Singaporeans, and then fix the Opposition while making it sound like it is fair and square because “the same rules apply to everyone”.

PM Lee said that, in addition to Polling Day, the day before will also be a campaign-free day — no campaigning except of course “news reporting” by the state-controlled media duopoly.

We all know what “news reporting” our mainstream media is capable of during the election period. They “factually” blanket the headlines with the ruling party’s smear campaigns against designated opposition candidates, quoting the esteemed caretaker ministers verbatim as if they were proclaiming oracles from heaven. But when 100,000 people show up at an opposition election rally, they leave it to newspapers across the Causeway to publish the photo and file the report.

PM Lee wants voters to “reflect rationally on issues and arguments” before voting. How nice to know I will have one extra day to clear my mind of the nonsense that opposition candidates were sprouting the previous nine days, and for one full day reflect on the rational and objective rebuttals by the government (but not the PAP, *wink, wink*) disguised as news the day before Polling Day.

Of course, PM Lee has the safety and security of Singaporeans at heart. He recalled occasions of “pushing and shoving at election rallies”, explaining why we must have a longer cooling-off period AFTER those rallies. It makes perfect sense: Tomorrow is cooling-off day, so I won’t shove you today.

When I get on the train in the evenings after work, I often encounter a lot of pushing and shoving. Maybe we should designate every other day as cooling-off days. That way commuters will reason that tomorrow is “cool”, so no need to push today.

I feel honoured that PM thought it necessary to make special mention of bloggers, especially those who have the habit of “putting things up” in their own name. How nice to know that I will be relieved of the responsibility of blogging about issues affecting our lives before Polling Day!

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Why does this government have so much time on their hands to solve non-existent problems? When was the last time we had anything close to a riot on Polling Day? Not that I know of in the last 50 years. But perhaps our far-sighted government is preparing for a “freak event”.

You see, we can’t build “huge canals” to prevent our cars from turning into submarines during heavy downpours, but we must change the Constitution to make our already-quiet elections even quieter.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

15 thoughts on “Fixing a problem that doesn’t exist”

  1. Akan datang: CCTVs installed at polling stations similar to those at Speakers’ Corner….”to complement police presence on the ground and to project a greater sense of security”

  2. “… the “proposal” (read: decision) by PM Lee to allocate a day before Polling Day as a “cooling-off period” had all the characteristics of a typical PAP election engineering hit job: Conjure up a problem that doesn’t exist …”

    Bravo. Good call.

  3. I love the idea of a cooling-off every other day because YES you are abso-friggin-lutely right about the pushing and shoving going on everyday on our MRT trains at peak hrs.

  4. By any standards, our elections are already so tame. So when PAP wants to implement a cooling-off day, they are really making a mockery of the whole system.

    What is there to cool off in the first place, may I ask and why can’t we just get it done and over with ?

  5. I think LHL has something up his sleeves. This must have been discussed with his father.

    He is going to amend our Constitution again, using this “extra one day for cooling off” as an excuse.

    I foresee that under this coming Constitutional Amendment, he would insert unsuspecting little clauses here or there so that the courts can have the power to fault the Opposition just in case there is a “freak” election result.

    If Opposition parties, or their leaders and affiliates, were to make a mistake of posting something on their blogs (or websites) just after midnight on the last day of campaigning, they can be charged for violating the Constitution, and therefore their winning votes would be null and void; or they can even be put in prison or fined more than a certain amount so that they would have to be disqualified as a MP, just like what had happened to the late JBJ before.

    I see this as a very cunning and deadly move.

    Singaporeans must wake up. The faster the better. Vote out dirty politicians in white sheep skins.

    Vote out the pretentious bastxxds!

  6. Have you ever wonder why the electoral boundary keep changing??
    Voting cards come with numbers and you are directed to queue up according to the specific line and cast your voting sheet into specific box.

    The statistic is digested after the election and they know which block of HDB flats support the oppositions. Yes, they know down to the specific block. So NO UPGRADING FOR YOU!! BAD DOG!! HAHA!

    To make sure there will not be a FREAK result, they keep manipulating the boundary to make sure they keep the majority….and stay in power.
    Try not to follow the direction and exercise your right to put your voting card into any box you fancy and watch what happen…

    Oppositions wont get better if we don’t give them a chance.
    The change we need must start with us…each of us.
    To mature as a nation we need to have different voices, opinions. We can do with less GODs running every area of our lives.

    So when the times come…will we vote because of the upgrading coming our way??

    ……we surely deserve whatever government we elect!!

  7. SoreEyes – I think Hougang and Potong Pasir voters have already demonstrated that pork barrel upgrading does not win seats, and the PAP has learned their lesson. I believe that the votes are secret. There is no need to spread unnecessary fear about a lack of voting secrecy. It benefits no one but the PAP.

  8. My vote is not a secret! I will NOT vote for PAP. I can give you 50 reasons

    1. I want to buy a house without paying a Cash-Over-Value of $100,000

    2. I don’t want to be accused of being fussy if I don’t want to live on the first floor or basement bomb shelter, or ulu ulu places like Kusu Island

    3. I don’t want keep hearing that flats are “affordable” when I really cannot afford flats.

    4. I don’t want to see foreigners flood our condos, HDB estates, MRT trains, buses, schools, EVERYWHERE

    5. I don’t want to know about how ministers are getting lots of landed and prime property both local and overseas when I have trouble getting a 3-room flat.

    6. I don’t want ministers who get multi-million dollar salaries when I do odd jobs and some months I don’t make more than $2,000.

    Ministers in other countries may take bribes and embezzle. My ministers are smarter, they get more money claiming more MILLIONS in salary LEGALLY.

    7. I don’t want to pay ERP just because foreigners’ cars are clogging my roads. Especially, when ERP do not solve congestion problems!!! We still have terrible traffic jams!

    8. I don’t want to do NS and reservist to protect my country against foreign invaders when:
    (A) I don’t have a house to protect
    (B) I cannot afford to start a family to protect
    (C) I have to protect foreigners and their property with my life when they run away during war.
    (D) Foreigner PRs do not have to serve
    (E) I get paid worse than a Bangala worker. To think that National Service needed people donation’s in 1967, after a year, it gathered S$ 3 million from Singaporeans when we were all so poor.

    9. I do not want to see PRs and New citizens flashing their blue and pink ICs on their national days.

    10. I do not want to see the shamelessness of importing foreign athletes and claims that Singapore won when a foreigner won. Oh yes, we pay these foreigners millions of dollars so that Singapore can claim that it won. WOW!

    11. I do not want to hear jeering against the SG local soccer teams from foreigner spectators when we play against other countries IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!

    12. I don’t want to pay 7% more for everything I buy in my whole life when the government gives my $200 in “compensation” handouts!

    13. I want to see a local student being the top student. Not some China kid. Not hearing from ours kids that there is no point to work hard as some foreigner is going to squeeze them down inevitably.

    14. When there is public curiosity, I expect my government (especially Law minister) to be transparent enough let us know about Temasek and HDB cost to build a flat, etc.

    15. I want my country to be known as a COUNTRY. My country is NOT just a city like some idiot claims.

    16. I don’t want LHL’s son to be the next succeeding prime minister.

    17. I don’t like how China suckered us in the Suzhou park initiative and we still have to kiss their assess.

    18. I cannot understand why local siblings cannot buy flats when foreigner PR siblings can buy flats.

    19. Singles are not allowed to buy flats before 35? Are singles supposed to be forced into marriage just because of this? By the time singles reach 35, the flat prices will be higher by $100,000 to $300,000. These singles worked very hard to scrimp and save only to see savings ERODED away by inflation!

    20. I do not want to read the paper when it is pro-PAP and there is major censorship and selective publishing and late publishing for what cannot be hidden.

    21. I don’t want my life-savings to be belittled as the salt on the “peanuts”.

    22. I don’t like it when my country’s reserves lost tens of billions of dollars and the PM’s wife can still head Temasek!

    23. I want important national assets key to our security like power stations to BELONG to our country, not sold to foreigners.

    24. I like to add hum to my mee siam by the way.

    25. I want a president who actually DOES more. Not one which who I seek shakes hands, seldom speaks, does not even pardon and spare a 19-year-old kid his life. Not a president who kids confuse with Mas Selamat (Many kids who know Mas Selamat do not EVEN know Nathan)

    26. I don’t want to have my next national day parade at the silly riverside place….AGAIN! How long does it take to make a stadium? We are a country but we don’t even have a national stadium?? How about loaning Malaysia’s Merdeka Stadium for Singapore’s National day?

    27. I want job security. A contract for 1 or 2 years, Then look for work again. The cycle repeats. We have to worry for our jobs and livelihoods on a daily basis. When we are over 40 years old, who want us anymore? I might as well join the army as sign on. But wait, that is contract TOO!

    28. I don’t want the next generation to suffer like me in university. I had to work part-time to support my uni fees in NUS, while foreign students get free uni education thanks to MOE PLUS $500 allowance every month. After that, NUS still has the cheek to call me up and ask me to donate to NUS. Why they need money? They lost hundreds of millions of endowment in the financial crisis. I can still remember working and saving for 3 months before I could afford a 2nd hand laptop.

    29. I want to protest in the streets to voice my discontent without being put to jail by the ISA act or made bankrupt. For goodness sake, I don’t even dare to accept Singtel’s offer of giving me free 6 months internet if I switch from Starhub to Singtel, because I am scared that my IP address and my name will be blacklisted by the government. (considering Singtel’s afflictions with the govt)

    30. I want an opposition party in power. Any opposition is welcome. As educated and smart as my current and soon-to-be-ex ministers may be, I want people who CARE and LISTEN. Even if it is a guy who had graduated from kindergarten would be welcomed if he cares.

    31. Elites who have been born with a silver spoon, who never had trouble finding a job, who never had money difficulties, who never went hungry, who breezed through NS, do NOT deserve my respect nor should they be in the government. We need people who UNDERSTAND what it is like at the pits and bottom! Not some shortie who claims to understand hardship with a childhood living in 3-room flat but marries an angmoh and lives in a landed mansion.

    32. I want a better electoral system! I don’t want WALK-OVERs again. Some of the seniors did not even get to vote ONCE in their whole lives. How is that democracy?

    33. I want fairness. Is it a coincidence that certain estates under certain members of our government are especially well-cared for with upgrading etc incentives? Is this fair? Are residents of areas under the opposition similarly cared for? I quote a resident from Potong Pasir “the lifts here are so old and I can’t climb the flight of stairs to reach my place anymore.” I supposed the 60 year old aunty would be forced to vote for PAP to get new lifts.

    34. I want a limit to the number of years the PM can hold office, so that as bad and as lousy as the PM is, we can at least have a chance to start afresh.

    35. I want small quotas/ratios legislated for foreigners.

    36. I want foreigners to be restricted to less than 20% of our population instead of 36%.

    37. Horsie actually said that foreigner PRs were under-represented in HDB flats. Pah! No more than 2 flats in a block should be sold to PRs! Otherwise, how can the many old uncles and aunties have pocket money for retirement by renting out flats?

    38. I want their CPF contribution percent to be much higher and that their CPF to be forfeited if they leave SG.

    39. I want higher income taxes and property taxes for foreigners.

    40. I want NS for foreigners.

    41. Foreigners who bought HDB flats cannot be allowed to rent their flat out EVER!

    42. I want the SGD to be moderated downwards! A higher SGD may benefit those who can afford to holiday overseas, those who are rich enough to send kids to overseas for studies, or PRs and foreigners when they remit money home. BUT overly high SGD deters investments into Singapore.

    43. I want curbs on inflation. To that effect, we need to install restrictions on property speculation, raise reserve ratios in banks, and have more stringent criteria before loans are issued. AND OF COURSE, GST lower back to 3%

    44. When foreign talent enters my country. I want these people to be REALLY foreign talent. I don’t want my country’s pink IC and PR to be handed out like toilet paper.

    45. I want more heavily subsidized birth-delivery, child-care, pediatric health and education care to boost local numbers. If S.Korea can do it, why not us? The practice of replacement diminishing local numbers with foreigner number MUST STOP.

    46. Instead of always saying Singapore does not have enough talent, will the government spend more money and effort in education and grooming the young? Every time they say that there is not enough of certain type of people, the government will import these people in masses and hordes.

    47. I expect government-affiliated institutions to not indulge themselves with luxuries when other citizens have bread-butter problems:

    When NTUC income unilaterally announced major cuts in its bonus for insurance-policy-holders, the MAS allowed this to happen. NTUC income claimed financial woes, but took HUNDREDS of agents to Australia for an exorbitant expense-paid holiday as they made the announcement earlier this year!!! Do they think about the widows and orphans when they dine fine with wine???

    At first I could not believe NTUC Income to be capable of this, then I checked on the web and saw the NTUC CEO hugging 2 BIKINI girls and drinking champagne in Australia too.


    48. I expect the MAS to protect citizens financially too:

    When thousands of investors lost their life savings in the mini-bond fiasco, where was the government?? Unlike the Hong Kong government which had exerted pressure on its local banks to compensate a minimum sum to its minibond holders, the Singapore authorities chose to stay out of the matter….. MM Lee Kuan Yew even chided Singapore investors for “walking in with their eyes open” and therefore did not deserve a compensation. (quote from Temasek Review 1st Dec)

    49. I have 1 more issue with the state Media Press. HOW can they publish photos of people suspected of crimes when they have not EVEN been convicted?? Imagine the tarnishing to the poor suspect’s reputation if he were innocent! It is not as if the guy can sue ST and get $400,000 in defamation compensation.

    50. Anyone can give the 50th reason??????????????? Come on my fellow locals. If I can say so much, you can at least say something! Few thousand people viewing this article and so little comments???

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