5/17/2006 02:37:00 PM
8 reasons why Singapore is not democratic
"Now I LEE KUAN YEW Prime Minister of Singapore, DO HEREBY PROCLAIM AND DECLARE on behalf of the people and the Government of Singapore that as from today the ninth day of August in the year one thousand nine hundred and sixty-five Singapore shall be forever a sovereign democratic and independent nation, founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society. "
Even being a sovereign, democratic and independent nation is part of our nation's principles and founding fathers' vision and goals.
So why despite 40 years of nation building and independence, is Singapore lagging so far behind in democracy??
The author seeks to find out the underlying factors that contributed to such a lowly performance by democractic Singapore.1. The way our ministers are being elected into parliament through the Group Representation Constituencies(GRC).
2. The government's control on the local media and press.
3. A dominant one-party presence in parliament.
4. The failure of the weak opposition to give the citizens of Singapore a more viable choice other than the ruling PAP government.
5. The continued mentality among Singaporeans that MM Lee is still helming the affairs of the state.
6. A lack of a national self-identity among young Singaporeans.
7. Singaporeans are more interested with their livelihood than working towards a truly democratic nation.
8. The lack of a vibrant and youthful political environment in schools and educational institutions to promote the exchange of ideas.WARNING: Unless all the obstacles are removed and eradicated, Singapore will always be a successful 1st world nation without a proper spirit and soul.
5/13/2006 10:30:00 PM
Disappearance of Aljunied GRC ? ?
After the loss of Aljunied GRC to the PAP team led by Foreign Minister George Yeo, Miss Sylvia Lim, party chairman of the Workers' Party declared, "We will be back."
The question is: Will the Workers' Party even have a chance to come back to contest Aljunied GRC in 5 years time?
If one were to notice, every GRC that encountered a close fight between the opposition and the ruling PAP government, suffered the same fate of being craved up; Braddell Heights in 1981, Eunos in 1988 and Cheng San in 1997 all but disappeared from the face of the electoral map.What about Aljunied 2006? What will Aljunied GRC 's fate be?
The author thus present the following argument forward:The practice of continually moving the goalpost around is an indication to the public that the PAP is shying away from healthy and much needed competition posed by an increasingly credible opposition and this sharply contrast with the PAP's claim of being a 1st World government.
In this case, if the PAP is a 1st World government, as what they potrayed themselves to be, the author would like to urge the PAP to keep the current electoral map intact. This is for two purposes:
1. To ensure a level playing field for all parties concerned.
2. To allow the voters in the constituency to judge for themselves as to whether the PAP or the WP have done a better job over the last 5 years.
By having stability in the current GRC system, it meant that the current political parties can start preparing for the next general election, and not worry about last minute changes to their party tactics and strategies. For example, at the last election, in terms of resources and party strategies, the Workers' Party was caught off guard by the sudden inclusion of serangoon gardens into Ajunied GRC at the last election.
If the PAP have done what they are supposed to over a period of 5 years, they have nothing to fear. The electorate, which is increasingly educated and street-smart will reward the party who have been consistently at work in their respective wards, by giving them their all important vote.
In the case of Chua Chu Kang and Nee Soon East, where there is a relatively strong opposition presence in the form of seasoned politicians like Steve Chia and Dr Poh Lee Guan, did the PAP lose their seat even though there were no boundary changes to both single member constituency?
The answer is NO ! On the contrary, both Mr Gan Kim Yong and Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee coasted to victories with 60.4% ad 68.7% of the valid votes respectively.
So why is the PAP fearful and consistently re-shaping the electoral map time and again? (All the talk about population shifts being the catalyst for the repeated changes in the arrangement of the electoral boundaries is flawed and doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.)
From the above discussion, it can be seen that the author sees no basis for the PAP government to keep shifting and bending the rules to fit their agendas. Being a 1st world government, allowing for fair and honest play should be one of their top priority for them. By constantly resorting to changing the electoral map just goes to show how 1st world our ruling government actually is. The PAP has always been synonymous with the tag of being a clean, fair, honest, efficient and popular instiution. In this case, the author would like to put this to the ruling PAP government: Live up to what you stand for, stand up and face the competition head on.
P.S. This appeal is in no sense an endorsement by the author of the current GRC system. The author still believes in the abolition of the current GRC system and the subsequently establishment of Single-Member Wards
5/09/2006 07:09:00 PM
NO TO NCMP !
To the Workers' Party,The author would like to urge the Workers' Party not to appoint any candidates from the defeated Aljunied GRC team to assume the post of NCMP.
Though the Workers' Party Aljunied GRC team was the highest loser in the 2006 General Elections, the author believed the Workers' Party should and must uphold their stand which was stated down very clearly in their manifesto; You Have a Choice.
This is what was stated down very clearly in the manifesto:
1. Parliament shall consist only of members elected by the people in free and fair elections. Parliament is a representative microcosm of Singapore society by way of gender, race and religion.
2. The office of Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) should be abolished. No one should be allowed to vote on legislation without any mandate from the people.
Thus, in this case, neither Goh Meng Seng, James Gomez, Sylvia Lim, Mohd Rahizan Yaacob or Tan Wui-Hua should accept the post of the next NCMP.
During the election period, the Workers' Party campaigned on the platform of accountability, a 1st World opposition and choice. By nominating any of the losing candidate in the Aljunied GRC team, it raises questions about the accountability and sincerity of the manifesto, which constitues a large part of its views, ideas and opinions. This give little credibility to the party in its claim towards striving to become a 1st World opposition.
The system of a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament(NCMP) is an attempt by the ruling PAP government to create a mirage in the eyes of Singaporeans that it welcomes and support opposition views in parliament. This system was created artifically to account for the lack of opposition MPs in parliament.
The Workers' Party realised the flaws within this system and had strongly voice this out in its manifesto. Thus, by partipating in the defective system, it is an open endorsement of the policy of the government, which goes against its initial stand. That is wrong !
Do not misplace the trust that Singaporeans had in the Workers' Party. They are the sole reason for the 13.6% increase in support for the party in the 2006 GE.
Once again, the author recommend that the Workers' Party decline the invitation of the elections department to name a NCMP for the next parliament. The credibility and image of the Workers' Party and the opposition in general is on the line !
5/07/2006 06:09:00 PM
That sucide squad that survives !
At one end is the PAP team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and comprising of Inderjit Singh, Balaji Sadasivan, Wee Siew Kim, Lam Pin Min and Lee Bee Wah.
At the other corner, 6 young candidates from the Workers's Party were busily submitting their own death sentences. These 6 kamikazas are Yaw Shin Leong, Glenda Han, Abdul Salim, Melvin Tan, Gopal Krishnan, Lee Wai Leng with an average age of 32.5.
This was the shake-up for Ang Mo Kio on Nomination Day on 27 April. The PAP team was expected to romp to an overwhelming victory over the upstarts from the WP.
However, when the polling results for Ang Mo Kio GRC were announced yesterday, the PM could very well had a shock of his political career. The PAP team led by PM Lee Hsien Loong only managed to poll 66.1% of the 146,059 valid votes casts. These meant that a substantial number of votes comprising 49, 468 of the valid votes went to the WP. The author deems this result as a coup for the Workers' Party. It worth noting that the PM's support of 66.1% at Ang Mo Kio is even lower than the national average of 66.6% of the valid votes cast.What was more shocking was the fact that despite a complete media blanket on the entire WP team contesting Ang Mo Kio GRC during the 9 days of campagning, the WP team could still polled in 33.9% of the total valid votes.
According to the PM, the percentages really reflect the logo of the WP more than the individuals. That was his reason why the 6 upstarts from the WP did so well.
Is that really the case?
The fact remains, 1 in 3 constituents and residents in Ang Mo Kio voiced themselves out in a loud and clear mannner, that the PAP have not done enough to make the life of Singaporeans better.
This is significant !
Moreover, the suicide team from the WP achieved what it had set out to do in the first place.
1. To allow the 6 candidates to gain the experience and exposure.
2. To allow the former residents of Cheng San GRC to have a chance to vote since 1997.
3. To make sure that PM Lee is not a Walkover Prime Minister.In a nutshell, it can be concluded that the WP team achieved not only its initial objectives but achieved even much more. The long-term branding, attention and publicity the WP is getting from this coup far exceed the impact of the actual results itself. This would only serve to attract more people to join its ranks, thus aiding in its renewal process. This in turn meant that at the next election in 2011, the WP could even be able to put up even more impressive, credible candidates; candidates who are more than qualified academically, sincere, passionate, honest and have the interests of Singaporeans at heart.
In this case, Singapore politics stand to be the biggest winner.
The author urge the PAP government to look at this result in Ang Mo Kio GRC seriously. This result could very well meant something inherently wrong with the PAP adminstration in the eye of Singaporeans; in its vision, aspirations for Singapore, and its support rate among the all Singaporeans, especially the young voters.
Is this the first serious sign of the lid of a boiling cauldron of disatisfaction with the PAP government opening up? All in all, Kudos to the Workers' Party ! Their share of the valid votes increased 13.6% from the last election.
5/07/2006 05:33:00 PM
First hand Polling Results : Part 2
The above article is adapted from e pur si muove. Kudos to the author of this partcular weblog for his effort !In fact, i did fairly well for the prediction part. I thought i screwed it all up.
May 6, 2006
Blog Pundits and the 2006 Singapore General Elections
The elections are over, the results tallied, every last ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ dashed.
Surely every blogger’s burning question is, now, how well did the Singapore blogosphere do on the predictions front?
Since I promised to stay away until the elections were over, I will now contribute my little bit by attempting to answer the previous question. I ran some searches on Google, Technorati, and within my own blogroll and uncovered five blogs which publicly announced their predictions for the elections. After a little number-crunching (explained in full detail at the end), here are some concrete numbers.
Everyone loves a graph, so here is a graph summarizing my data set:
Analyses and details follow.
Rankings of Blog predictions
sgelection06.djourne.net (96.0% accuracy)
sembawang-voter.blogspot.com (92.0% accuracy) conformityisdead.blogspot.com (90.3% accuracy)
singaporegovt.blogspot.com (87.8% accuracy)
sha0x.blogspot.com (86.0% accuracy)
Everyone in Singapore loves rankings, so here are my rankings for blog pundit accuracy. Congratulations to the crew at Singapore, Ink. for the most accurate (if most incomplete) elections predictions!
Again, I’m sure I missed out other blogs. Feel free to let me know if you know of any.
Top 3 least accurately predicted wards
Sembawang (22.2% rms deviation)
Macpherson (20.3% rms deviation)
Potong Pasir (20.1% rms deviation)
Unsurprisingly, this correlates well with highly-contested districts with strong opposition presence. I don’t quite understand Macpherson, though. Did I miss something happening here?
Top 3 most accurately predicted wards
Choa Chu Kang (6.1% rms deviation)
Jalan Besar (8.2% rms deviation)
Aljunied (9.8% rms deviation)
Can I take the contrapostive of the previous statement and therefore say that these must therefore be the most boring districts? Surely not; Aljunied seemed to have been a big campaigning hotspot. Maybe what this means is that the results of campaigning in these districts were most accurately reflected in the perspectives of individual bloggers.
Here’s the nitty-gritty of what I did.
I used a variant of the least-squares weighted sum of residues squared to compute the “goodness of fit” for each bloggers’ data set.
Some judgement was exercised in enumerating predictions when no specific numerical margins were predicted. “Too close to call” was analyzed as 50%, “Win by narrow margin” as 51%, and a plain “Win/lose” enumerated as 67%/33% respectively.
The prediction percentages were subtracted from the actual voting percentages as reported on the Wikipedia article. The difference was weighted by multiplying with the number of registered voters in each ward to get weighted residuals. (This means that getting the percentage right for larger districts would count more strongly.) The weighted residuals were squared, summed up. The number thus obtained was divided by the number of districts predicted minus two, and finally square-rooted to get the root mean square deviation per ward (D).
To get the accuracy figure, I worked out the average number voters of per ward (75,809) and then computed the fractional rms deviation by dividing D by 75,809. Subtracting the fraction from one and converting it into a percentage finally gives the quantity I called the accuracy.
Clearly this is but one of several statistics I could have used. If anyone has a better idea, I can run the numbers and see how that changes.
5/06/2006 01:43:00 PM
First-hand Polling results
Here's an attempt by the author to predict the results for the 2006 Singapore General Elections
Six Member GRCs
1. Ang Mo Kio (No. of voters: 159,872) - PAP wins by 70% to 30%
2. Pasir Ris-Punggol (No. of voters: 178, 443) - PAP wins by 77% to 23%
3. Sembawang (No. of voters: 184,804) - PAP trounces SDP by 85% to 15%
1. Aljunied (No. of voters: 145,141) - WP wins narrowly
2. East Coast (No. of voters: 116, 653) - PAP wins by 65% to 35%)
3. Jalan Besar (No. of voters: 93,025) - PAP wins 76% to 24%
4. Tampines (No. of voters: 126, 163) - PAP wins 78% to 22%
1. Bukit Panjang (No. of voters: 30,452) - PAP wins 80% to 20%
2. Chua Chu Kang (No. of voters: 24,975) - PAP wins 55% to 45%
3. Hougang (No. of voters: 23,759) - WP wins 60% to 40%
4. Joo Chiat (No. of voters: 21,858) - PAP wins 75% to 25%
5. MacPherson (No. of voters: 21,041) - PAP wins 84% to 16%
6. Nee Soon Central (No. of voters: 23,152) - PAP wins 75% to 25%
7. Nee Soon East (No. of votes: 32,586) - PAP wins 65% to 35%
8. Potong Pasir (No. of voters: 15,888) - PAP wins 55% to 45%
9. Yio Chu Kang (No. of voters: 25,072) - PAP wins 75% to 25%
Do note that is only a forecast of the polling results and is not a true reflection of the actual results which is subsquently going to be announced today from 10p.m onwards.
From 9pm, MediaCorp Radio will also have updates every 15 minutes with on-location reports on 938LIVE, Capital 95.8 and Warna 94.2.
Do catch the results live from 10p.m on CNA, Channel 5, Channel 8.
The TODAY newspaper will publish a special Sunday edition, which will be available at selected MRT and all 7-Eleven stores.
Net surfers can also check updates online at Channelnewsasia and TodayOnline
Stay Tuned !
5/06/2006 01:06:00 PM
Poor foresight of the PAP?!
In an article published in the Straits Times today (060506), the PAP candidate for Potong Pasir, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, rebutted the incumbent, Mr Chiam See Tong, saying that it was just not possible for Mr Chiam to have enough funds to upgrade lifts in all the blocks in Potong Pasir SMC.
SM Goh Chok Tong who have been tasked to win back Potong Pasir, further urged the voters to vote for the PAP. "If the residents voted for the PAP, they would get new lifts under the Lift Upgrading Programme, and government funds from taxes would cover 90% of the cost."
The battle for the single seat of Potong Pasir over the past 9 days seems to hinges on one particular issue; Lift Upgrading. Once again like the last election in 2001, the message of the PAP to the residents of Potong Pasir is simple - Vote PAP or you can forget about any development in your living enviroment for the next 5 years.
However, it must be noted that in the first place, who was responsible for lifts not stopping on every level in an HDB block?
I believed everyone knows the answer. In this case, why is the PAP government repeatedly using lift upgrading as an election incentive? Doesn't they realised that past inexperience of the HDB have led to the deficiency in the blocks that 85% of Singaporeans live in?
Thus, personally, the author strongly believed that no matter who is going to win Potong Pasir; be it the PAP or the opposition, the next government, which is most probably going to be formed by the PAP team led by PM Lee Hsien Loong, is to release much needed funds required for lift upgrading to the relevant MPs in Potong Pasir and Hougang.The next government has the duty and obligation to rectify this mistake caused by poor foresight of past PAP governments with regard to housing policies, in particular, lifts not stopping on every level. The next goverment MUST make sure that all blocks in Singapore have a lift that stop at every level, no matter which constituency the residents are living in. To put it in the words of PM Lee Heisn Loong, "I will do more to take care of your needs and to take care of those who are in trouble"In that case, making sure that all Singaporeans get to enjoy lifts stopping at every level is a good way to start.
5/02/2006 09:42:00 PM
Bread and Butter issues !
At the rallies over the last 4 days, the Workers' Party have been touching on serious and important issues such as health care, eduation and transport, concerning Singaporeans and is not distracted by the pork-barrel politics and the James Gomez issue which is forcefuly being played up by the PAP.
Health care Cost
1. Given our superb port & air facilities, develop Singapore as a manufauture and distribution hub for medical drugs. (lower cost as less money is spent on shipping medicine from place to place)
2. Remove GST for medicine and medical related charges
3. For chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure & depression, the government should use its powers to negotiate a cost based pricing strategy that is beneficial for Singaporeans. It appears that the tender system is used for buying medicine. The tender should also includes medication for distribution by private practice doctors. This will help private doctors lower their costs to you, the patient.
4. Recall the privatization of Medishield to keep the cost of health insurance manageable. The government has a social responsibility to its citizens.
5. The Government should establish contracts for medicine researched with Singaporean funds to be distributed in Singapore on a cost only model. Ask for a steep discount from patent royalties with the drug companies that research and manufacture these medicines using our money.
1. Remove the barriers of entry to higher education and allow anyone who feels that she or he can benefit from a University level or Polytechnic level course be allowed to sign up for one.
2. Build 2 or 3 more universities in Singapore(If we reduce the number of countryclubs and golf courses we have, i think this above proposal is feasible)
3. University fees should be capped and similar subsidies be given to existing and incoming students.
To the People's Action Party:The author sincerely ask the PAP to stop the politics of distraction and approach, address this election in a professional and correct manner. Start addressing the needs of Singaporeans; bread and butter issues, and stop harping on the James Gomez incident, liftupgrading programmes, SDP's lawsuits with the PM and MM, progress package and their past achievements.
1. Nationalise and subsidize our public transport system.
2. Remove barriers to competition within the transport sector and allow prices to fluctuate according to the forces of demand and supply.
3. Dissolved the Public Transport Council and all public transport services should be brought under a National Transportation Council which will oversee and provide universal transport service to all (refer to WP's manifesto chapter 8)
The people of Singapore would like to hear about concrete ideas and proposals to address the issues of their daily lives. In the words of the PAP, "staying together, moving ahead". The author and all Singaporeans would want to know how are they going to achieve this vision for Singapore. (elaborate on their own manifesto and stopping doing all they can to slam the manifestos and ideas of the opposition)
Bring out your election ideas and proposals and allow the people of Singapore to decide as to which party best serve their interests and which is capable enough to alleviate the pressing bread and better issues facing all Singaporeans.Yours Sincerely,
A Young Concerned Singaporean
5/01/2006 12:50:00 PM
"I have a statement to read. I refer to my claim for the submission of my application for a minority certificate at Elections Department on 26 April 2006. I wish to confirm I did not submit the said application on 24 April 2006 due to distractions caused by the busy schedule leading up to Nomination Day. Please accept my sincere apologies if my actions on 26 April 2006 caused any distress or confusion to the staff or the Elections Department. I thank you,"
As stated in this statement, James Gomez of the Workers'Party admitted that he had made a mistake and apologised for it. The interesting thing is, why is the PAP harping on this issue(James Gomez failure to submit for the application for the minority certificate)?
DPM Wong Kan Seng, Defense Minister Teo Chee Hean and subseqently Foreign Minister George Yeo wants more answers from James Gomez on the minorities certificate saga and claims that the apology by James Gomez did not sufficiently address the issue.
The People's Action Party (PAP) has even thrown a poser to the Workers' Party. Will it withdraw Mr James Gomez as a candidate and make a public apology? This must be done in order to uphold accountability and honesty. He went on to question the WP on whether does it still intends to uphold the high standards that it has set for itself and for politics in Singapore.
In the author's opinion, the PAP is making a big issue out of such a minor issue. Basically, what's the intention of the PAP and the media in playing such a minor issue? Doesn't the PAP have more urgent and crucial issues to address ranging from increasing cost of living, rising medical costs, foreign policies etc? The answer to this is a simple one. The PAP is unable to find any fault with the WP's candidates running for Aljunied GRC. In terms of credibility, walking the ground, qualifications, sincerity, passion, the PAP could not find any fault with this current slate of candidates that is fighting for every vote in Aljuned GRC. Thus, it was inevitable that the PAP had to play up the James Gomez issue. I hereby urge the PAP and the media to end this insignificat saga and move on. James Goez had apologised. Let's focus on more important issues which is going to have much more impact on Singaporeans for the next 5 years. If the James Gomez issue is an issue of accountability, how about PM Lee's slapping fiasco in front of the MPs, Lim Hng Khiang and Dr Khaw Boon Wan's handling of the NKF issue and even Tharman Shanmugaratnam's breaching of the official secrets act? When would it be an appropriate time to properly address these issues to all Singaporeans? This episode only serve to hightlight the fact that Singapore needs a external system of checks and balances. The Government is made up of humans and humans have weaknesses, and that's the reason why Singaporeans cannot afford to issue the Government a "blank cheque" in the coming polls. "Let the WP have a chance to check the Government, to tell the People's Action Party (PAP) that they had better do the job properly or come election time, the people will hold them accountable," said Low Thia Khiang. To put it in the words of PM Lee Hsien Loong, "Best thing is just to come clean and tell Singaporeans what happened", James Gomez had already done that. What about the PAP?