Before GE 2015, I was hopeful there would be meaningful changes in the government after the polls. Many had also hoped that rational middle-ground voters who had been screwed big time by PAP policies would demand accountability and vote wisely. I was wrong.
Rational middle-ground voters never existed. After 5 decades of mental rewiring, what we have are voters who are greedy (politically affiliated, eg grassroots members, government contractors, employees of GLCs), fearful (civil servants, needy who depended on handouts) and the ignorant (younger generation brainwashed by Social Studies, older, less educated who live in PAP’s past glory). Singaporeans do not know they have rights.
The selfish nature of Singaporeans blinds them to the fact that Singapore is bigger than a run of the mill political party, PAP. Most are unable to understand that they and future generations will pay a very heavy price for a non-transparent and unaccountable PAP government. Unlike North Koreans who had their freedom robbed from them, Singaporeans are a strange lot – 70% voted to be controlled.
It appears most of us have overlooked the obvious reason for PAP’s landslide election win – the composition of voters.
One common assumption, including mine, was the ratio of PAP supporters, opposition supporters and middle-ground voters was about 40:30:30. This gives one hope of potential meaningful changes but is actually a mistaken assumption because the percentage of PAP supporters is actually about 50%.
This is evident from the 5 largest groups of voters:
1 Public servants
2 Grassroots members
3 Employees of government-linked companies
4 Pioneer generation
5 New citizens.
In the first 3 groups, each PAP supporter is likely to have 3 to 4 family members and friends throwing their support behind PAP. Using a very conservative estimate of 80% from these 3 groups, PAP is likely to have between 729,600 and 547,200 supporters.
|Group||No. of citizens||80%||X4||X3|
* GLCs employ tens of thousands of foreigners, 50,000 is a conservative estimate of citizens
To get an idea just how big GLCs are, they make up about 30% of total market cap on the Singapore Exchange. DBS and SIA have almost 20,000 employees each and SMRT and SBS Transit about 10,000.
(Similar to the PAP government dishing out a SG $500 bonus per public service officer, DBS gave out $1000 to each of its 18,000 employees, $500 from SIA to each of its 18,500 staff, a $500 shopping voucher for each SMRT employee, etc. There was no SG 50 bonus on such a scale in the real private sector. To outdo everyone, GIC paid out a $3000 “collaboration bonus” to each employee using our reserves. Some considered the payment of SG 50 bonuses, which somehow coincided with the elections, a “PAP’s massive vote-buying spree”. I mean, if people are paid $3000 to collaborate, won’t they ‘collaborate’?)
The 4th group comprises 450,000 citizens belonging to the pioneer generation. Using an estimate of 80%, 360,000 pioneers would have voted for PAP.
|Group||No. of citizens||90%||80%|
Using the most conservative figure of 547,200 PAP supporters in Table 1 plus members of the pioneer generation, PAP supporters number at least 907,200 (547,200 + 360,000). But that’s still excluding new citizens.
Since 1987 PAP has granted about 336,000 citizenships to foreigners. Including a number of their children who would have become eligible voters in 2015, this group of PAP supporters could possibly number about 360,000. There are no statistics but a conservative estimate is 200,000 from this group would have voted for PAP. This brings the total number of PAP supporters from the five largest groups to 1,107,200 (907,200 + 200,000).
There are other smaller groups such as those who depend on government assistance, government contractors, etc who would have easily increased the percentage of PAP supporters to 50%. Lee Hsien Loong didn’t need to show his face in every corner of Singapore because half of the electorate would have voted for PAP.
The results of the last election and the above figures confirm the number of rational voters is insignificant. Rational voters:
– don’t vote for a continuation of flawed policies to repeatedly screw up their own lives.
– understand we will reach a point of no return when our population hits 6.9 million.
– realise a government which conceals information from the public is not doing it for our good but is hiding material information which could possibly wreak havoc on our economy.
– strongly believe good governance must include accountability.
Singapore can no longer depend on rational middle-ground voters to boot out an incompetent government because voters were easily swayed by propaganda on LKY, SG 50, etc. But all is still not lost because a window of opportunity still exists till the next election.
Opposition parties such as the WP must not do battle in the conventional way with a bullying PAP which is able to throw an unlimited amount of taxpayer-funded resources at an irrational electorate. It’s a fact that PAP can afford to dish out abalone porridge but opposition parties can’t even afford one with ikan-bilis.
This is not to belittle opposition party members who deserve much respect but to point out the urgent need for a strategy overhaul. Knowing the kiasu-kiasi-NIMBY-irrational Singaporean mentality, they should do battle with PAP only after tilting the unlevel playing field in their favour. For example, the WP can’t continue to be on the defensive and allow propaganda to tear its reputation to shreds, ie big-bully PAP has continued to flog the bloodied AHPETC dead horse even after the elections.
To sum up, opposition parties have to start raising the issue of transparency until it has been addressed. The disclosure of material information will work against PAP at the polls. Forget about appealing to rational middle-ground vothers because this is only a myth.
PAP controls a vast amount of public resources which can be redistributed at its whim to pander to the greed of its supporters. Together with hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent on propaganda and by increasing the number of new citizens, PAP will win an election even if it does not organise any election rally.