2008 has been a landmark year for Singapore, both economically and politically. As it passes into history, we welcome 2009 with a mix of optimism and caution.
There has been talk that there could be elections called this year so that the PAP can claim a fresh mandate to tackle Singapore’s economic problems. If this turns out to be true, I sincerely plead with Singaporeans to vote wisely.
1. Don’t be bribed with “shares” or “rebates” given in the budget preceding the election. They last only for a short time. Look out for long-term measures.
2. Don’t be threatened by the PAP’s threats to not upgrade your HDB flats. HDB flats are public housing and all HDB dwellers have the right to have their flats upgraded with taxpayers’ money. Besides, you are choosing a government and not a renovation contractor.
3. Don’t believe the PAP when it says that Singapore will be “ruined” by the opposition if they win. You are supposed to decide that for yourselves, not them.
4. Don’t be afraid to express yourself freely on the internet. It is one of Singapore’s only bastions of free speech. If you feel that something is not right, speak out. Just be careful on race and religious matters.
5. Don’t rely on the government-controlled media to make your choice. They only heap praises on the PAP and scorn on the opposition.
6. Do remember the PAP’s last promises in the 2006 elections. If they are still unfulfilled, it is unlikely that the same promises made again will be fulfilled.
7. Do read alternative news sources. Communicate alternative news to those who are not computer savvy, such as the elderly, so that the audience for such news is widened.
8. Do volunteer or donate to opposition parties if you agree with their ideas. They need all the help they can get.
9. Do check out videos of opposition rallies or activities online if you are afraid to be physically present there. Thanks to YouTube, you can still hear the opposition’s ideas and views.
10. Finally, don’t vote based on your “respect” or “admiration” for Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew or Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. Their time will soon pass. Vote based on the performance of current PM Lee Hsien Loong and his team.
You are not voting to reward past achievements, you are voting for ideas on how to deal with present and future challenges.
Voting is one of Singaporeans’ few democratic rights. Make good use of it.