Friday, 22 September 2023

We are shifting our daily news to Gutzy.Asia Support us there!

Proposed change on disregarding vote count for polling station if ballot box lost or destroyed, wouldn’t it be prone to abuse?

I note that certain changes have been proposed to the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA) which would provide for the Singapore Elections Department (SED) to disregard the vote count for a polling station if the votes in a sealed ballot box are lost or destroyed before the ballots are counted.

A fresh poll can only be called if the election officials consider the number of votes in the particular polling station enough to change the final result for that constituency.

While no official reason has been given for the proposed change, I suppose that efficiency and the conservation of resources might be the possible reasons. That said, this proposed change can lead to troubling consequences if potential issues are not fleshed out.

It is important to note that election officials are trained by and report into the SED. The SED is in turn a department under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In Singapore, we have only had Prime Ministers from one party, the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) and the current Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong (PM Lee) has been Prime Minister for over 20 years. With this factual matrix, is it possible that this proposed change if passed, could be open to abuse? While I am not suggesting that any wrongdoing is planned and will occur, the potential of misuse is present if there are no safeguards that go along with the proposal.

Taking a fresher look at the SED, it would appear that this body, although having purview over election proceedings, is not regulated by statute. Rather, it is simply a department within the PMO. While the PMO is an esteemed office, there exist a blurring of lines between state and party in Singapore in part due to the fact that we have had no other political party post independence apart from the PAP. Again, I am not suggesting that there is any wrongdoing on the part of the PMO. However, in a climate where a blurring of lines does occur, unwittingly or otherwise, it would be more above board if the SED is seen to be more independent and less directly influenced by the PMO.

After all, it could cause conflicts of interest if the SED is in charge of elections which could lead to their boss either winning or losing an election?

I notice also that the SED has had several incarnations over the years. While inherited from the British, it was then transferred to the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, followed by the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office before finally being transferred to the PMO. Would it not be more above board if it had remained in the Ministry of Home Affairs and not directly under the control of the PMO?

The SED’s core values are that of excellence, integrity and agility. It would appear to serve those better if the nexus to the PMO and by extension PM Lee is not so direct.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Latest posts

Election surprises and certainties: Dissecting Tharman’s presidential win

In the 2023 Presidential Election, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam secured a stunning 70.4% landslide victory, surprising many, including himself. Despite expectations that TKL would win the opposition votes, voters from both camps showed a preference for Tharman's charisma and perceived competency. As Singapore reflects on the outcome, questions arise about the election's fairness and the real implications of Tharman's dominant win.

Volunteer as a Polling and Counting Agent for Singapore’s 2023 Presidential Election

For the upcoming Singapore Presidential Election on 1st September, members of the civil society have spearheaded an initiative to strengthen our democratic fabric. We invite committed individuals to join us as Polling and Counting Agents, standing together for a transparent, fair, and just election. This vote counting exercise, organized by members of civil society, is not specifically in support of Mr Tan Kin Lian, a candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election. It's an exercise in active citizenry. Nonetheless, Mr Tan endorses this initiative, which hinges on his candidacy, championing transparency, and has given permission for the results to be shared publicly.

Reflections from the Centenary: The Legacy of LKY and Singapore’s Future

Gilbert Goh reflects on the LKY centenary event: an inspiring showcase of a leader's global legacy juxtaposed against current challenges, urging Singapore to continue its path of progress.

Lim Tean advocates for Tan Kin Lian: A visionary leader for Singapore’s Presidency

In his speech at Mr Tan Kin Lian's launch of his presidential bid, Mr Lim Tean passionately championed the need for a truly Independent President. Highlighting Mr Tan Kin Lian's unique credentials and genuine concern for the wellbeing of Singaporeans, the Peoples Voice leader emphasized the pressing challenges of rising living costs and job insecurities faced by the public. Mr Lim depicted Mr Tan Kin Lian as a beacon of hope for the nation, advocating for a leader who genuinely understands and represents the people’s aspirations.

Tan Jee Say endorses Tan Kin Lian for President: A courageous, genuine, and humble...

In advocating for a truly representative leader, Tan Jee Say underscored Tan Kin Lian's humility, courage, and genuine dedication. Highlighting the pressing need for restored public trust and effective independence, Tan Jee Say emphasized that Tan Kin Lian, as the 'People's President', would bring back hope to Singaporeans and champion true democracy

Tan Kin Lian’s pledge: Rekindling unity and charting a vigorous future for Singapore

In the press conference to announce his bid for the Singapore presidency, Tan Kin Lian emphasizes safeguarding Singapore's reserves and strengthening public service integrity. Drawing on his 30-year leadership at NTUC Income, he envisions a future with affordable living, accessible housing, and job stability, pledging collaboration with the government for a united nation.

Strengthening Singapore’s political foundations: A call to action by Leong Mun Wai on Singapore’s...

Leong Mun Wai urges Singaporeans to strengthen political checks and balances, emphasizing, 'The best is yet to be for Singapore if we dare to make the right decision in upcoming elections.

Trending posts