The Government should “categorically rule out’ holding the next General Election (GE) until “clear signs” of COVID-19 subsiding arise, urged two Singapore opposition parties.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) in a statement on Fri (13 Mar) expressed its hope that the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) “will not capitalise on the crisis” by holding the GE during this period.
Holding an election at this time, said SDP, “take away valuable resources needed to combat the virus outbreak and jeopardise the public’s health and well-being”.
Given the varying expert opinions on when the pandemic will end, the party said that there is “no urgency to hold an election in the midst of this crisis”.
To “prematurely” call for an election at this stage, said SDP, would “signal that the PAP is putting its own interests over the people’s safety”.
“The situation in Singapore has flared up again and could worsen considerably in the coming weeks and months … Our priority is to rid ourselves of this health threat. Elections can come later,” added the party.
The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) similarly urged the Government to hold off the GE at this time, as this is “not the time for partisan politics”.
Holding an election “when the situation is rapidly evolving” would be “nothing less than irresponsible” on the part of the Government, said the party in a statement today.
“We trust that the Government will exhibit consistency with its position, most recently encapsulated in PM Lee’s statement dated 12 March 2020, to take precautions, avoid mass gatherings and dedicate resources to fighting this outbreak.
“We are confident that the Government will not risk exacerbating the outbreak by calling for a general election before the situation has stabilised. There is nothing more important than the health of all Singaporeans,” said SPP.
The parties’ statements were made following the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report, which included recommendations such as wiping out six-member Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs), and adding more electoral divisions and Parliamentary seats in the next GE.
With the announcement of the new electoral boundaries, President Halimah Yacob is expected to dissolve Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s advice.
Previously in 2015, the EBRC released its report on 24 Jul, a month prior to the dissolution of Parliament. Voting took place on 11 Sep that year.