The Workers’ Party (WP) urges the Singapore government to “take caution and exercise judiciousness” in calling for a General Election (GE).
The party said in a press release on Sunday (15 March) that it understands there is a lot of speculation and excitement over when GE would be called due to the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report.
“In line with past experience, the General Election is usually called very soon after the report’s release.” noted the party.
WP which is the only opposition party that has Members of Parliament following the GE2015, notes that the situation facing Singapore at present is different.
There are worries about the spread of COVID-19 and its impact on the economy.
While the party state that it does not want to partake in speculation, it urges the government to take caution and exercise judiciousness in calling for a GE.
“Whatever decision that is made must be one that is in the the best interests of Singapore, our democracy and the public health of Singaporeans.” said the party.
The party notes that it will be ready and prepared for the GE as it has been for the last 4 years and will take the necessary precautions to run a fair and safe campaign.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock asks if PAP wants to risk exposing more than 2.6 million voters to COVID-19 by holding the General Election
The sudden but long-awaited announcement of the boundaries revision by the EBRC after close to eight months of reviewing, signifies that the parliament would likely be dissolved within one or two months based on the past standards of the Singapore government.
The parliament was dissolved about two month later after the EBRC released its report back in 2011 and only a month back in 2015.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has hinted in a Facebook post on Saturday evening that election will be held early so as to “elect a new government with a fresh mandate” and that the government “will take all the precautions necessary, so that parties can campaign effectively, and people can vote safely.”
It has been pushed by mainstream media that it is possible for an election to be called soon and the earliest polling date can be as early as 18 April, which will be just before the fasting month.
Other opposition parties had earlier branded the moves by the ruling party to call for an election during the COVID-19 pandemic as “irresponsible”.
Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Secretary General of the Progress Singapore Party had commented in a Facebook video last night, saying that more than 2.6 million voters will be exposed to the virus because voting is compulsory and everyone will need to go to the polling stations to cast their votes.
“During the campaign period, there will be rallies and many large group activities being held, is this a risk we want to take?” said Dr Tan.
Dr Tan went on to say that there is a potential mass exposure to the virus and so holding a GE at this time, should not be considered.
“We should put politics aside, take care of our people’s health and welfare first” urged Dr Tan.