Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has made a Facebook post on Saturday, which appears to give Singaporeans two choice for the General Election (GE) that is supposed to take place by 21 April 2021.
On when to hold the upcoming election, PM Lee wrote, “That depends on the situation, and the outlook.”
He went on to state, “Singapore faces grave and extended challenges. We can’t tell when the pandemic will end, but it will likely last at least this year, and quite possibly longer.” and warned that “the economic hit will likely be more serious than the Global Financial Crisis, and longer-lasting too, even beyond the end of the pandemic.”
He then presented two choices to the people.
1. “We have two choices. Either hope and pray that things will stabilise before the end of the term so that we can hold elections under more normal circumstances – but we have no certainty of that.”
2. “Or else call elections early, knowing that we are going into a hurricane, to elect a new government with a fresh mandate and a full term ahead of it, which can work with Singaporeans on the critical tasks at hand.” and qualify it as a valid option by saying that the government “will take all the precautions necessary, so that parties can campaign effectively, and people can vote safely” while Singapore is experiencing a COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, opposition parties have been largely united in stating that it will be irresponsible for the government to hold a GE during this period where the country should devote its resources in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
And in his Facebook post, PM seems make it sound as if he is still undecided on the date of the election will be held though he seems to be forgetting a couple of things here.
1. The EBRC is appointed by the Prime Minister who sets its guidelines or terms of reference.
2. The EBRC is headed by Mr Tan Kee Yong, secretary to the Prime Minister.
3. The Prime Minister may advise the President to dissolve Parliament.
4. The current President is a former People’s Action Party Member of Parliament who had walked over in the Presidential Election due to a highly controversial amendment to the constitution so as to limit the candidates based on race.
5. The Election Department answers to the Prime Minister’s Office.
So it would be a far stretch to say that the PM has nothing to do with the date of when the report from the EBRC is produced and when the election will be called.
If he has given instructions to his subordinates and party members to prepare for the upcoming General Election, then PM Lee should outright come out and said that it is the case.
He should not be making riddles via his Facebook posts, hinting to the media or political analysts that he does intend to hold the GE soon, which we all see, are being widely reported by the mainstream media, seeping to the general public and making its way to the sub-conscious of the general populace that it would held soon, without asking why.
Who does he think he is? An emperor like in the Chinese dynasties, where the court officers and public have to gauge by his habitual gestures so as to predict what is his next move and intention?
Let us not forget that he said back in 2011 prior to the GE, “Never forget we are servants of the people, not their masters…Always maintain a sense of humility and service. Never lord it over the people we are looking after and serving.”
What does it tell Singaporeans about this Prime Minister when and if he eventually calls for the parliament dissolved, assuming the stance that he is being forced to make the difficult decision for an election to be called in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Is our Prime Minister being truthful to his voters and people who look up to him for transparency and accountability when the push comes to shove? Or are we to expect that he will hide and confuse the people on the true facts of matters so to achieve aims and interest for his political party?
Are Singaporeans destined to be subservient to such behaviors, if indeed, it is the case?
And what does it say about Singaporeans in general? Are we proud citizens of our independent country or simply loyal serfs to a natural aristocrat?