Rallies are typically the most effective way for opposition parties to reach the Singaporean populace “because the mass media is in the hands of the government,” said Singaporeans First (SingFirst) chief Tan Jee Say.
Should rallies for the next general election (GE) be cancelled or even prohibited in the first place due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Mr Tan told TOC in a recent interview that opposition parties including SingFirst will have to largely utilise “online media”.
“And here, we are also handicapped because of so many laws and regulations [imposed] on us [opposition parties],” he added.
When asked if POFMA might be used during the election, Mr Tan opined that “it could”.
The Government, said Mr Tan, will not necessarily cease wielding POFMA against opposition parties, as — according to Mr Tan — it has the resources to “watch us” round the clock and “spot anything” that can be used against the said parties.
Touching on the timing of the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC)’s report last Fri (13 Mar), Mr Tan opined that releasing the report at this point “capitalises on the fear of the people towards COVID-19” to ensure that the incumbent party wins the next election.
Reiterating SingFirst’s stance that holding an election in the midst of an outbreak is “highly irresponsible”, Mr Tan said that the Government should focus all of its resources to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, adding that “the opposition will stand behind the government in fighting this COVID-19”.
Calling an election now will distract the people and divide the people, Mr Tan remarked.
“Even if you take a year to fight COVID-19, you can still do it [hold the election] … Let’s postpone the election until the crisis is over, until we have fully solved this COVID-19 issue,” he urged.