On Monday (6 April), we talked about speculations that the general elections could be held sometime in May or June based on tip offs we received relating to election preparations being made by ST Synthesis, the company that conducts training for volunteers are polling stations.
According to the tip, advertisements were placed on jobseeking platforms looking for part time event assistants to be available for training between 2 to 11 April and for work between may to June in various locations. This tallies with the ads we found online, pictured below.
Another tip-off which we got was from a participant to the training session, who confirmed that the job was meant to provide logistic support for the election.
According to the temporary job seeker, the trainees are told to keep themselves free between May and June period. The trainees are tasked to help out on setting up of the polling centre and also the operation of the Election Operation Tracking System.
The photographs below shows a setup that is meant to simulate a polling centre. Presumably, this would be where the training is conducted.
Now, the company that conducts the training, ST Synthesis, was awarded a tender by the ELD in 2015 for the “provision of total logistics support for elections and warehousing services for six (6) years with the option to extend for another six (6) years”.
This lends weight to the idea that the GE has been planned to be held in May/June as the company is involved in election logistics.
We reached out to the Elections Department (ELD) on this.
It has since responded to us and referred us to a Lianhe Zaobao report in which it said in response to media queries that ST Synthesis started preparations on their own accord.
ELD said, “In order to fulfil the requirements of the contract, and to be prepared for the election at any point of time, ST Synthesis begins its seasonal preparation work on its own initiative, which includes hiring and training of temporary workers. ELD will not intervene in how ST Synthesis fulfil its contractual obligations.”
ST Synthesis has not responded to queries from Lianhe Zaobao.
In the meantime, however, it appears that the mock polling centres have been torn down when the Lianhe Zaobao reporter visited the area.
In our query to ELD, we asked, “The contractor has told the temp staff to prepare an election in May/June. Is the election department making similar plans for May/June?”
ELD did not give a response on this question.
Now, although the ELD says that this is merely ST Synthesis’ seasonal preparation for elections, TOC has been told that the temporary workers have not been paid for the two hours training as they’ve been promised. The trainees were told that they will be only paid for their training session after they have turned up for the temporary work in May/June as it is uncertain whether they would turn up eventually for the actual event.
So this then begs the question, is ELD telling the truth or is ST Synthesis taking these temporary workers on a ride?