Is the ruling party governed first and foremost by its own interests in calling for a general election at a time of risk and uncertainty?
This question has been raised many times before. Now it has to be asked again.
The front-page story in TODAY suggests that the People’s Action Party is seizing the “first window of opportunity” to hold polls amid concerns that the country will be hit by a second COVID-19 wave.
Political analysts interviewed pointed out that while the COVID-19 situation is stabilising, no one knows how the pandemic may pan out.
TODAY paper quoted Dr Gillian Koh, deputy director of research at the Institute of Policy Studies as saying that “it’s better to call it sooner than wait for any other curveballs or infection levels to jump up again.”
Polling Day will be on July 10 — exactly three weeks after the start of Phase Two on June 19.
Infectious diseases experts interviewed by TODAY said that two or three weeks after the reopening of the economy, a second wave of infections could potentially emerge.
Among them is Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, who felt that a second wave of infections is expected after the general election.
Given the volatile situation, many have warned of the risk of holding a general election now. Prominent among them is Dr Tan Cheng Bock of the Progress Singapore Party who stressed that “the people’s interests must come first, the people’s health must come first.”
He has reiterated that politics should take a backseat at such a time and it not not worth taking the gamble: “You may win the battle but you may lose the war.”
Is the PAP trying to win the battle now to secure a mandate before it resumes the battle for a second COVID-19 wave?
Is it putting its own interests ahead of the people’s interests? What if the second COVID-19 wave comes during – and not after – the general election?