From working with architects to create eco friendly buildings to boosting the Changi Airport’s eco friendly reputation, the Singapore Government has long been keen to focus on its green credentials. Therefore, it is rather curious that the Government is insisting on running a General Election amid a global pandemic which will see the use of single use masks, plastic gloves, and other hygiene products.
Is the Government conflicted on environmental issues?
Recently, there has been talk by the incumbent Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) on the need to reduce wastage in relation to the annual National Day Parade (NDP). PAP Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency Louis Ng Kok Kwang had uploaded a post on his Facebook page calling for an “opt out” option in relation to the “funpacks” that are issued to Singaporeans to commemorate National Day in a bid to be more sustainable. Ng had also said that the “funpacks” would be “greener” this year.
Just today, Tampines Town Council has announced a five-year masterplan to transform Tampines into an eco-town. This is the latest in a slew of similar announcements last week by other PAP MPs helming estates in areas such as Tanjong Pagar GRC and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
How does this marry up with the Government’s decision to hold a General Election amid the coronavirus outbreak?
In the lead up to the General Election, the Elections Department (ELD) has announced details about how TV broadcasts and live-streamings would be conducted to ensure safety as the virus continues to rage in our country.
Among other things, the ELD has said that masks should be worn at all times during recorded interviews or broadcasts. This would mean that single use masks will likely be provided at all venues, leading to much unnecessary waste.
If we didn’t have these elections, all this waste would be avoided as we would all be at home!
To add to the safety precautions, more polling stations would also be set up, and voters will have to wear gloves before entering polling booths. Again, this will lead to more single use plastic and likely construction waste. This is quite clearly not going to be good for global sustainability.
Does this mean that the PAP Government is more concerned about cementing a political advantage than protecting the environment?
While the Government is happy to lap up international kudos for its efforts at going green, it is at the same time, happy to hold a General Election amid a time of pandemic, refusing all calls for its postponement. Surely, that could arguably be considered disingenuous?
What is the point of the National Environmental Agency (NEA) giving out EcoFriend awards when the Government seems to have run rough shod over its initiatives by holding the General Election now? What are PAP MP Louis Ng’s views on this?
Back in 2019, the students of Commonwealth Secondary School and a Biology teacher there were lauded for stopping the sale and use of plastic straws, plastic water bottles or plastic boxes on its premises. What message is the Government sending to young Singaporeans by holding the General Election now when it can easily be postponed?