SINGAPORE — A Singaporean is said to have confessed to fears of losing financial assistance from the Government if her family were to vote for the opposition in the election.
This was shared by the opposition party, Red Dot United (RDU) in a Facebook post on Monday (6 Dec), sharing the experience from the team conducting door-to-door outreach with residents at the Radin Mas SMC.
“Actually, the last election my family wanted to vote for opposition, but my neighbour warned us that if we do that then the Government will take away our financial assistance,” a resident allegedly said.
The resident is said to be the sole caregiver of her mother, an 86-year-old woman who is wheelchair-bound.
RDU noted that her fear was understandable, and the team assured the resident that her vote was secret, “that nobody would be able to find out who she voted for”.
“We further assured her that Singapore has a clean system run by honest civil servants, and whoever she voted for, she will continue to get financial assistance if her family needed it.”
Voters’ Fear Of Repercussions For Voting For Opposition Still Current
Singapore human rights group MARUAH released a position paper in 2013, stating that one in 10 Singaporeans still cast their vote in fear that their ballots may be traced back to them by the authorities.
The deduction was made by comparing the results of the survey conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies on political attitudes and MARUAH’s own exit poll during GE2011.
In the IPS survey of 2,080 random individuals, 9% of respondents indicated that “they did not feel free” to cast their vote as they chose. MARUAH’s survey of 1,157 voters likewise indicated that 14.8% of respondents who cast their vote did not feel that their vote was secret.
Opposition parties in Singapore have made it an essential task in every election to assure the voters that their votes are secret
— The Workers' Party (@wpsg) June 26, 2020
And while the studies from IPS and MARUAH from 2011/2013 may seem dated, such views are still current.
In a 2020 Reddit post that shared the Workers’ Party’s video on voting secrecy, those who commented shared their family’s beliefs on the matter.
Teetooshort shared, “Just this Friday, my grandma was telling my sister and me to vote PAP since we are young, and she doesn’t want our future to be affected. She say she vote WP nvm since she’s old. I guess the idea that our votes aren’t secret really is kinda widespread among the old people”
pandemicsurvivor2020 wrote, “My parents still believe the ruling party can spy on us to find out if we voted for them or not. This makes it sound like we are living in a total dictatorship.”
abydocomist0987 added, “Rumour has it that civil servants/soldiers voting against the PAP will face impediments in their career progressions. Of course, there is no way to factually verify such claims. But I have seen a fair share of people voting out of fear.”
coolbakerguy97 chiming into the above comment, wrote, “My mom is a civil servant and genuinely fears voting oppo cos she thinks her career will be impacted by PAP. took so much effort to convince her otherwise and I think she might secretly still vote pap out of fear.”
Flocculencio, however, clarified, “I’m in the public sector, have never voted PAP and have faced no impediments to promotion. Your vote is secret, if nothing else for the fact that no single vote would be important enough for the govt to go to the ultimate lechehness of opening the ballot box, tracking one slip out of thousands, resealing, and forging signatures from both party reps.”