Even at this late stage the PAP still refuses to announce the election boundaries. The Elections Department has already started to make preparations for the general elections. It has asked schools for an update on its premises for use as polling centres, reserved the use of void decks for balloting purposes, and, just this week, despatched elections officials to check out potential venues for nomination centres.
And yet with all the changes to the boundaries, the PAP is still hiding the information so that the opposition cannot make concrete preparations and communicate with voters.
This must be the only ruling party that touts its popularity at every opportunity but goes to absurd lengths to make sure that the process is as unfair as possible for the opposition.
Not content with keeping the media under its thumb, allowing only nine days for campaigning (and even then takes one more day off for “cooling off”), banning candidates from speaking to voters in public areas, gerrymandering to ensure maximum advantage, amending the constitution to suit its own interests, the PAP is holding back the release of newly drawn boundaries.
In the 1997 elections, the boundaries were announced one (yes, 1) day before the parliament was dissolved and the prime minister called for elections. Nominations took place five days thereafter and voting nine days. Blinked and you missed the GE.
This time around the PAP has even more reason to make sure that the entire electoral process is as biased as possible.
The floods, the continuing influx of foreigners, the shortage of HDB flats, and so on have all made the ruling party rather anxious. A straightforward democratic fight with the opposition would see many casualties on its side.
Hence, the foot-dragging on the boundaries.
But can a political party as afraid of a fair fight as the PAP claim to have the legitimate mandate of the people?
Singaporeans must be alert to the fact that the control of the electoral system will ensure that the PAP’s interests is served, not the country’s.
The Singapore Democrats call on the PAP to face the opposition in a fair electoral fight. It can start by immediately releasing the new boundaries.