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The Singapore Democrats will conduct a general elections dry-run in the coming weeks. Codenamed Exercise Lightning Block, the event will simulate various activities that need to be organised and implemented during the few days of official campaigning.
From the nomination process to the election rallies to polling day, the Exercise will do mock-ups of the tasks required during the actual elections. The objective is to test the strength and capability of the SDP’s election machinery, and to identify weak spots so that remedial action can be taken.
Election campaigns require extensive amounts of planning and coordination. Logistics and supplies also need to be procured and put in place. Lightning Block will help us put things in place well in advance.
Coordinating the whole Exercise is Mr Jeffrey George who is also the party’s assistant treasurer. An engineer by training and profession, Mr George provides a systematic and disciplined approach needed to successfully carry such a major task.
“There are various parts to an organisation and these parts have different tasks, all of which are moving and fluid,” Mr George said. “My job is to ensure that they all come together at the right time to provide optimal effect.”
Evaluators will be on hand to observe the dry-run. They will provide an in-depth report which will be used to strengthen the operations for the actual event as well as for future elections.
Key members and campaign helpers will be activated for the operation. The event, an internal exercise, will also serve to familiarise our campaigners to the various processes of the GE campaign.
Planning for Lightning Block started months ago and much work has been put into it. It is the first of its kind in Singapore’s electoral politics.
While we may not be able to compete with the PAP on the financial front, the SDP is determined to run a competent and competitive campaign.
The election process is controlled by the autocrats but the Democrats will make the best of an unenviable position. For example, our newspaper licence was inexplicably held up for months which greatly hampered our efforts to communicate with the voters.
Also, as close as the elections are the PAP still refuses to release the boundaries map which has extensive changes made to the constituencies. In a real democracy, the PAP would not have been allowed to do this.
Worse, the Singapore Press Holdings and MediCorps continue to black out SDP’s news. The Straits Times even refuses to publish our replies to letters written by PAP supporters criticising our party.
Against such odds, we continue to work to entrench democracy in Singapore and to speak up for our fellow citizens. We do this because Singaporeans need an opposition that is competent, constructive and caring. Exercise Lightning Block is a demonstration of these qualities.