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In its continuing attempt to manipulate the already opaque and unfair electoral process, the People’s Action Party has come up with yet another move called the “cooling off period” to handicap the opposition even more.
Based on news reports, this cooling-off period outlaws rallies, door-to-door visits and wearing of party badges and symbols on the eve of polling.
Not surprisingly, it does not apply to party political broadcasts and news reports. This is because the media is controlled by the PAP and will give the ruling party more opprtunity to disseminate its news while the opposition has no such means.
Such a move is clearly designed to further disadvantage the opposition.
If the PAP really wants a cooling-off period all party political broadcasts and news reports should also be banned during this time.
Direct communication through rallies and groundwork have been opposition’s mode of reaching out to voters. Eve-of- polling rallies have remained crucial to the opposition because of the media’s negative spin of news against the opposition.
Besides, elections in Singapore are already devoid of any heat. Any more cooling and the elections will go into deep freeze, sending voters into hibernation.
For these reasons, the SDP opposes the proposed cooling-off period and wants to see a genuine electoral process that would include:
- an independent elections commission to run and oversee elections, not the current set-up controlled by the Prime Minister’s Office,
- a free and pluralistic media that report fairly on all contesting parties,
- enough time (at least 3 weeks) for campaigning.
Without these changes and as long as the rules and regulations continue to be changed to benefit the PAP, elections in Singapore will remain a charade staged by the ruling party to hoodwink the people once every four or five years.
Singapore Democratic Party