Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Bigger Red Dot

Today Singapore has come of political age.  While it is true that the ruling PAP party was returned to power, (deservedly so in many peoples minds) with 60% of the vote (14% less than the previous election), it is equally true that there has been a very large swing towards the Opposition parties.

The very idea that 40% of the 2.35 million eligible voters would choose not to vote for the PAP would have been unheard of two decades ago.

93% of Singaporeans turned out to exercise their vote which shows the level of interest in GE2011.

The big news of the night was the Workers Party win in Aljunied GRC, a rather large 'red dot' in the heartlands, which automatically gives them five seats in the new Parliament.

Three senior Ministers of the last government lost their seats in Alujnied including a distraught Foreign Minister George Yeo, who will no doubt become Ambassador Yeo in the near future. To his credit he remained a gentleman in accepting his defeat.

Hougang too remains firmly in opposition hands.

There remain two electorates that may be subject to a recount, Joo Chiat where the PAP is ahead by 400 votes on election night and Potong Pasir where the margin is even tighter - a mere114 votes.

Thanks to social media's influence on the young and Facebook stars such as Nicole Seah, even safe havens such as Marine Parade were given a wake up call.

The NSP managed to capture 44% of the vote in this electorate although, as predicted, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's PAP team were returned to office.

Last night's results also saw the demise of Singapore's longest serving opposition politician- one of two in the last Parliament. Due to boundary changes and party swapping Chiam See Tong had to contest the Bishan-Toa Payoh electorate where his SPP party only managed to get 43% of the vote.

So behind the numbers what does this all mean?  The return of a stable government in a volatile economic environment is a real plus and the PAP's stewardship through the toughest of recessionary times should not be forgotten.

Despite this acceptance, the people of Singapore have signalled strongly to the government that they are not happy with the status quo; especially the growing wealth gap, the influx of foreign workers, rising prices and the cost of housing.

While six Opposition members is a small percentage of the total house they should be able to provide a stronger voice for the people's concerns.   If the government chooses to not address these issues we could see a very different result in five years time and true repentance.
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1 comment:

Roger Smith said...

This young lady should go far in the future
"Nicole Seah urges Singaporeans to come together as one country".