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If the situation is under control, why do we need so many safeguards for the General Election?  – The Online Citizen

The date of the General Election has been announced, and the Elections Department (ELD) has released its updated guidelines on political campaigning ahead of the upcoming General Election.

It is now officially confirmed that a General Election will be held in Singapore despite repeated calls from Singaporeans to postpone it on account of the coronavirus outbreak. While the authorities have publicly insisted that the situation is under control, there are still active cases within the community.

This hammers home the question of whether or not the Government actually cares about what people think?

Reading the updated guidelines, the inconsistencies become immediately clear. Among other things, the ELD has said that masks should be worn at all times during recorded interviews or broadcasts. To add to the safety precautions, more polling stations would also be set up, and voters will have to wear gloves before entering polling booths. Looking at these precautions, it is clear that we are not out of the woods where the virus is concerned.

Why then are we still holding a General Election now? If the situation is under control, why do we need so many safeguards?

The Government has never really given a firm reason as to why we needed to hold the General Election now. Former Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had said that it needed to be held so as to comply with the Constitution. That has always seemed to be a weak justification because the Constitution has already been amended so many times.

Then, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the General Election needed to be held in order to get it out of the way so that the new Government could be given a clear mandate to stabilise the country.

Again, the argument is not convincing because how can we give the new Government a mandate to stabilise a post-COVID country when we are still in the midst of COVID-19? Don’t we need a clearer idea of what we did right or wrong as a nation before we can decide which government should lead us?

At the end of the day, it is certainly arguable that the Peoples’ Action Party is holding a General Election because it wants to capitalise on an advantage. It has nothing to do with stabilising Singapore at all. Are they playing with lives?

Even in the lead up to the General Election, they have been arguably using COVID-19 as a means to score political points. The televised series of ministerial speeches and giving political parties that field at least six candidates more coverage are possibly examples of unfair advantages.

Also, up to now, various ministers are still providing COVID-19 updates. Given that the President has already dissolved Parliament, they are technically no longer ministers. Is this yet another publicity opportunity they are capitalising on?

Secondly, at the numerous press conferences that the various PAP ministers have held, no masks were worn on the account that we needed to hear them clearly. Why then do masks need to be worn at all times during recorded interviews or broadcasts in the lead up to the General Election? It doesn’t make sense.

Is the virus worse now which necessitates the wearing of masks? If so, it goes back to – why are we having a General Election now?

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