With the election coming up in a few days, I just wanted to record my thoughts in the off chance that I, or someone else, might find it useful.
The last general election in 2015, I was going to vote for the PAP because the opposition was crap. Then the PAP candidates showed up at the polling station, talked to some of the polling agents for a few seconds, then left. This made me decide to spoil my vote instead. Why?
First of all, there are some laws regarding what you can and cannot do at polling stations on election day, like not being able to loiter around 200m of a polling station, not being able to enter a polling station unless authorized or casting a vote, etc. This is to prevent undue influence at or near the polling station. Candidates are authorized to enter their polling stations of course. But the quick drop-by and the way they walked past the entire queue of voters instead of going straight to the polling station made me think that they were only there as a last minute attempt to sway some voters.
So, even though the candidates didn’t do anything illegal, I still felt undue influence that day, and that’s why I spoiled my vote.
Now, five years later, I’m not going to spoil my vote anymore. I’m going to vote opposition. Why?
In 2017, Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Wei Ling both accused Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister, of misusing his position for personal gain. The Prime Minister called a special parliamentary session where he explained his point of view and some members of parliament made some speeches. And the Public Services Division held a poll. That’s it. This was a serious allegation, an abuse of the highest office in Singapore, but there has been no investigation, as far as I know.
The Prime Minister did not even sue for defamation. The first reason he gave in his parliamentary speech was that he didn’t want to besmirch his parents’ names. And while I understand it is a hard decision to make, I think he should have made it, because he is not just Lee Hsien Loong, son of Lee Kuan Yew, he is also the Prime Minister of Singapore.
All this just made me wonder what exactly is the check against a corrupt Prime Minister? If nothing is done even when it’s the Prime Minister’s family that is doing the accusation, what exactly is the procedure for making sure a corrupt Prime Minister is punished?
Add to this the fact that the PAP pushed through the Protection From Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) in 2019, and suddenly there isn’t much anyone can do anymore. In Singapore Democratic Party Vs Attorney General, the judge found that the state was the one who needed to prove a particular statement as false. But later on, in The Online Citizen Vs Attorney General, another judge found that the statement maker was the one who needed to prove their statement as true.
I have to wonder if Lee Hsien Yang’s post would have been hit with a Correction Notice if it had been published after POFMA. And if so, what exactly is a potential whistleblower supposed to do to expose a corrupt Prime Minister?
So I’m voting opposition this time around. It is now hard, if not downright impossible, for a corrupt government to be exposed, much less punished. In short, if Singapore is ever taken over by a corrupt government, Singapore would be fucked thanks to these laws like POFMA that the PAP has pushed over the past 55 years. And while there is no guarantee that the opposition won’t abuse the system if they were to be voted into power, I have no doubt in my mind that the PAP would.