[The teacher withholds a sweet candy and demands the naughty boy to behave properly. ‘No improvement, no candy’, the teacher sets the rules. What happens when the teacher misbehaves or performs poorly?]
In 2011 General Election, voters in Aljunied were pre-warned of the consequence if they vote for Workers’ Party. They will be ‘repented’. Really! Is the withholding of $7 million grant a repent? Is this the first repent? Will the PAP also receive a repent from the voters in Singapore?
Perhaps, we look at the following analysis to have a better understanding of the PAP:
$ Strategic option for the PAP.
$ Perception of the PAP - change or no change.
$ To call election sooner or later.
It is a PAP continued effort to fit the oppositions.
When GRC was introduced in 1980s, the purpose was to prevent oppositions for entering the parliament. The PAP government then introduced town council management and warned voters about the rubbish problems. A mismanaged town can have rubbish as high as two or three story high. Voters ignored this repent warning. In 2011, when the PAP knew they might lose a GRC, they again issued a repent warning. Now we know it is a repent warning of rubbish as what Minister Khaw told parliament yesterday:
"MND is mindful that the suspension does not unwittingly result in the town council not being able to pay its essential services, leading to hardship for local residents," he said. #1
‘Hardship for local residents’, is this a repent?
This shows the continued effort of the PAP to ‘repent’ voters voting for the oppositions. And this is the PAP tradition. As expected when you read the mainstream media today, you will see ‘astounding’,’benefit friends’,’transparency’, ‘accountability’, ‘honesty’ etc.
Will the traditional strategy work this time? Considering the declining popularity of the PAP, it may be the best option to stop the decline. We know the PAP is not creative people. They can’t find a better solution for their dilemma - gaining support without discrediting others.
In a Blackbox survey on Singapore government, there is no significant difference of satisfaction in the beginning (72%) and ending (73%) of 2014.
National mood indicators#2
The above also shows there is no improvement in national mood in 2014. Has it improved since 2011? Very unlikely. The trend is still pointing down.
Interestingly, the survey gives the following prediction:
How are Singaporeans Calling the Next Election?
Our polling through 2014 showed that with the exception of those living centrally, an increasing number of Singaporeans think the Government will secure less than a 60% vote at the next election. Results suggest that outside the upper middle class set living in the middle of the island, Singaporeans are sensing that the stakes are competitive and that the Government will have to argue its case across a range of issues not necessarily working its way at present. 2015 is shaping up as an interesting year.
If you are the leaders of the PAP, what will you do if the prediction is pointing to below 60%? What option does the PAP have to prevent the decline? We all know in 2011, the popularity votes for PAP vs. WP is 55%:45%, the decline in PAP popularity will result to more seats lost to WP. In fact, WP is the only party that can deny PAP two-thirds majority based on 2011 statistics.
One will also have to consider the Blackbox survey a conservative or revolution one. The actual picture may be worst than expected. It seems the only rational PAP option is to go back to the past tradition to continue to discredit the oppositions.
The fixing has failed to change the perception of the PAP.
SG50, CPF review and other policy changes are additional strategies to stop the decline in popularity. However, these are changes that will not affect voter’s perception. All these changes are ‘reality’ changes in paper, especially in MSM.
Singaporeans think the PAP has not changed. Talk is cheap, in the parliament or in the media. The perception is the PAP is always in talking, in fixing the oppositions, controlling everything from CPF, Temasek, GIC to ISA.
In the past, when the opposition was made to look weak, voters had no alternatives and formed a good perception of PAP. Naturally, voters looked for the PAP logo to cross. This explains why the PAP popularity was so high then. However, the perception has changed. Now, voters will think and try to avoid putting a cross on the PAP logo.
To Singapore voters, their perception towards oppositions and the PAP has changed. And the PAP fails to give them the perception change they want. Blackbox survey’s prediction above in fact indicates the rich-poor gap in Singapore, reflecting the voting pattern that lower and middle income voters feel they have not benefited from the PAP policies.
It is better to call the election early than late.
Minister Khaw’s ‘astounding’ and Minister Shanmugam’s ‘benefitting friends’ want to project the moral high ground of the PAP. In fact, ministries and statutory boards also face lapse problems.
Report of Auditor-General 2013/2014#3
In this year’s audits, AGO observed instances of lapses in the administration of grants, schemes and programmes which raised concern over whether public funds were used appropriately. AGO also found instances of weak management resulting in waste.
There is no guarantee that these lapses have been rectified or solved. There is also no guarantee instances like Sengkang West will develop into a major lapse.
In view of this, the PAP will be in better position to call the election sooner than later. The PAP’s perception of inflexibility in dealing with social issues like Thaipusam will worsen its image.
Economy and personal finances in the Blackbox survey also point to more dissatisfaction. The PAP government is not able to solve these problems before 2016. It is better to follow Japan’s Abe to call for early election.