Gilbert Goh: Ten tactics PAP may use to stay in power

Ten tactics PAP may use for the next general election to try and stay in power:-

1. Threats – as usual the ruling party will use a series of threats to coax the population into voting for them and forsake the opposition party.
As Workers’ Party is their main threat now, they will focus their attacks on them viz-a-viz AHPTC red-card report and their recent suit case with NEA.
Their relentless attack on WP since the loss of Aljunied GRC in the previous election is also a form of deterrance that future position GRC wards will expect the same kind of harassment.
They will also focus on their usual main threat that no opposition party is capable of forming the next government and so Singaporeans should not anyhow vote for the opposition party to prevent a freak result.
Its still unsure how such threats against WP will work against the dominant opposition party but some fence-sitters will believe such fabrications and vote for the ruling party.
As Singaporeans are quite fearful people, threats do work in a certain way for a segment of the population unless the alternative provides a better option which allows them to overcome their fear.

2. Carrots – PAP will use alot of carrots to soften the ground before the call for general election especially with the 50th-year anniversary gala celebration next year.
It may target the carrots on the middle ground which is suffering the brunt of rising cost of living and stagnanted wages.
A minimum wage of some sort may even be introduced for the low-waged workers similar to those for cleaners working in the PAP town councils. As many as 200,000 low-waged Singaporean workers earn $1500 and below.
Property taxes may be reduced and the current GST levy maintain to spread the goodwill around.

3. Character asassination – candidates standing for election may have their character assassinated especially if they have a case against them.
Opposition parties need to vet their candidates carefully to prevent the ruling party from gaining the upper hand.
Spencer, a candidate for NSP’s Marine Parade GRC, was badly exposed in the government-controlled TNP days before the voting began as Nicole Seah was successfully leading the headway for the party in her GRC.
Character assassination not only led to voters’ doubt but also create disharmony which can split the party as members take side on who to support.

4. Defamation suit – threats of defamation suits in the past have deterred credible candidattes from standing for election and though the previous election is clean of such legal pursuit, I will not be surprised if the opposition party candidates are sued after the next election to make the environment more difficult for people to stand against the ruling party.
Its one effective way to scare off potential opposition candidates.

5. 3-cornered fights – the electoral re-zoning may produce more single wards which naturally will invite more 3-cornered fights as its easier to field a candidate than 4 or 5 candidates for a GRC ward.
Though many people have say that WP won the Punggol East SMC by-election despite engaging in a 4-cornered fight, I still believed that 3-cornered fight will split the votes especially if such fights involve big boys like PAP, WP and SDP.
The opposition camp should sit down and strategise on which party should contest which area based on their overall previous electoral result than going on traditional voting pattern based on past contest.
For example, WP should have a better reception if they can take on Punggol-Pasir Ris GRC due to it’s proximity to Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East.

6. LKY factor – during the 50th year anniversary celebration next year, LKY may be mobilised to make many grand appearances to influence the pioneer generation to believe that the country belongs to PAP.
Those who are sitting on the fence may decide to vote for the ruling party out of loyalty.
LKY still yields much influence despite his fraility and can help to restore some faith in the party – at least for a while.

7. New citizens – record number of new citizens will be encouraged to take up citizenship so that they can be eligible to vote for the next election.
It is estimated that 75% of new citizens will cast their vote for the ruling party out of gratitude and loyalty.
An average of between 15,000 to 17,000 new citizens have converted to our citizenship yearly for the past ten years making them potential game-changer for the next election.
New citizens will be the ruling party’s latest trump card and may even help them to stay in power for the long term.

8. Fresh new candidates – the ruling party may retire many old candidates to freshen up the candidate choices.
We may see more new incoming candidates who are currently serving the ground so that they are seen as walking the talk kind than one that is parachuted from nowhere just because he is a medical doctor or top-notched lawyer.

9. Last term as PM – the party may ask the electorate to vote for the PAP as it will be PM’s last term especially when he has already found a potential successor.
Many Singaporeans dislike the PM because he is very detached from the ground and over-focused on economic matters.
He will also bulldoze policies without a second thought.
If enough assurance is given that this will be his last election, Singaporeans may decide to vote for the party as they like the PAP but not the leader.

10. Race card – the ruling party may decide to use the race card again in a desperate bid to hang on to power.
It was not used for the last election as 40% of the population decided to go with the opposition.
It is thought that the Malay voters have all along voted for the ruling party but times have changed as the Malays now face stiff competition from foreigners in the work places.
Traditional Malay favourite employment sectors such as the retail and F & B are now taken over by foreigners forcing many of them to scrap the barrel.
Half of those who applied for financial assistance at CDCs are also thought to be Malays.

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