IS THE OPPOSITION PREPARED FOR THE COMING GE?

Dear Editor, 
 
I refer to the article PAP'S FREEDOM TO CALL ELECTIONS WHENEVER THEY SHIOK IS UNFAIR TO OPPOSITION, which is a simplistic analysis of our political system and one that indulges the political opposition in its supposed disadvantge. 
 
While there is some truth in the fact that the ruling PAP can call for election any time, anyone who keeps up with political news, and I am sure opposition politicians do, can be well-versed in reading the signs of a coming election. 
 
In the past GE in 2006 and 2011, elections were called shortly after Budget Debate and electoral boundaries were redrawn. The opposition typically have two months or more to get their machinery up and running even without the official announcement of polling day. 
 
In 2006, new electoral boundaries were announced on 4 Mar and polling day was 6 May. In 2011, electoral boundaries were redrawn on 24 Feb and polling day was 7 May. 
 
Even without new electoral boundaries, observers point to many signs that elections will be held in 2015 or early 2016. First is the announcement of Pioneer Generation Package and Medishield Life. Jointly, these two schemes will address the increasing costs of healthcare, a hot election topic. Second, government has ramped up building of HDB flats and ECs to fulfill demand and prevent prices from taking off. Transport seems to be the main bugbear which has proven to be difficult tackle even for the PAP puppet masters who have money, people and policies at their disposal. 
 
End-2014, civil servants have been assigned roles for the next GE and a check with showed that they are currently under-going training for the big event.  On 7th April 2015, the electoral roll was updated and the 2,460,484 eligible voters can check their particulars in the Registers of Electors through the Elections Department website, at its Prinsep Link premises, or at community centres.
 
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that the next General Elections 'may not be when everybody is expecting it'. But is it really that unpredictable? The period of June to early August 2015 is ruled out because of SEA Games and SG50 celebrations. October to December 2015 is also ruled out because of national exams, school holiday and families being out of Singapore. 
 
So that leaves late August and September 2015 as a very possible election date especially when national fervour of SEA Games and SG50 celebrations is at its peak. Early 2016 after the Lunar New Year may be another option but Singaporeans might have already 'forgotten' about the generous policies and feel-good factor. 
 
In conclusion, what is really unfair to the opposition, and us voters, is their own poor preparation for the looming elections. In 2011, WP announced their election manifesto in January, nearly five months before polling day, demonstrating that they were ready to battle with the PAP jaggernaunt. But for 2015, none of the opposition parties have announced their election manifesto yet. 
 
As a voter, I have voted for both the PAP and the opposition, especially if the latter is able to produce eligible and capable candidates. But for an entire opposition party to be regarded as one that is strong enough to challenge the PAP as the next government, it has to be one that will stop complaining and work past the obstacles that the PAP has put up.  
 
Seng Khiang
ASS Contributor

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