1. Disunity of opposition – we have a disunited opposition and a united front looks almost impossible. A splinter divided opposition will only benefit PAP. Even if WP win more seats this year and in future election, it will not be able to completely dislodge them from power. At worse, PAP will find another smaller winning opposition party to form a coalition government with.
A united opposition front is what we should aim for and that will send shudders down PAP’s spine.
2. New citizen votes – new citizens will continue to play a big role in this coming election with almost 250,000 of them voting for the first or second time. In 2011, almost 120,000 new citizens voted mostly for the first time and they managed to counter the swing votes from former PAP supporters. Their total votes will comprise about 12% of the estimated 2,400,000 voting electorate in 2015.
3. Loyal senior citizen voters – our senior citizens still continue to vote for the government even though they are played out through the CPF system and many vote because of LKY – their benefactor. It is envisaged that many may consider voting for the opposition when LKY is gone. There are at least more than 300,000 senior citizens now aged 65 years old and above and the government is counting alot on them.
4. Immigration exodus of pro-opposition Singaporeans – at least 300,000 Singaporeans now work and live abroad and they are mostly anti-establishment. In 2011, less than 10% of them voted and if the opposition could launch a campaign to persuade this huge group of overseas Singaporeans to vote, we may see more seats fall to the opposition. Lack of sufficient convenient voting stations abroad is the main reason for the poor voting turn-out of overseas Singaporeans.
5. Civil servants – more than 80% of our civil servants should vote for the government out of fear and loyalty. Many don’t want to bite the hand that feed them and even though they may be unwilling, they still vote for their paymaster out of gratitude. Though our civil servants don’t earn alot, it is still a stable job and sufficient to put food on the table for the family – especially crucial during this tumultous time.
6. Redrawing of boundaries – a friend told me he just receives his keys to his new BTO flat in Punggol but he is being placed under AMK GRC! The redrawing of electorade boundaries will definitely benefit the PAP as they could do so to their benefit. The size of GRCs were also reduced to prevent a big group of PAP MPs losing their seats like in the Aljunied GRC. WP should win at least two GRCs in including Aljunied.
7. Voting habit – voting is a strange habit and it takes alot for people to swing their votes to the opposition. Seventy percent of people also vote for the same party because they fear that amending their vote may bring forth adverse changes. Things like losing their jobs to foreigners or their homes due to unfortunate circumstances may however be strong reasons for them to swing their votes despite the psychological fear of the unknown. There is no point for a person to loyally part their vote for a certain party if his basic survival is at risk.
8. Power of money – though many people mock at the PAP’s pork barrel politics, it still wields certain influence especially for the poor voters. Barely surviving already, when a certain party throws some money to these voters, some may bite and vote for them out of gratitude. So we foresee for the coming election, money politics will come into use especially when 40% of our population earns only $2000 and below. Moreover, this year is the 50th year of our independence and it will favour PAP alot if they call for an election towards end of August after a grand gala celebration.
9. Upgrading and property appreciation – the government knows that Singaporeans are very asset conscious and used the threat of property devaluation to coerce them into voting for them. Without upgrading priority for opposition wards, many voters vote unwillingly for the incumbent so that their property won’t depreciate.
10. Lack of credible opposition candidates – this is still the biggest Archille heel of the opposition. Many candidates are put through last minute and they lack both the ground and public speaking experience. Candidates for the opposition change every election and there is not enough continuity and familiarity for the electorate to feel comfortable with. Many voters are willing to give the opposition a chance if they are credible enough and belongs to a good party.
Editor’s note: this article was posted in 2014.