Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Truth No.1: SDP not interested in elections

SDP finds it real difficult to participate in elections. In its articles, SDP states the many obstacles and challenges in participating in elections in Singapore. However, these challenges prevail even in the Western liberal states.

"Redrawn constituencies are not announced until the last minute."

This happens in many countries in the world. Singapore is a small island state and cannot afford to have political parties that are just keen to serve a small section of the population. Having the constituencies announced late will ensure that politicians derive popular support from the masses. A fixed boundary will give SDP an advantage since it can just concentrate on a group of constituents and neglect the rest.

"The GRC system makes it much harder for campaigning."

Till today, SDP still has no better alternatives to the GRC system in maintaining racial representation in parliament.

"Ballot papers are numbered."

When asked in Parliament by DPM Wong Kan Seng, WP chief Low Thia Kiang said he believed that voting is secret in Singapore. WP has an elected MP and a NCMP. SDP is merely using excuses to justify its poor electoral vote count. Ballot numbers help in ensuring that each piece of voting slip is genuine and that the ballot papers cannot be duplicated easily. Many non-profit organisation adopts the serialised ballot papers during their AGM voting processes.

"The campaign period lasts for only nine days."

SDP is vocal and is strong in rhetoric. A draggy campaign period will benefit itself because it can launch vocal attacks at other parties and hopefully gain sympathy votes. WP and SDA are able to win their seats even for a 9-day campaigning period because they have done their ground work regularly in their constituencies. Likewise for the PAP. SDP needs a long campaign period because it does not commit itself to grassroots work. Take for instance, the Tak Boleh Tahan campaign that it launched for the needy in Singapore. Money went into the pockets of SDP and the campaign now can no longer tahan anymore.

'threatening voters through HDB upgrading. The prime minister in a rare moment of honesty admitted that he needs to "fix" the opposition and "buy" votes.'

Other opposition parties can win seats despite such disincentives to vote them in. Stop finding excuses, SDP! Giving incentives for constituents is part and parcel of political campaigning and it takes place in every single country in the world!

"All this does not even include the fact that the entire media is in the hands of the PAP making it near impossible for voters to read and hear the alternative views."

Voters are able to use the internet to choose what they want to read. Another excuse given by the SDP because SDP readership is now lower and that's because Singaporeans have lost faith in SDP.

"So what should the opposition do? We have a choice: (a) boycott the elections or (b) take part in it. Option (a) is not feasible unless all the opposition parties agree to the boycott and then strategically work to force a reform of the electoral system.

Given the present state of affairs, we are left with only option (b). But even as we participate in the elections, we will not stop there. We will use the opportunity during elections to educate Singaporeans and raise awareness of the need for reform."

Boycotting the elections happen to be a choice for SDP. Boycotting elections is not a democratic action and surprisingly, the party that calls its members Democrats believe that boycotting elections is a choice! SDP is reluctantly participating in elections presently. That explains why it is not serious in fighting for what citizens really need -- healthy economy, high living standards.

This brings us to the conclusion that SDP is not interested in elections. It is participating in elections because it has no choice to do so!

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