Singapore — With the people coming down from the high of the 2020 General Election, former People’s Action Party MP Inderjit Singh has taken to Facebook to share his insights into the electoral results.
Even though the PAP managed to take 83 of the 93 seats contested, this election proved to be a landmark one because it conceded yet another GRC to the opposition Workers’ Party.
Mr Singh has split his thoughts on the elections into two posts, with the first covered in this report. He states why this was a watershed election, discusses how the people voted and how the campaign style affected them.
Reflections on GE 2020 (Part 1 of 2)This is the first General Election since 1984 where I have watched it from the…
Mr Singh began by highlighting how the 2015 elections were an anomaly owing to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s death and the outpouring of sentiment following it.
“Comparing GE2011 to GE2020, at this GE, the PAP saw a 1% improvement over GE2011. But can this 1% increase over 2011 be considered a real improvement?” he asked, eliminating the 2015 elections from his analysis due to their anomalous nature.
He went on to classify the voters in the recent elections into four main groups and to discuss their voting patterns:
Nearly 80%-90% of older voters voted for the incumbent out of gratitude for “bringing them from third world to first world in their lifetime” and improving their lives vastly. The Pioneer Generation package served as the icing on the cake because it helps them in their retirement.
With heartlanders being mainly concerned with bread and butter issues and having received substantial financial support in the recent months through the 4 budgets, 80%-90% of them would have voted for the PAP as well.
Mr Singh also alluded PAP’s win to the timing of the elections because the opposition parties would have found it difficult to connect with these voters without physical rallies.
This group, specifically the millennials, would most likely have voted against the PAP. Influenced heavily by social media, they were more interested in seeing a diversity of views in Parliament and refused to accept the bureaucratic style of the PAP.
These were described as being social media friendly intellectuals who were the swing voters in these elections. Made up primarily of PMETs and underemployed citizens mainly in the gig economy due to the unavailability of relevant jobs, the PAP’s failure to attract this group was what led to its failure in these elections.
“The PAP talked about the ‘what’ but could not convince Singaporeans on the ‘how’ — How will the good jobs come about?”
Mr Singh compared the PAP’s campaigning tactics this time to those employed during elections in the 1980s and 1990s. “Many have frowned upon personal attacks, name-calling and character assassination. Further, police investigations and POFMA also appeared to rile voters up.”
He said that the opposition, on the other hand, seemed to take the high road, focusing more on attacking policies as opposed to individuals. Younger voters were especially riled up over the allegations against popular WP member Raeesah Khan. This tipped the scales in their favour in the recent elections.
Mr Singh also felt that the PAP’s manifesto this year was weak, with it focusing more on the issues raised by the opposition rather than solving existing issues.
He added that it was essential to spend time on the ground and that this was what led to the nascent Progress Singapore Party’s loss in these elections.
Many online took the time to comment on Mr Singh’s analysis of the elections.