Speculation that the next General Election (GE) may take place as early as this year is rife, especially after the Elections Department (ELD) called for a second tender in two months.
Last month, the ELD called a tender for the provision of bus transportation services to support election operations. On Wednesday (10 July), the ELD put up another tender for the printing, packing and delivery of documents.
Tender documents available on government procurement portal, GeBiz, show that the services required include the printing of items such as printed cards, forms, posters and signs, as well as the provision of items like ballot box funnels and plastic folders.
The documents also show that the ELD requires delivery services, where manpower and vehicles are needed to deliver documents tonomination centres, Group Assistant Returning Officer centres, Senior Assistant Returning Officer or counting centres and the Elections Department training centre.
The contractor who is selected with also need to provide a secured storage facility for election materials that is protected by surveillance cameras and physical access control. Those interested to submit a tender must do so by 5 Aug.
While some have speculated that this new tender signals that the next GE (which must be held by April 2021) is just around the corner, the contract is valid for three years to cover the next GE and any by-elections.
The contract can also be extended yearly for a maximum of two years, to cover the next Presidential Election (which must take place by 2023) and any by-elections that occur before the extension period is up.
A better indication of when the GE might occur would be the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC), which decides how electoral wards should be drawn or altered.
The formation of the EBRC preceded the 2015 General Election by just over a month. Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in Parliament on Monday (8 July) that the Prime Minister is yet to appoint the EBRC. -/TISG