Singapore — In an address to the nation on Tuesday (June 23), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that, in order to hold the General Election, he needed to be certain of two things: That people can vote safely and that political parties can campaign effectively.
He said: “After studying the issues, I am satisfied that both of these can be done.”
However, he also said that it would not be a “normal election campaign”.
For safe voting, the Prime Minister said that the Elections Department will be implementing additional precautions for the day of the elections. There will be more polling stations than in previous elections, in order to reduce crowding. There will also be safe distancing measures at the polling stations. Voters will also be given particular time slots for casting their ballots, with the elderly being given first priority in voting.
As for effective campaigning, the Elections Department has also issued certain guidelines. While candidates will be allowed to go house to house as in elections past, they will be required to observe safe distancing precautions. And since rallies will not be permitted during this time, the Prime Minister assured the public that candidates would be given sufficient time to address voters directly on television, as well as online via live streaming.
He said: “Singapore is not the first to hold an election during Covid-19. Others have done so too, South Korea, Taiwan and several European countries. With our arrangements and precautions in place I am confident we can hold a proper and safe election.”
#FBLive: PM Lee giving a live national address on 23 June 2020, 4pm.
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, June 23, 2020
He added that at this time the Government will continue to do its job with the Cabinet taking charge even as Parliament has been dissolved. Public service will still continue. And although this has been the case in every election in the nation’s history, Prime Minister Lee wanted to emphasise this point in particular now, “because of the vital operations ongoing now against Covid-19, sustaining the economy and protecting jobs”.
He assured the public that the Ministerial Task Force will still lead the nation in the Government’s response to the pandemic. Households and companies will continue to receive the assistance that they need at this time.
At the end of his speech, the Prime Minister said that the coming General Election will be like no other in Singapore’s history, not just because of Covid-19, but because of the gravity of the situation as well as the issues at stake.
“The Government that you elect will have critical decisions to make. These decisions will impact your lives and livelihood and shape Singapore for many years to come, far beyond the five-year term of the next government.
“Soon you will have the chance to decide whom to entrust with the responsibility of working with you to take our country forward. I have every confidence that you will think carefully and vote wisely to secure our lives, our jobs, and our future.” /TISG