SINGAPORE: Pro-People’s Action Party (PAP) fanpage, Fabrications About the PAP, raised eyebrows this week after publishing a social media post that seemed to suggest that members of the opposition may be privy to the timing of the next general election.

Fabrications made this insinuation as it denigrated Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Hazel Poa’s recent public appeal for a used phone to benefit a needy Singaporean.

Characterizing Ms Poa’s appeal as a “wayang” (a Malay term for theatrical performance), Fabrications provocatively questioned, “GE coming soon?” This insinuation hints that opposition parties like the PSP might possess confidential information regarding the timing of the polls, a privilege not extended to ordinary citizens.

However, the reality is that opposition parties in Singapore operate in the dark, much like the general public.

The timing of the general election is at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister, providing the ruling party with the advantage of planning campaign and outreach activities more strategically. In contrast, opposition parties are left to speculate and prepare without any definitive timeline until the election is officially announced.

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The ramp up of posts and comments by pro-PAP accounts like Fabrications could, instead, be a stronger clue that the election is nearer than the legal deadline of late-2025. These pages are perceived to be part of the PAP’s controversial internet brigade (IB) – a group of individuals who actively support and promote the policies and viewpoints of the ruling party online.

The PAP IB is known for engaging in online discussions, defending the party against criticism, and promoting its initiatives. Members often participate in forums, social media groups, and comment sections to counter negative opinions and to provide a positive narrative about the PAP and its leaders.

While the exact structure and organization of the PAP IB are not publicly detailed, it is believed to consist of both formal members and volunteers who are sympathetic to the party’s cause. These individuals may receive guidance or talking points from the party, though the extent of this aspect is unconfirmed.

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The PAP IB is a contentious entity in Singapore’s political landscape, with criticism for engaging in astroturfing—creating the illusion of widespread grassroots support. There are concerns about the authenticity of the support generated by such brigades, as orchestrated efforts can undermine genuine grassroots movements.

The aggressive tactics that members of the IB employ have also been slammed for stifling legitimate dissent and suppressing free expression. Some IB accounts have even been caught spreading falsehoods online, although they have not been publicly rapped on the knuckle by the country’s anti-fake news law.

Less than a month ago, socio-political commentator Andrew Loh predicted that the elections may be on the horizon after an account complained on Workers’ Party MP Jamus Lim’s page, saying that Blocks 370A, 370B, 370C, and 380 Anchorvale are not cleaned and maintained well.

Assoc Prof Lim, however, pointed out that these blocks do not exist in his ward.

Sharing a screenshot of this exchange on social media, along with evidence that these blocks are nonexistent, Mr Loh opined: “Elections coming. Look out for these sort of smears and falsehoods circulating. I live in Anchorvale. There are no such blocks here.”

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