Responding to widespread speculation that the next General Election (GE) will be called in July, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) added that they considered such a move “reckless”.
In a post on their website yoursdp.org, the party wrote that having just emerged from a two-month lockdown, “The government is still trying to figure out how to handle this period”.
They explained that calling for a GE while the pandemic and its aftermath is still evolving would “needlessly jeopardise the safety and health of Singaporeans”.
Cautioning the incumbents against holding a GE, the SDP asked that the People’s Action Party (PAP) ministers and government agencies focus all their attention and resources to ensure that another breakout of the virus does not occur.
The party added that in March, “ministers started their election campaigns taking their eyes off the ball and causing a massive surge in infections”, and the urged that a similar mistake not be made again.
“As the GE does not need to be held until April 2021, there is no need for it to be squeezed in July 2020. It can still be comfortably held in the last quarter of this year”, they wrote.
Before concluding their post, the SDP repeated: “The PAP committed a grave error in March when it ignored the SDP’s warning against preparing for an election which led to tens of thousands of infections and a lockdown which has caused enormous damage to our economy including business closures and job losses”.
They pushed that the incumbents focus on reopening the economy “right before recklessly calling the GE in July”.
The next GE is due to be held by April 14, 2021, after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee was convened on August 1, 2019 and its report released on 13 March 2020.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in an interview with CNA that “elections are coming nearer by the day, and you have to be prepared for it”. The Straits Times on Saturday also reported that the election could be held in July.
However, with much uncertainty ahead, opposition parties such as the Workers’ Party have asked for more information on the GE.
“While Singaporeans continue to focus on overcoming COVID-19, general elections are an essential feature of our democracy that should not be taken lightly,” the party said.
“Contesting parties should know the ground rules as soon as possible, in order to be well-prepared to offer Singaporean voters their best efforts at the polls”, they added. /TISG
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