Singapore—Dr Tan Cheng Bock led a small group of Progress Singapore Party (PSP) members at a walkabout at Mayflower Market on the morning of June 19, the first day Singapore exited phase 1 of the Circuit Breaker.
In an exclusive interview with The Independent Singapore, Dr Tan was asked about the biggest challenges that the PSP will be facing in the upcoming elections.
He mentioned how because of the pandemic, the ways in which political parties rally support from the people has changed dramatically.
Dr Tan lamented: “It’s a different way of campaigning now from the old way, when we were quite used to big rallies and also going house to house…and we also had a mobile unit for running around.
There’s a lot of restraints now put on all these methods of campaigning, in particular rallies. Rallies are the best chance for us to convey the message to the ground. But with this crisis there will be some restrictions.
Rallies are now replaced by the television screen. And that also depends on the time that is given to the opposition parties. If the opposition is given too little time, we are at a disadvantage. We will not be able to tell all our policies within the given time.
Also, it is more difficult now for us to visit our individual wards.
I’m going to have to look at all the restrictions and conditions of conducting this campaign.”
In addition, Dr Tan argued the ministerial speeches that began on June 7 have sidelined the opposition parties further, as the speeches are a means for the ruling party to start their campaigning process.
He explained: “Everybody thinks that the election is going to come very fast. This short runway is going to affect us because the government has already been campaigning through the speeches that they gave. But really they are miles ahead of us already. And now they’re only going to give us one or two weeks to campaign I think it’s very unfair.”
Like many others, Dr Tan shared his view that with the volatile situation revolving around the pandemic, it is the wrong time for elections to be held. His main concern was directed towards the elderly, who are the most vulnerable should the elections be held.
He stressed that “the peoples interest must come first, the people’s health must come first.”
Dr Tan reiterated that politics should take a back seat during this time. He mentioned that he had written a proposal revolving around the elections, giving the ruling party “options” about the elections.
He shared his final thoughts on the coming election: “We are prepared to think of a constitutional change is our ultimate goal is our people, or people must come first. You may win the battle but you may lose the war. And this may have a serious implications for older generations, all our grandparents and people like me, 80 years old, you see, there’s a gamble.“-/TISG