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WP politician: No one can guarantee safe elections during Covid-19

Ex-NCMP: "But yes, we should not hold off GE past April 2021"




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Singapore — Workers’ Party politician Yee Jenn Jong has commented in a Facebook post on the law passed by Parliament on Monday (May 4) to allow special arrangements to be made should the people have to go to the polls before the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next General Election must be held by April 14 next year.

Mr Yee, a former Non-Constituency MP, noted that Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing had said the following in Parliament: “In a few short months, the way we live, work and interact with others have changed drastically. Will we revert to the pre-Covid-19 norms? Nobody knows.

“But we cannot plan on the basis that it will. Instead, we need to plan ahead and put in the necessary measures, so that we can hold elections safely even under the new and evolving Covid-19 norms.”

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Mr Yee, correcting Mr Chan, said: “The word should be ‘safer’ and not ‘safely’. No one can guarantee that a GE with Covid-19 still in our midst will be safe.”

“But yes, we should not hold off GE past April 2021 as the term of the current government has to end by then,” he added.

However, Mr Yee hoped that there was no need to use “this passport that has been given to hold the GE in a pandemic and rush to hold it right after the circuit breaker”.

“We have seen how just one or a small handful of cases can explode into a mountain (or should I say Dormitories) of cases if not tackled with full dedication,” he noted.

Mr Yee added: “If by next year, Covid-19 is still there, then it is good to apply these measures to still fulfill our constitution requirements.”

The law passed on Monday, called the Parliamentary Elections (Covid-19 Special Arrangements) Act, is to ensure the safety of voters, candidates and election officials.

It allows some electors who are subject to movement control orders to vote, while excusing some others for not voting. It also allows those intending to stand for election to authorise a representative to file their nomination papers if they are unable or unfit to do so.

Mr Chan, who spoke on behalf of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said when presenting the Bill for debate that planning ahead was the responsible thing to do. /TISG

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