Generals shouldn't shy away from an electoral battle in Punggol East

"The Constitution does not require me to call a by-election within any fixed timeframe. I will carefully consider whether to call a by-election in Punggol East and, if so, when. I assure Singaporeans that I will make my decision based on what is best for the constituents of Punggol East and the country." ~ PM Lee Hsien Loong (
It's good that the Prime Minister is concerned about the constituents of Punggol East and the country; but his decision to call for a by-election should also be seen as being based on what is best for the constituents of Punggol East and the country; and not as what's best for PAP.

How can calling a by-election early, be not good for the country and for the constituents of Punggol East SMC? The calling of a by-election early sends the right signals, strengthens democracy, and ensures that the citizens of Punggol East a properly represented

Even if the Constitution does not require the PM to call for a by-election within a certain time-frame of a seat becoming vacant, the PM himself had set a precedent when he called for a by-election in Hougang 3 months from the time that seat became vacant. The PM cannot now be seen to be unfairly discriminating between the voters of Hougang and those of Punggol East.

And also, Punggol East is a single member constituency, which means that the people who voted, voted for that particular candidate. It is not a Group Representation Constituency, where the PAP Government can argue that the voters voted for the team that stood in the election, and not for any particular individual. 

I think I echo many ordinary Singaporeans when I say that I want Singapore to be led by brave men and women, who have earned their right to govern through a fair electoral battle. Men and women with battle-scars who we can respect as leaders of the nation.

One-third of the Singapore's Cabinet today is made up of former high-ranking Armed Forces officers. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the first General (Brigadier-General) in Singapore to enter politics. And today, we have a deputy Prime Minister (as well as Minister for Home Affairs) and the Transport Minister who were Rear Admirals; the Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, who was Major-General; and the Acting Manpower Minister, who was Brigadier-General. Besides these, Lim Hng Kiang was a high-ranking SAF officer and Lim Swee Say was an SAF scholar. 

It will indeed be very strange if the former Generals, and the PAP Cabinet as a whole, are not seen to be made of tougher material, if they were to shy away from an electoral battle in Punggol East. And also, the constituents of Punggol East will surely punish the PAP for dealing unfairly with the voters there, if there is an undue delay in calling for a by-election in that SMC. 

Unless of course, the boundaries are redrawn and Punggol East becomes part of a GRC in Jurong or somewhere.


Jafri said…
What ever the outcome of the by-election for the Punggol East SMC; it should be interpreted as the votes by the people.
The residence of the said ward is free to choose the best individual among the contesting candidates to represent the ward in the Parliament.