Monday, 14 September 2015

GE2015 results show opposition tide can be 'rolled back': Shanmugam

The nationwide swing
Policies, PM's popularity, PAP's unique bond with people factors for reversal: Shanmugam
By Rachel Chang, Assistant Political Editor, The Sunday Times, 13 Sep 2015

After the 2011 General Election, when the People's Action Party's (PAP's) vote share fell to 60.1 per cent, some thought the opposition tide could not be rolled back in the face of rising diversity in the electorate, Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday.

With the results of the 2015 GE, the PAP showed that "indeed the tide can be rolled back and rolled back in a very substantive way", he said.

Speaking ahead of a "thank you" parade in Nee Soon GRC, which the PAP retained with 66.83 per cent of the votes against a Workers' Party (WP) challenge, he identified factors that accounted for the pro-PAP swing. These were policies that were not just well crafted but well communicated; Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's personal popularity and ability to persuade voters of the Government's message; and young Singaporeans' vindication of the unique relationship the PAP has with the people that makes Singapore special.

This is "the ability of Government to work with the people, for the people, thinking and planning long-term, but also dealing with short-term issues. That is the unique ability that we have that no one, or very few others, have".

Mr Shanmugam said the swing was also a "significant reversal" in support for the WP - the key reason being that voters cannot be hoodwinked. The WP lost Punggol East to the PAP and retained Aljunied GRC and Hougang, but with slimmer margins. Overall, the WP saw a vote slide across the board, from 40-odd per cent in 2011 to 30-odd per cent now, he pointed out.

"The Singapore public, they are very discerning. You can't hoodwink them. You can't leave a lot of questions unanswered... and go to rallies and say, I have answered all the questions," he said.

"You try that, they will punish you. I think in the voting booth, they went in and thought to themselves, there are lots of questions here that (they) have not answered. And why are they not answering?"

"So many unanswered questions relating to millions of dollars, a refusal to answer in Parliament, and statements from the High Court which are highly critical. These are all in people's minds," he said.

"People won't know details, they won't know (the) ins and outs, they won't know balance sheets. But they know something is wrong... they also know there is constant evasion. And you can't take people for granted. The PAP cannot, and the opposition cannot."

The results were a "vindication" of the PAP's approach, which was to make character, integrity and honesty the fundamental qualities a politician here must have.

The landslide win would not be taken for granted, he said, adding that the mandate should be an occasion for "deep reflection and humility", and an impetus to work harder.

"Because our electorate is savvy, sophisticated. You do wrong things, you will get punished. People know that the PAP will keep on its toes, will be accountable and if it doesn't do either, it can be delivered a very sharp lesson."

Yesterday, we went around Nee Soon GRC to thank our residents for their support. Also did a post-GE press briefing before we went for our parade.
Posted by K Shanmugam Sc on Saturday, September 12, 2015

Town council issue not a major factor at ballot box: Low
If it was, WP would have lost Aljunied, he says in response to Shanmugam comments
By Amanda Lee, TODAY, 13 Sep 2015

While he does not want to speculate about whether the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council town council issue affected the Workers’ Party at the ballot box, WP chief Low Thia Khiang thinks that had it been a major factor, the party would have lost Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

His comments to TODAY came after Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam had posited yesterday (Sept 12) that voters did not get enough answers to the town council issue.

When Mr Shanmugam’s remarks were put to him, Mr Low today (Sept 12) reiterated his response after the results were announced — that the voting pattern showed a nationwide swing to the ruling party.

If the issue did have an effect, it would have been on the residents living in Aljunied or Hougang, as they are “directly under the management of the town council”, said Mr Low.

“So, I suppose if it really affected them so much, we would have lost Aljunied GRC,” he concluded, speaking this afternoon on the sidelines of a thank-you parade in Bedok Reservoir Road and Bedok North.

While he does not want to speculate about whether the AHPETC issue affected The Workers' Party at the ballot box at...
Posted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Sunday, September 13, 2015

The WP won the GRC by a whisker, with a 50.95 per cent majority, in a General Election where the People’s Action Party secured a 69.9 per cent popular vote, up from 60.1 per cent four years ago and its highest since 2001.

In Hougang, WP incumbent Png Eng Huat received 57.69 per cent of the votes.

And given the PAP’s improved score across all 29 constituencies, Mr Low said it was “difficult to assess” the impact of the town council issue on the WP.

When asked whether GE 2015 was a wake-up call for the Opposition, Mr Low said that each Opposition party would have its own interpretation of the results and own way to “look at how they should restrategise”, going forward.

“I suppose it’s something for the Opposition to ponder about, but I’m not in the position to say what it is, although we do know what we should do,” he added.

For now, the WP has a chance to win back more support in Aljunied, where residents burst into cheers as their Members of Parliament-elect did their rounds today.

Some residents were swinging the party flag, while two teenagers were seen chasing after the team, who were perched on a truck, to hand them a handmade WP banner.

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