Tomorrow is Polling Day.
This is only the second time I will be voting in the GE because for earlier elections, I was living in a constituency led by LKY with walkover each time.
My first election was 2011 as resident in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
During one instance then, I was having breakfast at hawker centre when Chiam See Tong walked up and shake hand with me. Never mind his frail physique, I felt the sincerity, commitment and passion.
Mr. Chiam was contesting against PAP led by the then DPM Wong Kan Seng, whose popularity had visibly declined over the escape of Mas Selamat few years before!
Back then, Singapore economy recovered extremely fast from GFC. Yet, we faced problems of rising cost, especially in housing, loose immigration policy, overcrowding etc
That same year I was constant traveling for work. I watched most of the rallies in Hotel while on a business trip in Houston USA. It was also an election that sees WP coming into power, with PAP suffered their worst showing in history.
What has changed in the last four years?
Let's take a look at some of the issues and compare then and now.
Cost of living. Cost albeit not reduce has not increased exceedingly either. This is particularly the case in Housing, due to the series of measures implemented to curb speculation. On the contrary, Car COE took a big step up since 2011. GST stayed the same at 7% since 2007.
Tighter labour policy. It's pretty obvious in restaurants and retail shops you see lesser migrant workers. Companies also see rising cost due to manpower crunch, lowering down the margins. The positive impact for some could be a better working environment and improvement in service quality.
Overcrowding problem. It's no better now and with MRT breakdown frequently, it adds fuel to fire. More hospitals are in the plan since, such as extension of Raffles Hospital, Ng Teng Feng Hospital etc. More retail malls both in town and in suburban to diverse crowds too.
CPF. Highlights are minimum sum (MS) last rose in 2014 to $155k and expected to be raised to 161k this year. The MS for 2011 was $131k. In addition, my employer contribution increased from 15.5% before election in 2011 to 17% currently.
Medical care. Medishield life to replace Medishield by end 2015. Read Bigfatpurse elaboration here and here.
In this election, it is highly possible that the deceased of LKY and the country celebrating SG50 will rouse emotions of Singaporeans. The current poor economic outlook might also lead citizens to view stability and track records more critically than the last election. In my opinion PAP had also better their performance in the last four years compared to the last (2006-2011).
Therefore, I reckon PAP will improve their performance in terms of total number of votes in this GE. Yet, whether PAP can still hold on or better their total number seats remain unseen.
Other than WP, the rest of the opposition is really too weak. WP is seen by many opposition supporter as an organise and well-discipline unit, who sensibly indicated their intention is not to start a new government now, but rather to provide more checks and balance. I also see little effect from the town council issues affecting their votes, as levelheaded Singaporeans will probably see it more as a pure "political" squabbles between the two parties.
To me, both PAP or WP are good parties with a common goal to better Singaporean's lives. I am grateful to see good people working hard for our country, our people, and our future generations. I am even more grateful that Singaporeans do not have natural disasters and crime rates are low.
Ok, less than 12h before voting starts!