It did not come as a surprise that the ruling party didn’t manage to get majority seats in parliament this year – given the various upheavals last year – ranging from the discourse from the Chinese on the advantage that the Malays in Malaysia get to the discrimination of Indians in the Malay-majority community. Not only did the ruling party failed to retain all of its 12 states, it also didn’t manage to get the state it’s been eyeing on – Kelantan. Apparently, they tried a rather familiar method used in Singapore – dangling the carrot – promising to throw in millions of top dollars for better development of the Kelantan state.

That, unfortunately, didn’t go on as planned.

Earlier in the day, one would have thought that the ruling party would have gotten at ;east 2/3 majority of the parliament seats – which according to Singapore’s ruling party, is still a strong mandate (2/3 = 66.7%). However, near closing, the ruling party only got 137 out of 222 seats, which is just 61.7% – about 5% shy of the majority they need. Even if they get the remaining 3 seats, it’d still just be about 63.1%. Still no strong mandate.

Ultimately, what this means in Malaysia’s politics is that the ruling party will not be able to change the constitution as and when they want – which requires a 2/3 majority vote in parliament and that everyone in the ruling party is supposed to follow the party whip.

Of course, at this time, PM Abdullah is still showing no signs of distress – and only God knows how long he’d be able to keep this up. While some people expect him to step down from the party, it seems unlikely that he’d do so.

This election broke the party’s 50-year rule and is representative that of the people’s fatigue against the ruling party. Indeed, the people has shown that they wanted better change – a change they can believe in amidst inflation and rising crimes. This is also a means of quiet demonstration – where the disgruntled do not head out to the streets like the Indians did last year, but rather, they decide to cast their votes where their views are.

So, how does this affect Singapore?

Every single thing, of course. Malaysia is Singapore’s closing neighbour and legislation on trade and economy sometimes have a direct effect. Whether it’s for the better or for the worse is speculative. On the other hand, things may just remain status quo as long as Abdullah remains as PM.

From a deeper perspective, these kind of results is something that will not be witnessed in Singapore. Besides having mouse memory, Singaporeans tend to be a forgiving lot whenever honest mistakes were made by the ruling party. In addition, dangling carrots will probably wash off all bad memories that any people have of the government.

For the next election, eyes will be on the Potong Pasir ward – where incumbent Chiam See Tong had been maintaining his stronghold for 6 terms. He had been pushing hard for upgrading in his precinct, which has always been delayed. In addition, he is said to have suffered a minor stroke this year, which may be detrimental against him when the next election comes. It is therefore important for political parties to bring in fresh blood and present them to the public as soon as possible – to ensure that faces will not be too new when the next election comes.

Besides the Potong Pasir ward, the ruling party also had near misses in various wards, including Aljunied and Cheng San. Some have thought the near misses to be wake-up calls for the government to pull up their socks, while others thought that it could just be freak results. If the latter is true, then there is a chance that the people will be more cautious of their votes in the next election.

All in all, Singapore is seen to have a weak opposition and it is unlikely that there will an upset similar to that seen in Malaysia in this recent election. However, I am sure that the Singapore government is not letting up and will be coming up with more plans to ensure that they get most, if not all seats in parliament. his usually comes in the form of dangling carrots, after giving the stick for that few years in between elections – some of which includes raising ERP gantries, GST, and non-intervention in rising inflation. However, these may always be measures that only the government can understand.

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