Wednesday, April 13, 2005


There is a constant call for Reforms to our electoral rules to make our elections "free, fair and clean". The following is a passionate call from an internet forumite, DeArcher, from Sammyboy's.

Although I don't agree with him that we could achieve anything through the boycott of any elections, but I think we could do something in terms of collaborating with other alternative political parties to come up with a list of reforms that we think would be beneficial to our Nation.

Goh Meng Seng

By DeArcher


Mr Goh, I am sure that you knew a splintered opposition will gather no strength, and be easy prey to the ruling regime. You want to argue against that? Of course not. You may also know that bickering within the various opposition parties, whether to score political capital amongst opposition sympathisers or gain ego points, will do nothing to change the makeup of power politics. What will, and did, happen was the ruling party taking full advantage of the disunited opposition to dictate how elections are to be run, and as singular opposition party entities, you are too weak to protest or demand changes. You become willing hostage of your own device. Stupidity!

Allow me to put in perspective.

From my understanding, you entered politics - like many others - as you see the ruling regime not doing their duty towards the citizens, especially the weak, the poor, the jobless who wanted but couldn't get a job, the victims of mercenary public policies, and which the present ruling party refuse to help, their totalitarian policies and their social neglect. We see more people rummaging through rubbish bins, more bankruptcies, more people in debt trap, more suicides, more beggars rounded up, contrary to the rosy picture painted by the gov controlled newspapers. They had now 51 so-called "public help schemes" that MCYS will boast and they can easily add another such 100 schemes to fool the public, and fool the world, but which did almost nothing to relieve the misery of the poor and the old. Instead they are ever willing to spend huge sums of public money on cultural and sports facilities, arts events and parties, for high society. The poor, the middle class, are paying for them, and they face imprisonment if they don't. What they get in return is almost nothing, not even due recognition, not help to provide shelter, water, electricity, and basic meals. All the existing help schemes have little money, more cosmetic than real, and therefore only few got the assistance. Many of the poor are neglected, and their voices silenced through censorship. We know because we lived here. The world doesn't know, the newspapers didn't report on it, parliament wouldn't investigate, and so the problems will never get solved. That is the reason why regime change is required.

The opposition will have to lead the quest for regime change. The ruling party had, in the past, weakened all major opposition parties. They are opportunists, brutal at times as seen in Ops Coldstore. They use public apparatus to work against public interests. Who are the members and staff of the ISD, the police, the judiciary? They are citizens like us, but they arrest and jail citizens, including those brave enough to stand up to fight for the rights of the citizens. This explains why citizens here feel no pride, no ownership, in their own land when their voices were silenced, their interests neglected or overruled, and takes no part in government. All these must change. Dictatorial rule must go, and people must be the determining force in government, which the world calls democracy. Would we allow one single party to hold the nation hostage? I don't think we should.

With above in mind, opposition parties must close ranks to achieve one thing - allow the citizens to choose the government they wanted by means of a free, fair and clean elections. Throw out all rules that obstruct this objective. We want an election that puts no barriers on candidates or voters. We want the voters to have a free choice, and most importantly, we want every single voter to have something to vote on. Not walkovers!

Actually, it is very simple to get the opposition together and come up with a joint communiqué on how our general elections should be conducted and audited. Appoint one respectable person, JBJ for example and call him Reform Chairman, to write to all political parties asking for their submission on proposed changes and reforms to parliamentary elections, including the issue of lawsuits, media coverage of elections, boundary changes, election timelines, candidate pre-qualification barriers to remove, vote count audits and permits for rallies, amongst others. He need only to compile them, and calls for a meeting (each party sends a senior representative) which he shall chair, and calls for a vote on every proposed changes. He calls for a second meeting to decide on items whereby the party representatives need to refer to their party leadership for a decision. Finalise the changes and tabulate all adopted changes into one document to be signed by all party leaders at a simple ceremony, including the solidarity to take the necessary measures, such as a united boycott on elections, if the reforms are not satisfactorily adopted by the government. A press conference, at a appropriate time, will be called and the reform document distributed to the reporters, with a call to the government to adopt the reforms with a deadline. Who submits what reforms should not be disclosed, since it doesn't matter as they were passed by majority vote. I think it would take no more than 6 months to complete this. Negotiations between the ruling party and the opposition parties will be held only with the Reform Chairman thus appointed, and not with individual party leaders to prevent divide-and-rule tactics.

Should the talks fail to adequately adopt the electoral reforms, the Reform Chairman can consult with all opposition leaders on steps to stage a boycott and write to newspapers and foreign governments saying that the united opposition in SG does not recognise the boycotted election results, and perhaps, to call on the United Nations to intervene and conduct our GE for Singapore.

It is the right of every citizen in Singapore that they collectively choose their own government through free, fair and clean general elections. No one can take that away from the citizens. Not PAP.

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