The Singapore general election was a watershed poll in many ways. Dr Terence Chong provides a snapshot view of some of the highlights of the campaign and notable results.
Why was this GE different?
- 82 out of 87 seats contested
- 2011 – 2.3m voters; 2006 – 2.1m; 2001 – 2m
- Largest number of first time voters
- Largest number of younger voters
- Credible opposition slate
- High number of young candidates across the board
- Highest number of first time candidates too
- Low Thia Khiang moves to Aljunied
How did the campaign unfold?
- Perennial issues: high cost of living; widening wage gap; high ministerial salaries; liberal immigration policies
- Issues since 2006: raising GST from 5% to 7% months after 2006 GE; YOG expenditure; Mas Selamat escape; downtown floods
- Politicking began with Tin Pei Ling – Tin came to personify the unfairness of the GRC system
- Dr Chia Shi-Lu replaces PAP candidate Steve Tan in Tanjong Pagar GRC
Vivian Balakrishnan’s disclosure of Vincent Wijeysingha’s “gay agenda” video
- Goh Chok Tong: series of puzzling remarks – SDP candidate Tan Jee Seng not good enough to become Perm Sec; implied WKS was less competent than George Yeo; called NSP “No Substance Party” after calling for “clean and fair fight”; admitted he had no feel for the youth.
- Lee Kuan Yew: voters of Aljunied would have 5 years to repent if they voted WP; remarks on Malays not integrating unsettled Malay voters
- PM Lee Hsien Loong’s public apology for government’s mistakes – Boat Quay lunch rally, 3 May
- George Yeo’s appeal to voters for chance to reform PAP on Youtube, 6 May
- PAP’s national average: 60.1% (lowest since independence)
- Swing of 6.5% from 2006’s 66.6%
- Swing of 14.9% from 2001’s 75%
- Voter turnout: 93.06%
- Spoilt votes: 2.17%
- 81 PAP seats, 6 WP seats, 3 NCMP seats
- PAP wins 14 GRCs, 11 SMCs
- WP wins 1 GRC, 1 SMC
National average of opposition
- Workers Party’s: 46.6%
- Singapore Democratic Party: 36.7%
- National Solidarity Party: 39.2%
- Singapore Democratic Alliance: 30%
- Singapore People’s Party: 41.4%
- Reform Party: 31.78%
Aljunied GRC factors
- Strong WP ‘A’ team
- WP expressed ground sentiments over rising cost and immigration policies
- WP’s campaign message of democratic Parliament
- PAP’s campaign message of ‘good track record’ and ‘estate upgrading’ did not appeal
- Spectre of a Parliament with 87 PAP seats
- LKY’s ‘5 years to regret’ remarks
- Gerrymandering in favour of WP: Aljunied absorbed parts of Cheng San GRC, Eunos GRC and parts of Hougang SMC
Source: Slides presented by Dr Terence Chong during a roundtable discussion on Singapore’s General Election at the Sime Darby Convention Centre on 20 May 2011.
Dr Chong, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of the Southeast Asian Studies, is also editor of the book Management of Success: Singapore Revisited.