Singapore General Election 2011: At a glance

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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.

Singapore general election 2011

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
READ MORE:  Malaysian given death sentence via Zoom

GE results

  • 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.

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