More the half of Singapore did not vote for the incoming President
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At about half past four in the morning of 28 August 2011, our beloved Mr Yam Ah Mee declared Dr Tony Tan who generated 35.19% of the total amount of valid votes counted as the incoming President of Singapore.
As an activist for the abolishment of both the death penalty and Internal Security Act (ISA = detention without trial), this is a rather great blow. What will happen to those death row inmates whose clemency appeals are still on hold? We are really going to get a President who will become a mere messenger boy because it is now out in the open that the President has no powers when it comes to clemency appeals. It seems really gloomy but we will surely fight on.
On a slightly more optimistic note however, looking at the figures I would say that there might be some hope in the future.
Within 9 short days of campaigning and unflattering media coverage for possibly close to 2 weeks, Mr Tan Jee Say managed to generate 25.04% of local votes. Due to a hectic schedule, I was unable to keep myself in updated daily and had to rely mostly on the TODAY paper, updates sent to my email by friends campaigning on the ground for the various candidates and other random sources. To be honest, I had my doubts about Jee Say but all of that disappeared after reading his speeches and watching his debate with Tony Tan regarding the ISA on TOC’s Presidential forum. I thank him for being honest about his stand on both the ISA and death penalty although they are not issues the majority of the economically programmed electorate cares about. Jee Say is a man of honesty and passion and he chose not to hide his opinions. It is a pity that the media decided to label him a fiery rebel and had failed as a collective, to highlight enough the fact that he had mentioned he would bring up the issues with the Prime Minister privately to talk about possible changes, causing the electorate to misunderstand that he will be one who will rock the boat. Nevertheless, 25.04% still voted for Jee Say, including some of my acquaintances of who have always been PAP supporters. Although he did not win the elections, being able to obtain a total of 529, 732 votes is quite a good result.
Mr Tan Kin Lian on the other hand, lost this election with a slim amount of votes generated but his humble nature shone when he showed the courage and graciousness when conceding to defeat. He and his team had organised and ran a good campaign, no one can take that away from him. For all I know about Kin Lian, I am sure that he will take it positively and move on from this but will continue to be the voice of the people using other channels as promised. I applaud him for his graciousness and determination to continue his public efforts for Singaporeans forgotten by those residing high above the ivory tower.
Personally, I dislike the arrogance of Dr Tan Cheng Bock. I thought he started off well but within a matter of days, he started to speak negatively of his fellow Presidential candidates as well as portray such a conservative stand on the role of the President that just puts me off. To me, we do not need another rubber stamp. I think his campaigners worked hard however, and thanks to his record as a hardworking and vocal Member of Parliament who did his groundwork well for his constituents, he managed to generate 34.85% of the total votes. Good for him, it was really close fight.
Now let’s come back to Tony Tan. Let’s put it this way: 64.8% of the voters (and probably more, considering the invalid votes and overseas votes) did not vote for him. How can anyone be proud of being the President who has only 35.19% of support from the electorate? And what kind of support is that when many people I have spoken to before Polling Day, had indicated that they were voting for him because they did not know who the rest were?
Anyway things are changing and we should work harder to move things forward. A society that does not care about who runs the government will never progress philosophically, politically, socially and in humanity. But, the numbers have shown that more people are now questioning the status quo (in their own manner of course) and are interested in exercising their preferences in voting honestly instead of for the sake of it. It is a good sign. I think instead of having one camp hurling accusations at another camp for vote stealing (how ridiculous!), let’s all work towards fighting for the establishment of independent media and educating the electorate about what actually goes on beyond their monthly tax deductions, about our country’s Constitution and about how human rights can be related to bread and butter issues too.
Let’s unite as active citizens instead of spiteful supporters of individuals.
And for those who accused Jee Say of stealing votes off Tan Cheng Bock, why not accuse Tony Tan too of stealing PAP votes from him too? All of us have lost, and all of you who have partake in those accusations, you have A LOT to learn from Kin Lian.
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