Politics this week – and the next nine days

Apr 27, 2016 08.30AM |

ELECTION watchers will learn today (April 27) whether it will be a straight fight between the PAP’s Murali Pillai and SDP’s Chee Soon Juan in the Bukit Batok by-election; both parties are expected to hand in their nomination papers at Keming Primary School in Bukit Batok East Avenue 6 this morning.

In the General Election last year, the single-seat constituency was in a three-way fight between PAP, SDP, and independent candidate Samir Salim Neji. Mr David Ong from PAP handily won the seat with 73 per cent of the votes, but bid a hasty farewell last month after news of an affair leaked in the press.

Once nominated, Mr Murali and Dr Chee will head into nine days of campaigning before Bukit Batok residents vote on May 7 – a day before Mother’s Day. Both men have so far avoided confronting each other directly but their parties clashed this week over a proposed $1.9 million Neighbourhood Renewal Programme that Mr Murali had earlier appeared to suggest would go forward only if he won the election.

Read about the argument here – and for more news and analysis about the by-election, here are our top stories:

Whether the rules should make sure a minority candidate can be elected President again dominated the ongoing review of the Elected Presidency yesterday. People against it argued Singapore was past voting along racial lines, and that such a restriction would undermine its legitimacy. Our report on the third public hearing by the Constitutional Commission is coming up.

More on politics: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday at a dinner for senior civil servants that the civil service was NOT independent of the G, but “politically impartial”. Here’s a transcript of what he said. Bertha takes a closer look at the speech in a report coming later today. Here’s an excerpt:

“Which is why there are some people who think that the place will break down – because the minister is a super PS. It’s no wonder that opposition parties try so hard to counter the view by saying it will be business as usual whoever is in charge. The Singapore system has politics and policies so intertwined that they can’t be divorced. It’s okay if the G has a strong mandate, but not if a huge segment of the population doesn’t give its support.”


Featured image from TMG file. 

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