In his interview with BBC reporter Stephen Sackur, Singapore dictator Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong justified his legalised corruptions in rigging elections saying that just because he won every single election does not mean Singapore is not democratic. Stephen Sackur said in the interview that Singapore is not a successful democracy because of the single-party system, to which Lee Hsien Loong angrily retorted:
“Just because the voters have voted for me and my party does not mean that we are not open.”
Lee Hsien Loong also justified the lack of opposition in the government and claimed that his ruling-party-appointed Nominated MPs are not from the ruling party and hence “make up the opposition”:
“There are six elected and three unelected Members of Parliament (MPs) who are not from the ruling People’s Action Party, and said the number would be increased to at least 12.”
When the BBC reporter pointed out that that does not mean the election is open, Lee Hsien Loong avoided answering his question and insisted so:
“Singaporeans voted for the PAP candidates because they have the confidence in the PAP to form the government and to govern well. Once the government stops functioning, or for that matter, if I have a Member of Parliament who does not perform his duties and loses the confidence of the supporters and I field them again, the situation will change overnight. It is open.”
Due to Lee Hsien Loong’s dictatorial powers, Singapore has the shortest election campaigning period in the world, with only 10 days from announcement to polling day. In 2011, Lee Hsien Loong introduced a Cooling Off day – the day before Polling Day – to ban all internet sites from publishing election news, the media blackout however does not apply to printed state media from Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp. The electoral deposit for an election candidate is also the highest in the world at S$16,000 – in a bid to deter Singaporeans from contesting. There is also a group constituency which gives the ruling party an opportunity to bring in 4 new faces with an “anchor minister”. The rules for a Presidential election is more daunting today, due to a heated competition between 4 candidates where the ruling party-endorsed candidate almost lost.