According to a senior party member close to the Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong is likely to call elections as soon as 2019 as he is worried that the GST increase in 2021 would affect the ruling party’s support.
The tip-off corresponds with an increase in political activities from the ruling party, including the first walkabout in 4 years for three PAP Ministers. At a walkabout at Jurong Central last Sunday (July 15), Minister Ong Ye Kung said that this will be the “new format” onward. The PAP Minister also repeated an old broken promise to listen to the people and repeat its “public consultation”:
“The new format is part of the bigger efforts to better understand issues that Singaporeans face. When Parliament reopened in May after its mid-term break, that the Government will be starting a series of discussions to engage different segments of society, and give all Singaporeans a role to turn good ideas into actions. The discussion series can be formal like a dialogue, it can also be informal involving more ministers walking the ground, speaking to residents randomly in a coffeeshop.”
Aside from increasing PAP MPs and Ministers’ presence in neighbourhoods, the ruling party has started sending civil servants for election procedures training this month. According to state media Straits Times, the election could be called by the next 11 months after the training as were the case for the 2015 GE.
Also announced for 2019 is the celebration of 200th year anniversary of the landing of Stamford Raffles. Another ruling party member disclosed that the Prime Minister intends to hinge on the celebration to “bolster” for Singapore’s modern economy, and “remind Singaporeans of the success and prosperity they enjoy today (thanks to the PAP).”
The ruling party heavily capitalised on the death of former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to milk sympathy votes from the public in 2015. This time however, the Lee Kuan Yew’s influence is overshadowed by controversial issues from a racist Presidential Election, GST increase, insufficiency of CPF funds, denial of Lee Kuan Yew’s last will over 38 Oxley Road and worsening diplomacy with major trading partners like Malaysia, China and ASEAN countries.