A Note from the Managing Director: New Naratif’s Coverage of the Singapore General Election 2020

Author: Thum Ping Tjin
Published:

Today, New Naratif officially launches our coverage of Singapore’s 2020 General Elections.

New Naratif has been preparing to cover these elections since last August – but I’m stunned that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is considering holding it amidst the current coronavirus crisis. He has not just refused to rule it out but implied that early elections might be the better option since there is “no certainty” when normal circumstances will return. His comments were echoed by Teo Chee Hean in Parliament yesterday.

The future is uncertain, but the present is known, and it is dangerous. An election in the future may be a risk – or it may be better. We don’t know. But an election now would definitely put the lives of Singaporeans at risk. It’s not like the outcome of the election is in any doubt anyway: the People’s Action Party will win, as it always does. And there’s plenty of time: he does not have to call an election until January 2021. Singapore’s elections take only a minimum of 17 days to run (and usually are only run with the legal minimum amount of time anyway).

Their comments, coming on the heels of the release of the Electoral Boundaries Redistricting Committee’s (EBRC) Report on Friday 13 March 2020, and the opening of Singapore’s Electoral Roll for inspection (14 to 27 March 2020), suggests an imminent General Election in Singapore. Since the electoral system was overhauled in the 1980s, General Elections have been called very rapidly following the release of the EBRC report – between 1 day (2001) and 8 weeks (2011).

Regardless, New Naratif is ready. Last year, we ran The Citizens’ Agenda, which told us what our community considered the most important issues facing Singapore. This identified 28 issues, and we subsequently commissioned articles covering the Top 5 issues, plus selected other issues. We have also prepared articles about how Singapore’s elections are run, highlighting the democratic deficiencies and structural advantages built into the system. We already released A Brief History of Elections in Singapore and today, we released an Explainer on Singapore’s Electoral System. I have recorded new episodes of The Show with PJ Thum – a new episode drops tomorrow, 27 March! All these will be released over the coming weeks on Thursdays and Fridays. Non-Singapore articles will continue to be published as usual on Mondays. We will also re-share many of our previously published articles on Singapore on social media.

How to Stay Informed

We’ve created an election portal at newnaratif.com/SGelections where you can find all our resources to help Singaporeans make informed decisions about the General Election.

You can also click here to sign up for our mailing list. Make sure you opt into receiving regular emails from us about the Singapore General Election from now until the end of the General Election (whenever that is). If you’re already on our mailing list, you should have received an email from us with this information. You’ll receive 2-3 emails a week with new content, event announcements, and other relevant information. You can opt out of these emails at any time.

Support Our Movement

Our members’ fees support all this content. Their support enables us to be editorially independent and to conduct hard hitting independent research and journalism. It allows us to give a voice to the powerless and to hold the powerful accountable. But we remain desperately short of funds. If you like what our movement is doing, please consider joining our movement or donating.

The overall outcome of the General Election may be a foregone conclusion, but there are many individual races which will be very close and would have a major impact on Singapore’s future. I hope all our coverage will help Singaporeans make an informed choice this election. Vote wisely, my friends!

 

Thum Ping Tjin

Thum Ping Tjin (“PJ”) is Managing Director of New Naratif and founding director of Project Southeast Asia, an interdisciplinary research centre on Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholar, Commonwealth Scholar, Olympic athlete, and the only Singaporean to swim the English Channel, his work centres on Southeast Asian governance and politics. His most recent work is Living with Myths in Singapore (Ethos: 2017, co-edited with Loh Kah Seng and Jack Chia). He is creator of “The History of Singapore” podcast, available on iTunes. Reach him at pingtjin.thum@newnaratif.com.

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