The Straits Times
Published on Jan 28, 2013

Voters are signalling that more than just local issues are at stake


I DISAGREE with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's attribution of the loss of Punggol East by the People's Action Party to the by-election effect ("PAP leaders expected contest to be difficult"; yesterday).

I think it is dangerous for the PAP to use this as an excuse.

The Prime Minister would not have announced the by-election if he was not confident of winning.

In Punggol East, the voters were not swayed by the offer by the PAP to fix the local issues.

Clearly, the PAP has a greater ability to get things done for the residents than the Workers' Party.

Even offers such as baby bonuses and covered walkways announced just before the polls did not gain the PAP more votes.

Voters will not disagree that the WP had not offered, and may not be able to offer, better policies than the PAP - yet they voted for an opposition anyway.

By doing so, the voters are sending a very strong message to the PAP that they are voting based on more fundamental issues that may not be related to policies.

At issue could be the voters' perception of the party itself. If the PAP fails to address this, it may lose more ground.

Ang Miah Boon