Safe distancing and Singapore GE: Parties look for alternative ways to campaign in upcoming election

West Coast GRC MP Foo Mee Har held an online dialogue on how Covid-19 will impact the Home Improvement Programme, while Singapore People's Party chairman Jose Raymond has set up a small studio to film video messages in his office.
West Coast GRC MP Foo Mee Har held an online dialogue on how Covid-19 will impact the Home Improvement Programme, while Singapore People's Party chairman Jose Raymond has set up a small studio to film video messages in his office.PHOTO: FOO MEE HAR/FACEBOOK, JOSE RAYMOND / FACEBOOK

Mass rallies and home visits seem unlikely when the hustings for the upcoming general election begin as safe distancing measures are likely to still be in force. Here's a look at how parties are looking for alternative methods to get their message across to voters.

Safe distancing and GE: PAP taps live chats, WhatsApp to reach out to residents

Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin (right), MP for Marine Parade GRC, holding an online meeting with community leaders in his ward. Weekly Meet-the-People Sessions have also switched to a remote format.

Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin (second row, fourth from right), who is MP for Marine Parade GRC, holding an online meeting with community leaders of his ward. Weekly Meet-the-People Sessions have also switched to a remote format. PHOTO: TAN CHUAN-JIN/FACEBOOK

Getting candidates to go door to door alone or in small groups, holding online dialogues, and using WhatsApp to reach residents - these are some ways the People's Action Party (PAP) intends to campaign in the upcoming general election, say party activists.

With safe distancing measures likely to still be in force when the hustings begin, they told The Straits Times it will be challenging to get campaign messages out.

The ruling party is preparing to wage a very different battle for votes, added the activists, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

For starters, campaign staples like mass rallies and market walkabouts with entire GRC teams and party activists in tow will likely be out of the question, they said. Traditional press conferences where the party introduces new candidates to the public will also likely be held online.

The coming general election must be held by April 14 next year, but activists and observers expect the election to be called in a matter of weeks, citing recent signals from PAP leaders.

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Safe distancing and GE: Opposition parties bolster efforts on social media



Singapore Democratic Alliance chairman Desmond Lim said that party supporters are fitting speakers to the tops of their cars. PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

With rallies and home visits unlikely to feature at the next general election if it is to take place during the pandemic, opposition parties here are looking for alternative methods to get their message across to voters.

While all parties said social media and instant messaging apps will be a prominent part of their campaigns, they are also looking for ways to reach the non-Internet crowd.

This includes having volunteers distribute fliers door to door without knocking on any of them and blasting their message from a car with a speaker attached to its roof.

 
 

National Solidarity Party secretary-general Spencer Ng said that the party is preparing to deliver or mail its campaign materials to voters. Party members are also committed to observing social distancing should home visits be allowed, he added.

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP), meanwhile, has already started leaving little packs - containing a mask, a flier and a pen - on doorsteps.

Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) chairman Desmond Lim said that party supporters are fitting speakers to the tops of their cars. The party's slogan will be among the messages that the speakers will broadcast during the campaign period, he added.

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