Former Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Tony Tan, will become Singapore’s next president after getting a narrow win in the Presidential Election yesterday. When I say narrow, I mean it as he got just 35.2% off the votes. That is just 0.4% more than runner-up Dr. Tan Cheng Bock.
Now there will be a lot of people who will come out with their own analysis of the election but as this is my blog; these are my views.
1) There is a spilt in the PAP vote bank. In the General Election (GE) 3 months ago, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) won with about 60% of the votes. There will be some people who say that a win of just 0.4% by the PAP-backed Tony Tan is a sign of the ruling party eroding popularity but I disagree. I think its more likely that the 60% who voted for the PAP in the GE were spilt between Dr. Tony Tan and Dr. Tan Cheng Bock. Both were long-time members of the PAP, the only difference is that while the higher-ups of the PAP back Dr. Tony Tan, Dr. Tan Cheng Bock’s support came from the grassroots.
2) To win the election, you need the support of a political party behind you. Of the 4 candidates, Mr. Tan Kin Lian lost his deposit as he got less than 5% of the votes. The reason wasn’t because he was unpopular; it was because he had to do everything himself. I think it says a lot that after he conceded defeat, he went to a friend’s house where he was greeted by 50 people, all of whom were his friends and family. His campaign was ran like a family affair and that hurt him. Although he had appealed for support from opposition parties, there is no reason for them to support him. Why would any of them support a former member of the PAP who is not currently a member of any opposition party? That makes no sense right? Especially when the opposition have a card-carrying member of the opposition in the contest as well. Mr. Tan Jee Say came in third yesterday with 25% of the vote not because he was more popular than Mr. Tan Kin Lian, but because he had the SDP (Singapore Democratic Party) and the opposition behind him.
3) The Presidential Election need to be tweaked. I believed Dr. Tony Tan was going to win and I am not surprised by his win. However I am surprised and unhappy about his winning margin. Dr. Tony Tan won only 35.2% of the votes, a win of 0.4%. In other countries with direct presidential elections, if no can candidates won a certain margin of the total votes, there will be a run-off by the top 2 candidates. Singapore do not have that rule (to be fair, no one thought it necessary) and I believe it’s time we add that rule into our Presidential Election system. Yes, that will mean another vote but a run-off will be the best way to decided who has the support and the mandate to be president. Even though I vote for Dr. Tony Tan yesterday, I do not believe or accept that he has a mandate to be president with a paltry margin of just 7,269 votes. Despite what the PAP says, I believe I am not the only one who feels this way.