Guess work on when Singapore’s next General Elections (GE) would be held will now intensify amongst grassroots leaders, party activists, politicians, would-be candidates and the man-in-the street, now that the first salvo has been fired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Mr Lee announced in Parliament on Monday, 13 July 2015 that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee, which looks at the current state of play of the composition of the voter population and recommends the boundaries for the next election, has been set up.
The committee made up of top civil servants is headed by the Secretary to the Prime Minister.
And when the report does come out, Singaporeans will know whether any new constituencies are being carved out, existing ones re-named and whether they would be voting under the same constituency banner or a new one depending on the Report.
For the political parties contesting the polls, the report is significant, it helps them to decide where to field their candidates.
One hot date which seems to be on the minds of many is 12 September 2015, a Saturday and this date was also reported of by a leading local Chinese daily.
And since that date, my friends in the mainstream media tell me that their annual leave has been frozen from now till October 2015.
Their reasons for floating the September 12th date- its the Saturday before the one week September school holidays end, also, its just four days before modern Singapore’s founding father and first Prime Minister, the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s birthday which falls on 16th September. So have a GE to uphold and honour his contributions to this nation and vote for more good years, and third, its a good time to call for an elections just after the memorable and momentous National Day celebrations and the announcements which PM Lee is likely to make during the National Day Rally set for August 23.
Then, there is the other school of thought- whats the big hurry, since there is time till January 2017, have it perhaps towards the end of the year or after Budget 2016.
So the month of May 2016 is also being touted- the last two GEs in 2006 and 2011 were held in May.
While it is always good for the government of the day to get over with the next general elections when the moment is most appropriate, perhaps in my view, a date towards the end of the year or early January 2016 would be good to think of, and for the following reasons.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has just made some changes to the Cabinet.
Mr Lim Swee Say has handed over the baton at NTUC to Mr Chan Chun Sing and Mr Tan Chuan-Jin has taken over at the Ministry of Social and Family Development, why not give them more time to entrench themselves in their work and map out the policies for Budget 2016. That could be one factor.
The Labour Movement will be witnessing an important milestone in October this year, the National Delegates Conference is due towards the end of that month, which will see the union movement cast its vote for a new Central Committee.
It will be current Secretary General Chan Chun Sing’s maiden NDC and his first time standing for the central committee elections.
Then, the PAP has to introduce its new candidates usually up to 24 each round as hinted by PM Lee and retiring MPs from the current batch would also around the same time announce that they are stepping down to make way for fresh blood.
Meanwhile close sources in the PAP tell me that this year’s Party Awards and Convention is set to be held in early December 2015, perhaps the best time to sound the battle call before going for the polls.
And this could be an opportune time for the Party to introduce its slate of new candidates to the party members and cadres.
My preferred date – 2 January 2016
In 1997, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong called for the General Election on 2nd January 1997.
I seem to like that date for the coming GE- 2nd January 2016, a Saturday.
How about capping off the achievements of the nation in SG50 and kick off the new year with a fresh mandate?