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ASEAN ANALYSIS

Asean Affairs  3 May 2011

Asean election season begins in Singapore


By  David Swartzemtruber

 
AseanAffairs     3 May 2011

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On May 7 this coming Saturday, Singaporeans will go to the polls to vote for a new government.

The Singapore election will be followed by elections in Thailand and Malaysia.

In past years, the Singapore election has been a ho-hum event as the People’s Action Party (PAP) has won every one of the 10 previous general elections dating back to 1959. At the last election in 2006, the party won 82 of the 84 seats in parliament. However, there are concerns that a growing income gap, rising inflation and a tidal wave of immigrants and transient workers are creating concern among voters.

To many Singaporeans the economic and immigration policies that have created modern Singapore are at the heart of the country’s dilemma as manifested by the gap between the haves and have-nots. The cost of living has taken off like a Chinese rocket.

Opposition leaders raise the question, “What is the point of having a First World gross domestic product with Third World purchasing power?”

There is also some belief that many foreigners are in Singapore just to line their pockets with little attachment to the country.

More than 25 percent of the 2.3 million voters are under 34 years of age and younger voters are more open to change.

Saturday’s results could be the start of a genuine two-party system in Singapore if opposition parties capture more parliamentary seats than in the past.

Singaporeans like continuity and stability and the PAP has delivered that in a safe environment with excellent public transport, a fabulous airport and two huge income-generating casinos.

If the opposition can increase their number of seats to more than four in parliament it could signal a significant change in Singapore’s political landscape.

By
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr

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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

 

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