MARUAH statement on conduct at Bukit Batok By-Election

4 May 2016

We refer to recent reports on the comments made by the ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition party, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), during the campaign of the by-election in Bukit Batok.

Parts of the campaign are currently degenerating into a sloganeering on the character of Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP candidate. This looms ominously as the statements are made by ruling party members in the name of the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu and the Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob.

As election campaign watchers, MARUAH, a human rights group, would like to put on record that this is a disappointing approach taken on by the ruling party. We cite our research in 2011 that showed how media and public figures had conducted themselves at the 2011 General Elections. At the 2013 by-election in Punggol East it did not deteriorate to the current extent, though the opposition candidates were many and the PAP candidate also made some distracting statements that had some of us scratching our heads. In the 2015 hustings, there was improvement by all political parties. The views on candidates were taken up by citizens and in many instances over social media. All revealing a healthier engagement by citizens even as one acknowledges there will be partisan comments. We say it is part of our growth into a democracy.

In this Bukit Batok by-election, however, there seems to be a targeted barrage on Dr Chee’s past behaviour. In politics there are many candidates who will be judged at the ballot box and later as MPs. We ask that this sloganeering be stopped, as it is not in good taste to ensuring that we develop fair, free and democratic election processes.

We also raise attention to Singapore’s Parliamentary Elections Act, Section 59 and Section 61(d) which asks of all – including campaign leaders and leaders of all political parties– to act in a manner that is fair to all election candidates. In addition in the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Code on Free and Fair Elections, it is also clear that all parties need to ensure that the election is conducted in a fair and democratic manner.

In conclusion MARUAH asks again for an Independent Elections Commission, not one under the Prime Minister’s Office.


Event report – Post-Elections forum – What’s at Stake?

21 September 2015

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MARUAH organised a public forum on September 19th to share thoughts and perspectives on the General Elections 2015 (GE2015) that took place on September 11th, 2015. The speakers were:-
Mr Alex Au, blogger and activist
Dr Derek Da Cunha, political analyst, author and independent researcher;
Dr Jack Lee, law academic with research interest in Constitutional Law;
Mr Rafiz Hapipi, youth counsellor and researcher, and MARUAH member;
Mr Sudhir Vadaketh, author and blogger;
Mr Terry Xu, editor of The Online Citizen

The speakers were experts who had been watching the General Elections and commenting on the process from one GE to the next. Read the rest of this entry »


MARUAH 2015 pre-election survey on voter concerns

13 September 2015

MARUAH conducted an online survey on issues that voters were concerned about, from Aug 29 to Sep 9. Links to the survey were disseminated by electronic media (email, website and Facebook) and a total of 132 responses were received. Summary results are presented in MARUAH pre-election survey results.


[change of venue] Post-elections forum – What’s at Stake? – 19 Sep 2015

10 September 2015

[17 Sep update: Please note change of venue & timing]

A team of experts discuss & analyse the election results, and what it means for us.

  • Mr Alex Au, Blogger
  • Dr Derek Da Cunha, Political Analyst and Author
  • Dr Jack Lee, Law lecturer
  • Mr Rafiz Hapipi, MARUAH Election Watch
  • Mr Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh, Author and Blogger

The panel discussion will be moderated by MARUAH. We are also hoping for an interactive debate on the issue of General Elections in Singapore and would like to make some key recommendations.

Come join our forum to discuss these issues

Date: 19 Sep 2015
Time: 3pm – 7pm
Venue: 9 Penang Road, #13-03 Park Mall [map]

Register at the link below
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NKwbub9kOhMK58CvaP1GgL3bCPY6EYfRVz2mvFaThlM/viewform


Summary on the stance of political parties on issues

9 September 2015

MARUAH recently wrote letters to political parties contesting the 2015 General Elections, to ask for their stance on various human rights issues.

As the responses were not forthcoming, MARUAH reviewed their stance using their election manifestos.

Below is the summary of the comparison. You can also click here for a PDF version of the file.

maruah review of manifestos


Vote Wisely. Vote Without Fear. The Vote is Secret.

6 September 2015

MARUAH together with actors and actresses would like to share a video on the secrecy of the vote. We all believe that the vote is secret and we need not have any fear when we cast our choices for the political party on 11 September 2015.

The Polling day belongs to the Citizen. Vote Wisely. Vote Without Fear. The Vote is Secret.


Sampling Check results to be publicly released

2 September 2015

The Elections Department will be publicly releasing the results of the sampling check conducted during counting of votes. Sampling checks have been conducted in past elections but this is the first time that ELD will be releasing the results to the public and to candidates.

http://m.todayonline.com/ge2015/early-indicative-vote-counts-be-announced-polling-day

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/specialreports/sgvotes2015/latest/elections-department-to/2094216.html

MARUAH has written to the media and to ELD in the past asking it to either stop the practice or to release the results to the candidates. ELD’s disclosure of the results and procedures used for the sampling check increase the transparency and fairness of Singapore’s election process.