Whose election is this?

ELECTION Year 2001: It's a familiar scene.

Despite the usual grouses about long healthcare queues, education and transport costs, the Ruling Party is set to return to power with a sizeable majority.

With the end result a foregone conclusion, the Opposition - about to experience its second crushing defeat since the 1997 polls - has all but conceded the field, opting instead to court sympathy votes and whittle down the Ruling Party's share at the polls.

Dire statements have been made of an unchecked Government steamrolling its agenda through the Legislature.

The Ruling Party would ''marginalise Parliament, manipulate the media and seek to suppress all dissent or disagreement with them'' if they win by another landslide, warned the Opposition leader.

But Cabinet ministers have also accused Opposition leaders of chauvinism and fanning racial tensions.

The incumbent Government claims full credit for economic recovery and healthy national surpluses.

''Though we can take pride in many achievements...we know we still have so much to do, so many challenges to overcome,'' said the Prime Minister.

But all the pre-election rhetoric has failed to inspire voters, who have become increasingly apathetic to political platforms saturated with slogans, sound bites and meaningless statistics.

The Ruling Party government, however, has been warning the electorate not to be ''complacent'' at election time, in case the Opposition gets voted in ''by the back door''.

One pundit commented: ''Politics has become just another business, the business of managing government and elections are increasingly like the annual general meetings of a big utility company: Less frequent, but just as dull.''

Which is why an alarmingly low voter turnout is expected for this year's General Elections in Britain.

But that won't happen in Singapore, should the General Elections be called this year.

After all, there's one aspect, at least, where our politics differs from the UK:

For us, voting is compulsory.

© alvin pang
clm : rvw : esy : rfl