Singaporeans will vote prudently

Singaporeans will vote prudently

I FEEL compelled to respond to my namesake's letter ("Don't take good govt for granted"; June 17) as many have assumed the writer's views are mine.

Mr Eugene Tan argues that "Singaporeans know who to trust in difficult times" and that "we may take a good and trustworthy government for granted".

He also cautioned against the use of a "biased sample reinforced by a confirmation bias".

However, Mr Tan does not heed his own advice.

He relies on the selected General Election results of 1991 (not 1992, as Mr Tan asserts), 1997 and 2001 to make his simplistic case that Singaporeans know who to trust in difficult times.

Further, contrary to Mr Tan's assertion, the PAP fared the worst electorally in 2011, not 1991.

Indeed, going by Mr Tan's logic and argument and if general election results are relied upon, then the long-term trend between 1984 and 2011 suggests that the PAP Government has experienced declining levels of political support when measured by electoral results.

Election results will vary from election to election, depending on the electorate's assessment of the Government's performance since the last election, the key election issues, and how political parties and candidates campaign.

A key ingredient of political support for any political party is trust.

In turn, trust is determined by various factors, including the effectiveness and legitimacy of public policies, the responsiveness of the Government to people's concerns and unhappiness.

These often find expression in the ballot boxes.

The general election and by-election results since 1968 demonstrate that Singaporeans can be counted upon to vote prudently in both good and bad times.

By the same token, good governance entails that a government, however effective and efficient, will not take the electorate for granted.

It is this iterative process by which political trust is nurtured and developed, and which reinforces good governance.

Eugene K.B. Tan

Nominated Member of Parliament

This article was first published on June 24, 2014.
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