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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Overseas Votes

Overseas Votes

There is talk about now considering allowing overseas Singaporeans to vote after 30 years of Statehood.

I'm not surprised at the tone of the argument used by the PAP. Their principal argument has been that overseas Singaporeans might not vote in the best interests of Singapore. I think the more accurate reason is that overseas Singaporeans may not vote for the PAP because they are freed from the fetters of the PAP propaganda machine.

The fact that the PAP is "considering" this option should not be a cause for celebration but a cause for concern. It implies that voting is a privilege and not the right of a citizen. Such a pivotal issue as voting being a privilege opens the government to manipulate the will of the people so as to ensure they remain in power. The denial of citzens overseas to vote is tantamount to disenfranchising the citizen.

The greatest hallmark of a democracy is the right of its citizens to elect their leaders. Any attempt to deny any citizen his/her right to elect his/her representative in parliament is an affront to democracy which is a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

With the number of overseas Singaporean increasing each year, allowing overseas voting can cause an upset election victory for the Opposition. That is something the PAP will try to avoid at all costs. And that is why the PAP is studying this possibility of "allowing" certain overseas Singaporeans to vote. They just want to allow those overseas Singaporean who are loyal to the PAP to be eligible to vote and exclude the rest.

Even if selective number of overseas Singaporean were allowed to vote, a number of questions will arise, like "What measures will there be to ensure that the voting is secret? Will the overseas ballots be unmarked to ensure this? If an overseas voter votes for the opposition, will he then be judged ineligible to vote because he did not vote in the "best interests of the country"?

The recent elections in the US showed us how overseas voters in the State of Florida made a big difference to George Bush being made the President as most overseas voters were mainly Republicans. These voters were not disenfranchised. They voted by mailing their ballots to their state for counting. A similar system could be implemented here. But I think the main fear of the PAP is that most overseas citizens are pro-opposition.

This issue of overseas voting just goes to show that Singapore is but a dictatorship disguised as a democracy.

Election watcher