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The film "Singapore: Biophile City" was made for people who want to live and green in big cities in sustainable ways. It takes on the idea of a biophile area, shows Singapore's greenery, showing how it was embedded in almost all the improved aspects of the town. This documentary is also an open eye for people who are interested, but do not know the different components of the Green City (Blaustein 74-76).
The documentary's main aim is to encourage the development of green cities. A green town means that nature and greenery are integrated into architecture. The documentary shows how environmental sustainability can lead to the index of triple bottom line. Sustainability is a path to chart for the future. This is a future that assembles a disciplined management of resources and strategic use of both human and natural resources. An effort to embrace the areas defined herein can result in meaningful outcomes for businesses in the form of new business opportunities, significant cost savings, and enhanced brand reputation. The use of the triple bottom line can help my business realize how it survives in the economy thereby assuring its survival in the future. The author has also caused me to modify my working definition of sustainability since I can measure my business along these parameters and view it both as an environmental and a social entity.
This research paper shall be a determination of different social, economic, government, and political changes that are happening in Singapore after the 2011 elections. The numerous changes in the setup of the Singaporean government structure were marked by the politics of the 2011 elections. Noted as the watershed ballot vote, the 2011 polls are considered to be the turning point in the determination of the country’s future leadership.
It is believed that 2011 polls represent change in the pattern of governance for a better Singapore. The expectation of people of Singapore and the world at large is that the elections will provide a burly foundation on which Singapore will be able to embrace a new sense of national success. This paper will ask a few fundamental questions, among them are the following:
1. How have these expectations been brought into realization so far?
2. What has the 2011 election in the country really accomplished so far?
3. How does the current state of the country’s politics and system of social governance connect to such matters of advancement as seen from what the past has been founded upon?
The answers to these questions will give a clear picture of the 2011 polls. In many cases, the elections of 2011 have been one of the most contested polls in the history of Singapore. The elections that were held on 7 May, 2011 is the primary focus of this paper. An analysis of the elections and its aftermath will be incorporated in various subtopics of discussion. A keen look at the contestants, their political backgrounds, and their promises will show how and why people of Singapore voted.
The 2011 elections in Singapore were the 16th general election. It was also the 11th general election since Singapore got independence from Malaysia in 1965. The elections came after major parliamentary reforms in the previous year. Two of the major reforms were the Parliamentary Act and the Presidential Elections Act . These two constitutional amendments effectively increased the number of Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) and reduced the number of Group representation constituencies (GRC). There was also an implementation of a one-day “cooling off” period where campaign was prohibited.
The ruling party People’s Action Party (PAP) has been in power since Singapore gained independence. The leader of the party is the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Apart from the ruling party, there are other political parties that contested in the general election. These parties include the following:
1. National Solidarity Party (NSP) led by Goh Meng Seng
2. Workers' Party of Singapore (WP) led by Low Thia Khiang
3. Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) led by Desmond Lim,
4. Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) led by Chee Soon Juan
5. Singapore People's Party led by Chiam See Tong .
These political parties have various histories that make them have popularity among various groups in Singapore.
Apart from political parties, Singapore has an Electoral Boundaries Review Committee that is responsible for making electoral division maps. Before the 2011 elections, there were fourteen GRCs with nine Single Member Constituencies (SMC), and each with five or six seats. This gave a total of 84 seats under contest in the 2006 elections. After the constitutional amendments, the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee presented a new electoral map for 2011 elections. There was a total of 27 electoral divisions with a total of 87 seats. The seats were divided into 15 GRCs and 12 SMCs.
The 2011 elections
Parliament was dissolved in May 2011, paving way for the general elections . For the first time in the history of Singapore, general elections campaigns were allowed to include social media and the internet . This inclusion had a great impact on the youth in Singapore. Many young people were excited by the way social media would impact on the general elections. Apart from that, the campaigns were heated, and the opposition was very keen on winning more seats than the previous elections. Each of the Parties has their Manifestos that showed the public their intentions once they assumed office.
The National Solidarity Party promised to improve the livelihoods of everyone in Singapore. Their manifesto outlined four factors that would determine the standards of living for Singaporeans. These factors included:
(i) economic factors
(ii) security factors
(iii) social and family factors; and
(iv) Personal factors (e.g. personal development, self-esteem, among others .
The party outlined how it will achieve better living standards to the people through addressing the issues that are underlying the four factors mentioned earlier. Their main agenda in the manifesto was to give employment to the youth in order to empower them and improve their lives. This promise was echoed in many political rallies and campaigns throughout the campaign period. Another major promise was improvement of healthcare and health services in all hospitals that are run by the government. This promise would be achieved through provision of more hospital beds, and subsidies on healthcare.
People’s Action Party also had their own strong manifesto that echoed many promises. The party also focused their campaign on the long-serving history that has improved the economy of the nation over the years. It also insisted on its core values and attributes that have been the pillar of the success it has brought to Singaporeans. The main political milestones and achievements that the ruling party had done in the past were a major driving force in the campaigns. The party also suffered the loss of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew who was the party’s first leader. This was a tragic moment for the party but his son took over in his footsteps. The move boosted public confidence and support for the party.
The Singapore Democratic Party was also keen in the campaigns. They aimed at winning many seats in the 2011 elections. They had strategically positioned themselves to win the elections through its intensive campaigns. The party leader Chee Soon Juan was confident and eloquent in previous campaigns. He had a huge following and gained popularity among the youth. His leadership of the opposition party makes him a major rival to the ruling party PAP. Unfortunately, he was not eligible to run in the 2011 election due to undercharged bankruptcy.
The Worker’s Party led by Low Thia Khiang was a huge political force in the 2011 elections. It came in second after the People’s Action Party (PAP). This party made major strides in its campaigns and mission to take up more seats in parliament. The party leadership was also strong and gained massive support among Singaporeans. The party's strategy in the elections was to gain more seats in parliament in order to have more parliamentarians who would champion its manifesto ideas and aspirations for the party.
Singapore People's Party led by Chiam See Tong was also a strong party in the 2011 elections. Their campaign strategy was similar to that of SDP only that they had more agenda to put across. They promised to improve the lives of Singaporeans and boost social and economic status of the country. A major note on the political campaigns of the party was the charismatic leadership attracted many voters. This party also made major moves in the elections.
The overview of the political parties in Singapore and their strategies in the elections show a common denominator in the way campaigns are run in the country. Most of the parties in the opposition focus on the economy and living standards improvement for Singaporeans. There are many other strategies the parties use to garner votes in the electoral divisions. Nevertheless, the People’s Action Party has been leading since independence. However, the 2011 elections was the most hotly contested polls. The opposition made major strides in winning seats. It was even termed as a “landmark” election by the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong .
The Outcome of the 2011 Elections
The election results of the 2011 general elections were one of the most important historical events in Singapore. Despite the fragmentation of the opposition, high profile candidate like veteran distinguished international lawyer Chen Show Mao who was standing under WP ticket. In addition, Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong's former principal private secretary Tan Jee Say who was with SDP . The two candidates were very strong during the campaign and electioneering period. The elections had historical moments such as the opposition clinging to one of PAPs strong holds Aljunied GRC. The success of the opposition party was also coupled with the gain of more support from the public as opposed to the previous elections. Furthermore, PAP part suffered erosion of support due to the poor performance it has set in the past five years after the 2006 elections. The Prime Minister failed to call for by-elections in Jurong GRC and Ang Mo Kio GRC after the seats fell vacant in 2008 and 2010 respectively. This also created a lot of resistance from the opposition and its supporters.
The People’s Action Party took the majority of the seats in parliament and won the elections again. The party won 81 out of the 87 seats in the elections. According to The Economist, the People’s Action Party relies on neither political intimidation nor election malpractices but its dominance has been absolute since 1965 . The results of the elections were skewed towards PAP and it was succinct that many Singaporeans have confidence in the ruling party. In the 2011 elections, there are some voters who expressed their discontent with the ruling party. This was evident in many campaign rallies and the social media. However, it seems they held their cool and still voted for PAP at the ballot . The dominance of PAP was expressed in the nationwide vote plus the number of electoral seats it won. At 60.14% of the nationwide vote, PAP secured its ruling for another term. The loss of support and the Aljunied GRC shows that Singaporeans are shifting their support for the ruling party. The 2011 election results were the worst since independence in 1965.
In 2006, the PAP party garnered over 66% of the nationwide valid vote as compared to only 60% in 2011. This is a sharp drop in the popularity index of the party. Owing to the new shifts in landscape and the shakeup in the government, the PAP party would see a tougher election come 2016. The general public sentiment is that the party’s rule will hopefully improve the living standards of Singaporeans and boost the economy. However, this improvement depends on PAP’s efforts to head the calls for transformation and change in various sectors. The ruling party has about 90% of the seats in parliament and the livelihoods of Singaporeans is in its hands.
The opposition is also at task. Despite the loss of the 2011 elections, the next five years will be extremely valuable in amassing support and laying out strategies for the coming elections. Since the public is increasingly dissatisfied with the ruling party, the opposition can take that opportunity and use it to gain popularity and support. There is a lot at stake for both the ruling party and the opposition. The opposition needs to strengthen its ground in PAP dominated electoral divisions. It should also be keen on keeping its support in the divisions that it dominates. Despite having very few parliamentary seats, the opposition can use the limited chance to champion for a better government in the next five years after the 2011 elections. The opposition got six Worker’s Party and three other NCMPs in parliament. They can use these positions to push for the cause of the ordinary citizen more efficiently. The change of political landscape in Singapore will make PAP go back to the drawing board to strategize for the new politically new environment in Singapore.
Politically, 60% nationwide valid votes is the minimum threshold for PAP. Below this level, PAP will have to take extreme measures to win back the support and votes of Singaporeans. At the moment, PAP needs to carefully address the people’s problems in order to prevent further erosion of its popular support. Above 65% is a comfortable zone for PAP because it will have gained most of the country’s support. In the 2006 elections, PAP garnered 66.6% nationwide valid votes. However, it failed to take care of the needs of Singaporeans by opening the way to foreigners with no regard of the pressure it would put on infrastructure and society. It also failed to control the process of real estate and costs of living. As a result, the 2010 elections saw them lose some of their national support to the opposition. In case, the party fails again to take care of the people’s needs, it may see itself plunge down to below 60% in the coming 2016 elections.
The results of the 2011 elections mean that the ruling party will have to persuade Singaporeans to cope with the increasing costs of living and overcrowding. This is considered a "long shot" owing to the fact the opposition is positioning itself to meet the needs of the people. If the opposition succeeds in persuading the electorate that they can deliver better living standards and tackle the overcrowding problems in Singapore, PAP might easily find itself slipping into a crisis and possible eviction from power in the coming elections. Transformation and gradual change in PAP would be a good strategy to position itself for a re-election since the popular support is diminishing fast.
The 2011 general election was a watershed election. Once again, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong led the PAP in the elections. The party had many challenges in the elections. Despite the winning of the elections, PAP had a huge task to fulfil in order to stop the downward trend. Soon after the general elections two of the former Prime ministers announced their retirement from the cabinet . This was taken as a mark to end the era of PAP, however, it is still early to make such a judgment. The performance of the PAP government will determine the popular support and confidence of the Singaporean people. The Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has a great task ahead after the elections. The ruling party has to work extra hard to solve the current problems and save its image if it wishes to gain back public support.
The Way forward
Singapore has had a long lasting rule under PAP administration. Analysts state that the below expectation performance of the 2011 elections was a significant sign of regime change. The opposition gaining more support and winning some of PAPs strong hold GRCs was a huge step. The change in the political atmosphere in Singapore is imminent. The current political situation has many signs of change. One of the major indicators of change in the near future is the steady loss of support of the ruling party. Since independence, the ruling party has always had massive support from the electorate. However, since the 2011 elections, it was clear that the public is more discontent with the PAP rule. Many Singaporeans were extremely dissatisfied with the party’s regime and were ready to take it to the ballot. However, Prime Minister’s apology happened to have softened the resolve of some of the voters.
The five years that follow the election will act as a test for the current regime. In case the PAP government fails that test, it would mean a complete shift in the coming elections. The opposition is also very keen. Since the Workers Party and other parties gained several seats in parliament, this is an opportunity for the opposition to show the public that they can rule better than PAP. The opposition can use the chance to fight for better living standards, reduced cost of living, controlled property prices, regulated foreign policies and other touching matters that affect Singaporeans.
In conclusion, Singapore could see a complete regime change in the 2016 elections if the popularity of PAP declines significantly due to the national problems that people face. It is also possible that the opposition could take over soon because of the major breakthroughs that happened in the previous general election. The determining factors that would cause the change of regime are centered on economic and social challenges in Singapore. The political party that would address these challenges would be the one to take the seat in the coming elections. It leaves Singaporeans in a position to determine their future thorough the elections. If they are dissatisfied with the current regime, then it would be a historic moment to have PAP voted out of power.
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