Saturday, 7 October 2017

A mockery of democracy in Singapore

The island state's recent presidential poll was baldly engineered in the ruling People's Action Party's favor and stirred the race-based politics it had long bid to suppress

Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) is on the political defensive following last month’s controversial presidential poll that saw one of its stalwarts win in an uncontested race.

Halimah Yacob became the country’s first female head of state following sweeping constitutional changes made to ensure that an ethnic minority Malay would become the city-state’s eighth president.

Halimah’s rise to the largely ceremonial post was ushered by an uncontested poll that resulted in a walkover when a government-appointed committee disqualified two other candidates after they failed to meet newly enacted financial criteria required for eligibility.

Billed as a measure to broaden minority representation in government, the first presidential election reserved for candidates from the Malay community has been widely derided on social media for undermining democracy and the country’s highly vaunted meritocratic principles.

Read the full story at the Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist with the Asia Times specialising on current affairs in Singapore and Malaysia. He can be reached at