May 6, 2011 - Candidates and constituents perpare for one of the most hottly contested parliamentary election in Singaporean history. Julie Noce Reports.
They came by the thousands... Singaporeans at a Workers' Party rally days before an historic general election. With 82 of the parliament's 87 seats up for grabs, opposition candidates are getting more attention than ever. But does this signal a change for the pristine city-state where the ruling party has been in power for the last 50 years and where political freedom is restricted? Not likely. Singapore Democratic Party candidate Vincent Wijeysingha says one reason is due to the so-called fear factor that still resonates for some Singaporean voters. He says years of indoctrination can't be changed overnight. (SOUNDBITE) (English)SINGAPORE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CANDIDATE VINCENT WIJEYSINGHA SAYING: "But it will happen, you know. people's minds change, they ask questions, they realize that they can do things. You step from fear across the threshold and then you realize the world is your intellectual oyster." Another reason: people aren't really all that mad. Despite loud voices over core issues like wages and cost of living, International studies professor Alan Chong, says the middle class has in general benefitted from the government's policies and may only be getting a few things off their chest. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ALAN CHONG SAYING: "Just by being there, you're signaling to the incumbent, hey , I want some change. I may not ultimately vote for your opposition but i'm signaling to you there's always a possibility that I will go in with the opposition. So they probably want to send a message, extract the proverbial pound of flesh from the government, but not really wanting to throw this government out." Whether they vote for the incumbent out of fear or complacency, most experts agree... the People's Action Party will enjoy another 5 years of majority rule once all the votes are counted on early Sunday. Julie Noce, Reuters