5 Things First Time Voters Should Think About Before Deciding on a Political Party

workers party rally
With the General Election (GE) just around the corner, it is imperative that first time voters comprehend the significance of the GE and realize the magnitude of how their decisions could affect the future of our country. The onus is on every Singaporean to vote responsibly and sensibly. It is not a game or a frivolous popularity contest. The outcome of the GE will change the state of Singapore for 5 years,. So think carefully and thoroughly before you go to the polling booth. Here are a few pointers of what you should mull over before placing your vote.
1. If you don't know anything about politics, ask someone who does
Many young people don't know much about politics or are simply just not interested in it. Please refrain from spoiling the vote by checking all the boxes because you feel impartial towards the parties competing in your constituency. One of these parties will be managing your estate for 5 years, and it is not something to be neutral about. If you have no idea what these parties stand for, ask a friend or a relative to give you a brief description on them, and make an informed decision. Singapore practices compulsory voting for citizens above 21 years old, and citizens who fail to vote will have their names removed from the certified register of electors, this means that they are disqualified from voting at any subsequent presidential or parliamentary election indefinitely. We implore you to turn up to vote, for the sake of our country and your livelihood.
2. Don't just vote for a particular party because it's cool
Don't just hop onto the bandwagon because most of your peers are leaning towards one political party, and it is the “cool” party to vote for. Make your own decisions based on what you want to see achieved for Singapore. Keep an objective mind in the initial phase, listen to the competing parties' speeches and selling points, read the sincerity, passion and commitment (or the lack of) and choose the party that best resonates with you.
3. Carefully weigh the options and decide which party will serve Singapore better
Will it be the long-time running champions who built Singapore from the ground up, or the new faces full of passion for the country, ready to implement innovative and unorthodox ideas for a better Singapore, and eager to bring change for the greater good? Each political party has its pros and cons, you have to weigh them and contemplate how they will pan out.
4. Decide which policies are of highest priority
Ask yourself which are the most problematic issues that need to be addressed and tackled effectively, and which party is able to deliver this. Keep an ear out for the parties that talk about the overcrowding problems in Singapore, the influx of foreigners, the scarcity of jobs, the rising costs of living, transport issues, lack of housing and whatever changes you would like to see happen, and the aspirations you have for Singapore.
5. Evaluate the entire campaign period
Take the promises and pledges candidates dished out in rallies and debates during the campaign period, the presence on ground (their walk-abouts and communication with residents), their door-to-door visits, reports from the media, the different point of views made by netizens, and analyse the performance as a whole, then ask yourself who is best suited to lead.
Basically, voting all comes down to social responsibility and how you would like to envision Singapore for the next 5 years or so.
A lot can happen in 5 years, and electing the wrong party could bring you from a first world nation to third world.
Just take a look at the shortcomings of Greece, Thailand and Malaysia, all of which economies and living conditions are slowly deteriorating because of questionable  political leaders making ill-informed choices.
It will be worse for Singapore if something such as this were to befall us as we have no natural resources, and once the government or leadership fails, it will be a very rapid downward spiral. Singapore is your home, and like every home, it needs every single one of its residents to play a part in building a cohesive environment.
Special thanks to Andrew Loh of The Online Citizen for helping out with this article.

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