PE: No rallies – who or what are we afraid of?


Although social media is  playing a role in political campaigns, offline engagement is still crucial.

I refer to the article “Physical campaigns in politics still matter in social media era” (Straits Times, Sep 8).

It states that “At the session where Dr Voigt spoke, lawyer Daniel Tan, long-time campaign volunteer to PAP MP Charles Chong, said offline engagement is still “vitally important”.

The German experience suggests, first, that Singapore parties are on the right track, and, second, that the recent rise of social media in elections here should be used to facilitate physical contact and augment the impact of offline campaigning – not replace it.

On top of being effective, physical engagement keeps a democracy healthy.”

Some of my friends who read the above article said that they were rather surprised that there was no mention of what may arguably be the most significant and recent change in political campaigning that may be on everyone’s lips – kind of like missing the elephant in the room – that it is very unlikely that there will be any rallies for the upcoming presidential elections.

In this regard, according to the article “Presidential Election 2017: New rules to ensure candidates act with dignity” (Straits Times, Aug 31) – “There will be no designated rally sites for candidates in this election.

Those who want to hold a rally need to secure a site on their own, and apply to the police for a permit.

Televised forums are in while rallies are discouraged, for example.”

Are there any countries in the world where there are no rallies during elections?

By the way, our Press Freedom ranking is 151st in the world.

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.