Honeymoon, Low Passing Mark and the Reality of

Free Election

It is interesting to note that the oppositions is enjoying
honeymoon and low passing mark in a roundtable
discussion#1. To pass the election and being elected, the
PAP will need 90 marks and while 60 marks for the
oppositions. Ha! Ha! Where got such thing? Are you
saying a neighborhood school student needs only 60
marks to get an A and the top school student needs 90
marks to get the same A? Perhaps, the Examination
Board should consider this talented suggestion as an
encouragement to weaker students and implement this to
help to make 'every school is a good school'.

Honeymoon and low passing mark are indeed an insult to
voters, to students, especially to voters in Aljunied GRC.
This implies that low quality oppositions candidates are
OK as voters only demand 60 marks from them.
However, voters demand 90 marks from PAP candidates.

Ask yourself this question: Are the elected PAP
candidates in GE2011 scored 90 and above marks? And
the elected WP MPs only manage to score 61 marks.
This is an insult to the intelligence of voters. This implies
that voters in Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East are
double standard and have a very low intelligence in
distinguish 60 and 90 marks.

Do you think Lee Hsien Loong score 90 marks in
GE2011? If not, by this analogy, he will most likely to
lose in the coming general election as no one expects any
PAP candidate to score 90 marks.

The one who brings out this issue has failed to tell the
history and background of the whole (and true) story.
Why do we have this funny honeymoon situation of low
passing mark?

[Still honeymoon period for the opposition
The PAP, as the incumbent ruling party, needs to do more
to win votes, compared to the opposition. Voters are
likely to hold the PAP to a higher standard, said Dr Tan.“I
think the opposition will still have an advantage, at least
for some time to come. I think they are still in the
honeymoon period,” he said. “For now, the passing mark
for the PAP is 90 and 60 for the Workers' Party and other
opposition groups.”] #1


In basic economics, supply meets demand and then we
have equilibrium price and quantity. However, we can
intervene through different measures to influence the
equilibrium price and quantity, for example, setting new
entry requirement, new barriers, new control, even
control of free information etc.

In the past 50 years, there are many examples that we see
the changes in market (election) condition shifting the
equilibrium price and quantity favoring the PAP.

1. Operations control:
The most famous one is of course the ISA, just names a
few, in 1963, we have Operation Cold Storage and in
1987, Operation Spectrum. All these ISA operations
result to a new equilibrium that gives honeymoon and
low passing mark situation to the PAP. There is less
supply of oppositions candidates, especially those
capable to score 60 and above marks.

You may consider the legal and court cases against
oppositions as another operations control.

2. Information control:
Information needs very little introduction. Our press
ranking is one of the lowest in the world. In the past 50
years, oppositions rarely have the opportunity to make
their messages pass through the newspapers and

To make things worse, the mainstream media
intentionally mark down the oppositions. Those scored
above 60 marks will be the target. So, the media acts
like the teachers, just use their pens to deduce points for
any oppositions candidates with a potential to score high
marks. On the other hand, the media will add points to
the PAP. Low and poor quality PAP candidates will
receive addition marks from the teachers. As blue eyes
boys, all PAP candidates will receive 90 marks and
above from the media. This is the result of getting 60%
votes and having 90% and more MP seats in the
parliament for the PAP.

You may consider the short campaign period as another
information control. Voters only receive PAP news and
election messages from the mainstream media during
election time.

3. System control:
Operations and information control are obvious targets
for attacks in the world of western democracy. So, in
order, to make the election looks more democratic, the
PAP introduces system control to fine tune the election
market. They introduce GRC, NCMP, NMP all kinds of
sub-democratic measures.

You may consider higher election deposit, minority
eligibility etc. as additional system controls. Remember
the case of Tanjong Pagar GRC in GE2011; money does
play a role in the walk-over.

4. Monopoly control
In a free market, in a free competition, there will always
be winners and losers. In fact, a long-term equilibrium
will bring in equal number of losers and winners for both
the PAP and oppositions.

According to Duverger’s Law, our election system of
one winner for a single constituency will result to a 2-
party system.
[In political science, Duverger's law is a principle that
asserts that plurality rule elections structured within
single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system.
This is one of two hypotheses proposed by Duverger, the
second stating that "the double ballot majority system
and proportional representation tend to multipartism.]#2

In the past 50 years, the PAP has implemented too many
measures to make the election market a ‘monopoly’. It
has the free will and free hand to decide the election
system, the equilibrium point the PAP wants, and the
market information they want voters to receive etc.

Voters in Singapore have realized the reality and we now
call it the ‘new norm’. In a normal free market
competition there is no honeymoon or low passing mark.
The ‘norm’ is just back to market equilibrium with freer
and more open competition. It is still a long way to go as
the PAP is still a monopoly. (Please note that monopoly
will not lose its honeymoon and low passing mark in
basic economics).

The PAP has to acknowledge that voters want to deny
them the monopoly status and demand a norm and real
market equilibrium.

One should ask, despite operations, information and
system controls, the PAP, according to Dr. Tan still
needs to work harder as the PAP has lost their
advantages. Why do the honeymoon and low passing
mark now shift in favor of the oppositions? Is that
because the PAP is enjoying above normal profit for too
long in the past? Voters only want them to have normal
profit and not 60 marks taking more 90% MP seats in the

Academics, professionals and many others responsible
citizens have to tell the true story behind the ‘honeymoon
and low passing mark’. We have to acknowledge the
past elections were organized under a control situation
with limited competition. Only knowing the past, then,
Singapore can move forward.