Why Singapore’s Election May be Overshadowed by the Oxley Road Scandal

As fans of American politics can testify, it is hard for anything to overshadow the spectacle of a general election.

This may be the case in Singapore this year, which is set to elect a new President this September. Although this is largely a ceremonial role that is analogous to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, it is highly prestigious and something that typically generates huge levels of interest among candidates.

So why may this be overshadowed this year, and what should voters expect as the campaign draws near?

How the Oxley Road Scandal Has Shook Singapore?

In short, the main governing role in Singapore belongs to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose family have formed a dynasty that began more than 50 years ago. His father Lee Kuan Yew ruled from 1959 to 1990, while he is also credited with turning a former colony into South-east Asia’s wealthiest and most technologically dynamic region. Lee Hsien Loong has sustained this legacy during his premiership, winning an impressive 83 out of 89 seats during the recent, 2015 election.

Despite this, his younger siblings have launched a scathing attack on their brother, saying that they have lost confidence in him as a leader. This would be surprising in any circumstances given that criticism of the Prime Minister is often punishable with prison time in Singapore, but the presence of family ties makes this attack even more of a shock. Much of the controversy surrounds a debate about the fate of the family home at Oxley Road, with Lee Hsien Loong’s siblings claiming that their late father wanted the structure demolished after his death and accusing their brother of attempting to inherit an unjustified standing in the eyes of the electorate.

How Will Impact the Presidential Election and the Nation as a Whole?

This has certainly had an impact on the Presidential election, which has already been marginalised by the fact it has been reserved for candidates from the Malay community. This is part of a new constitutional change, which means that elections will be reserved for a specific racial group if no one from that demographic have been President for five continuous terms. This, coupled with the ongoing political crisis in Singapore, has dampened enthusiasm among potential candidates and taken some sheen off the ceremonial role.

Domestic and overseas investors may also be affected, as the level of sentiment may fall amid low levels of Presidential applications and the continued fall-out from the Oxley Road scandal. This may mean that investors with interests in Singapore who are looking to manage their wealth effectively during this time may be better served by partnering with experts such as Withers Worldwide, who can deliver strategic advice during potentially challenging economic times.



Marcus Turner Jones graduated in Economics from the University of Sheffield before pursuing a career as a Market Analyst in London. He has his own website, Turner Jones Finance, which features news, updates and analysis on financial events from around the world. He is an author for the following publications: CNA Finance, Talk Markets, The Market Mogul, FX Street, Singapore Daily

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