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Even with COVID-19, printing companies say they are ready for surge in orders for General Election material

Even with COVID-19, printing companies say they are ready for surge in orders for General Election material

A poster of Singapore People’s Party's Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC candidates during the 2015 General Elections.

SINGAPORE: As Singapore draws closer to the next General Election, some campaign material suppliers say they have not received orders yet but are ready to quickly roll into action when needed, even though COVID-19 protection measures may still be in place.

Printing company Republic Holdings, which has produced flyers and brochures for “almost all parties in Singapore in the past couple of General Elections” has yet to receive orders, said owner Ben Ang.

He is ready to start work if a party approaches him as his supply chain has not been affected, Mr Ang said. His production line and almost his entire workforce are in Malaysia, and he has been able to ship his goods into Singapore every week. 

READ: Singapore factory activity shrinks for 4th month despite uptick in key gauge

In fact, he would welcome any orders that came through right now. Recent sales have dipped by 80 to 90 per cent compared to the months before April. Past projects for political parties, such as manufacturing their banners, might boost earnings by about five per cent or so, he said.

SG Banner has not been approached either, but a spokesperson said that the company would be "very happy" to take on any orders.

"My company normally prints for events, but now there's nothing because of COVID-19, so we are more than happy to do things," said the spokesperson, adding that the company does not foresee any challenges should orders come in after the election is called.

While SG Banner has no problem with printing, it would not be able to do installations, as their installers are from Malaysia, said the spokesperson. The company said it printed between 20 and 30 large banners during the last General Election.

With regards to challenges posed by COVID-19, a spokesperson said that the company would follow Government guidelines based on the situation.

The lack of orders for campaign paraphernalia comes even as speculation grows that the election will be called soon. Last week, the Elections Department announced some of the measures that will be implemented to protect against the spread of COVID-19 during the election process.

CAMPAIGN PREPARATIONS WELL UNDERWAY

Most political parties CNA spoke to said they have already made progress in getting material ready for the election, although one noted that supply chain disruptions have caused delays in getting the necessary paraphernalia.

Campaign preparations for Potong Pasir including poster design and content for the local manifesto began in mid-2019, Singapore People’s Party (SPP) chairman Jose Raymond told CNA.

“As soon the Elections Boundaries Review Committee released its report, and when the party confirmed that I was its candidate for Potong Pasir a day later, the election posters and manifestos for Potong Pasir were sent for printing,” he said, adding that other SPP candidates will finalise their materials in the next two weeks.

READ: SPP to contest 4 constituencies at next election

“As of now, the suppliers have not indicated that there are any issues with delivery, and we are certain that all our local suppliers will deliver whatever we have ordered as scheduled,” said Mr Raymond.

Meanwhile, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) said that based on the current situation, they have all their needed materials ready.

“Not to bog the readers with too much nitty-gritty, it is suffice to say our logistics team has been prepping from months ago and we have our materials ready,” said a spokesperson, adding that the party will “adjust accordingly” should the situation change. 

The National Solidarity Party (NSP) said that it has reached out to both its usual and new vendors for its materials, but movement and business activity restrictions in both Singapore and Malaysia have disrupted supply chains and made it difficult for these suppliers to confirm whether they are able to meet demand.

Given that political observers have predicted that the election could happen next month, the NSP is looking to get their supplies ready by the first week of July, said the party’s secretary-general Spencer Ng. 

The items include brochures, stickers, merchandise labels and copies of their newsletters.

READ: Physical election campaigning guidelines rest on COVID-19 situation, will be announced later: ELD

In response to CNA's queries on their arrangements for the elections, the People's Action Party's media team said in an e-mail response: “We are now focused on dealing with COVID-19 so would rather not talk about this for now.”

READ: The sooner the General Election is held, the sooner Singaporeans can tackle challenges ahead: DPM Heng

The Reform Party said it has placed orders for their materials, but their vendors have expressed some difficulty in confirming a deadline when the items will be ready as COVID-19 has also affected their supply chain, the party's chairman Andy Zhu said. 

They are hoping to have their materials ready by the beginning of July.

The Singapore Democratic Party declined to comment for this article, while the Worker's Party did not respond to queries.

Singapore’s next General Election has to be called by Apr 14, 2021.

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Source: CNA/rp

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