Tell me, how is this not with political intention? By doing this, Rotary Club of Singapore is indirectly supporting the PAP Candidate for Hougang during the By Election period. Who knows, maybe this donation managed to swing the 2.7% to the PAP camp.
If the donation is non political, why was it announced during the By Election period? Why is it restricted to just Hougang resident? Why is the donation given to a program managed by a politician? Why isn’t the donation given to a NGO instead?
And since when is Rotary Club allowed to take part in political activity? Isn’t it supposed to be non-partisan? Perhaps Rotary International should look into this.
I did something very kaypo last Thursday. I went all the way to Hougang to check out the Hougang By Election Rally. I stay in Jurong but I’m sure I’m not the only person from outside Jurong to attend the Rally. And since I travelled all the way to Hougang, I decided to attend both PAP and WP rallies. And I must say that the 2 rallies are very different.
There’s the photo of both rallies.
Those who are unfamiliar with Singapore political scene might think that the first photo is from the People’s Action Party’s rally. After all, if you are the ruling party, you should have more supporters at your rally. Right? Well, you are wrong. The first photo is the Workers’ Party rally while the second photo is the People’s Action Party rally.
I always wonder where are the 60.1% PAP supporters from the last election.
The PAP and WP rallies are world apart. PAP rally is orderly and well organized. Most people are seated and you see volunteers giving out noise makers and signboards for the supporters to use while cheering. OK, they managed to fill up 3/4 of the stadium seats. But that’s still very little compared to WP’s supporters.
WP’s rally is messy. People just stand or sit anywhere they like. Some people brought their own signboard, while others brought musical instruments and noise makers. It’s like a party. There is a small WP booth that sells their party flag and umbrella which are quickly snapped up by supporters. There’s even a mini pasar malam happening at one corner with several makeshift store selling food, drinks and ice cream.
And the same thing was reflected last night during the results announcement. Both PAP and WP didn’t apply for assembly area for the supporters. PAP had a mini gathering at their Hougang Branch HQ. Seated in neat rows and carrying the same well made signboard.
The WP supporters simply gathered at the Kopitiam at Blk 322 Hougang Ave 5. It was an unofficial gathering place. I wasn’t there, but from the YouTube video and pictures, the atmosphere seems to be the same as their rally. This video of the result announcement says it all.
For a moment you thought Singapore won the World Cup or an Olympic Gold Medal.
I can’t find much photos or videos of the PAP’s gathering. Maybe because it is a small and private event. But here’s an embarrassing video I found online.
The poor uncle seems to be forced to carry the signboard higher. Seriously? Just compare that with the WP supporters. Nobody care how you hold the signboard. You can hold it up high or close to your heart. You can wave it or hold it straight. It doesn’t matter. Nobody will dictate how you should hold the signboard.
OK, Workers’ Party won the Hougang By Election with a 62.1% margin. That’s 2.7% lesser than 2011 General Election. Depending on which analyst you read, some might say this is a sign that what PAP has been doing in Hougang last year is showing some success. Honestly, that’s bullshit.
Let’s all take a look at what happened since 2011 General Election. Soon after the Election, WP’s treasurer Eric Tan resigned from the party because the party chosen Gerald Giam as NCMP instead of him. Some Workers’ Party MP were accused of plagiarism in their parliament speech and Facebook posting. The expulsion of Yaw Shin Leong over lack of accountability on his extramarital affair allegations. Just before nomination day, a WP member applied for a Political Donation Certificate without the knowledge of the party. And during the election, confidential minutes of the WP CEC meeting were leaked to the media. There might be more dirt on Workers’ Party which I missed. But you get the point.
And after all these internal problem within the Workers’ Party, People’s Action Party’s candidate only managed to increase his margin by 2.7%. Most people expect PAP to get a better margin. This goes to show that the changes that PAP introduced since last General Election has little or no impact to the voters’ sentiments. It also shows that the WP supporters still have faith in the party despite all the setbacks and issues.
And FYI, Desmond Choo garnered 8,065 votes in GE2011 and 8,210 votes in the By Election. That’s just a 145 votes increase. OK, the turnout for the By Election is 1,225 lesser than the previous General Election.
In my opinion, the “shift in votes” are insignificant. PAP should have done better. It’s kinda embarrassing that they didn’t secure a bigger margin.
But Workers’ Party shouldn’t be too happy about the win. It has been a rough year for WP. Low Thia Khiang is right, every political party will face obstacles and challenges. Although the voters continue to support WP despite all these issue, the party shouldn’t take the people’s support for granted. If Workers’ Party wants to take up bigger role and responsibility in Singapore political scene, it needs to tidy up the party first.
As for the People’s Action Party, it seems that nothing much has changed since last election. Some analyst said that this By Election is a referendum on the government’s recent reforms. If that is really the case, then it seems like the voters of Hougang has given the PAP a F9 grade.
Let’s try to recall one year ago during the 2011 General Election. Desmond was the PAP candidate for Hougang SMC. He garnered only 35.2% votes. That is the lowest ever from a PAP candidate in Hougang SMC since Low Thia Khiang won the seat in 1991. Even Eric Low got 37.3% in 2006 General Election. But I’m glad PAP didn’t field Eric Low either. I doubt he will stand much chance after saying that Hougang is a slum. (And I still don’t remember him apologizing for that statement)
So is Desmond Choo the best man? Remember this, during the last election, PAP also lost Aljunied GRC. Which means former foreigner minister George Yeo and Singapore’s first female minister Lim Hwee Hua are without a seat in parliament within the party. On top of that, they have 3 more former Member of Parliament with years of experience. Surely one of these 5 people would be a better choice than a one time General Election candidate who only garnered 35.2% votes.
And PAP had the opportunity to field their best man in Hougang during the last General Election. They could simply pull any minister from a GRC and field him/her in Hougang. But PAP didn’t.
So, may I in turn ask DPM Teo this question: Is Desmond Choo PAP’s best man?
I always think that Pritam Singh is one of the best speaker in our Parliament. During the recent rally for Hougang By Election, Pritam Singh reminded everyone a part of Singapore history that we should never forget.
These are things that you will never find in the history textbook. Thank you for reminding everyone about Wee Toon Boon, Phey Yew Kok, Teh Cheang Wan and Choo Wee Khiang. I don’t really know much about them. I think I’ll try to read up more about them when I’m free. It’s a pity we didn’t learn about them in school.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame PAP for having these people in their party. Such things are sometimes unavoidable. It is good that they were charged in court eventually for what they have done. But at the same time, I think we should never sweep these ugly past under the carpet. They should be in the Singapore history textbook and act as a constant reminder to everyone that corruption cannot be tolerated in Singapore.
This, I think, is far better preventive measure than million dollar minister salary.