Twitter has been a wild flurry of activities since the Workers’ Party issued a press releasing informing the Public that the Member of Parliament (MP) for Single Member Constituency (SMC) Hougang has been expelled from the party.
In Singapore’s Constitution, a by-election MUST be called when the Member of Parliament ceases to be a member of, whether via resignation or expulsion, the political party he represented for in the election.
The decision by the Workers’ Party CEC has certainly been influenced by public opinion and position on the need for transparency and a commitment to high personal standards by the MPs. This sends a clear signal to their supporters who have condoned his behaviour.
Extracted from this Straits Time article “Yaw Shin Leong meets Hougang residents at CNY dinner” dated 12 Feb: “Said long-time resident Johnson Chern, 45: ‘I was a little disappointed by the rumours, as an MP should lead by example. But I will still support him and the WP. He has done quite a good job as MP.’
A particularly interesting supporter is former Presidential candidate, Mr Tan Kin Lian. His posts are slightly lengthy and I shall add some visitorship to his site through this link: Workers’ Party and Yaw Shin Leong.
Is Workers’ Party truly up to scrunity? Is the expulsion sufficient?
Some questions to consider:
1. The duration taken to address the issue. The issue occurred even before the Chinese New Year. Yet, they did not pursue it.. until YSL stepped down as a treasurer.. The question then was “Why did he step down? Guilty?” Why have they finally expelled him? Public pressure? Party’s image? Despite their justifications, I believe they had no choice but to do so or risk marring the party’s image further.
2. YSL’s public appearances. Despite the allegations, YSL was empowered by the party (since they did not expel him them) to continue representing them at the Meet the People session and also most recently at a Chinese New Year celebration. Article here.
In contrast, when the civil servants from CNB and SCDF were (and are) being investigated for gross personal misconduct, the Government took it upon themselves to suspend them from their duties. By failing to restrict YSL’s activities as a Public figure and as member of Workers’ Party, we must question the message and values implied by their decision… and YSL.. was he too smug in attending and maintaining his silence on the allegations?
3. Sylvia Lim informed the media that they informed YSL of their decision to expel him through his wife “… because Mr Yaw was uncontactable.” (Extracted from Channelnewsasia article: Workers Party expel Yaw Shin Leong dated 15 Feb 2012)
The Hougang grassroots did not seem to have the same difficulty in contacting Mr Yaw when they invited him to the Chinese New Year party!
Also, if the inquiry process was really really really really transparent.. they could have asked the alleged third party, who is supposedly pregnant, from their party to and was also a running candidate in the General Elections, to clarify, deny or confirm the truth of the allegations!
By solely placing the blame on Mr Yaw, who has since been expelled, has Workers’ Party truly been transparent?
Or was it because it was forced to “show hand”?
One can only guess.. just as the public is left guessing on the validity of the allegations… in spite of what seems like disciplinary actions against Mr Yaw.
4. Mr LTK left Hougang to contest in a bigger constituency Aljunied, forming what has been touted as an “A” team. He left a long time trusted man of his, Mr YSL, to contest and lead Hougang. Such a long time.. yet the character of the man couldn’t be read correctly. Today, the residents of Hougang have to go through a by-election. Money has to be spent, people have to be rallied – time and money.. precious commodities.. all because one man had a bigger appetite for more … and left someone of now-dubious character to lead Hougang.
Remember, it is not easy to find people of good character to lead a country. Temptations such as greed, lust, money, women and power.. will always seek out people in leadership, to seduce and distract.
I wonder who will Workers’ Party send as a representative for the by-election?
And who will PAP send?
Will other parties come in to contest? Afterall, WP did not explicitly state, like KJ who declared that Ang Mo Kio was his, that Hougang was theirs.