Hougang By Elections Update 2!

"PAP vs WP"

Desmond Choo (L) and Png Eng Huat (R).


Workers’ Party nominee has been announced, with little surprise.
Mr Png Eng Huat, a businessman will be WP’s candidate for the By Elections in Hougang.

Little is known about him but he stepped up after the infamous Yaw Shin Leong, former Member of Parliament for Hougang, was sacked by the Workers’ Party for personal indiscretions. While Low of WP initially maintained that those were just rumors, they eventually sacked him because he did not turn up for the meetings to clarify matters.
If someone Low has known for so long could have indiscretions which Low did not know about, what makes anyone think that Mr Png would be more trustworthy or have integrity? I’m not doubting whether Mr Png has integrity or not. I am questioning if Low and his party knows Mr Png well enough?

Yaw Shin Leong’s scandal was the first in Singapore. The first time an Opposition got into Parliament by winning a GRC and the first time a MP was sacked by his party for indiscretions. Till date, Yaw Shin Leong has not stepped up to clarify. Some friends call him a coward. I don’t know better – but I wished he came up to speak, be clear and as the phrase goes “BE A MAN.”

According this Channelnewsasia article, I quote Low’s impression of Png:

“He described Mr Png as mature and the “right candidate” for the by-election.
Mr Low said he has known Mr Png before the 2006 General Election.
He said he observed the way he works for some time and is confident that he’s a person of integrity.
Mr Low said Mr Png is sincere in serving the people. He believes Hougang needs someone like Mr Png, who can connect with its residents.
Mr Low said if elected, Mr Png can contribute to the party’s leadership and parliamentary work.”

The answer logically is simple – because Png wasn’t as good as Yaw so WP decided to send Yaw instead!

Well, the truth is we never know everything even if we have spent a long time with them. Sincerity cannot be judged, it is tested and only seen over time. Integrity can only be revealed over time. Also don’t know what parliamentary work is Png going to support.. maybe be like Pritam, take someone’s else work and present it as his without attributing the source at the time of speech. Damn, you can get sacked from your university course for plagarism…. Or be like Gerald who didn’t know about MX9.. Old news but relevant nonetheless.

Well, the same might be said that we don’t know Desmond Choo, PAP’s candidate, for long. But Desmond, at least, he’s been working hard for more than 1 year while the WP MP was sorely Missing In Action (hence no speech link..)

Actually, I want a peaceful by election. One that is honourable and with integrity. For candidates of quality to fight cleanly and maintain peace amongst the people of Singapore. And for Mr Tan-Jee-Say-I-Don’t-Know-Be-MP-or-President-so-I-Just-Join-Both-Elections-And-Ended-Up-Losing-Both to just stop his press releases. It’s getting *quite* annoying every time he opens his mouth.

Psst. I prefer Desmond Choo. Like his Facebook page here.


World Leaders Falling Short of Expectations.. But in Singapore.. It’s a Different Story

A very notable release was made in the Press 2 days ago.

Business, Political and Religious Leaders Around the World Fall Short of Expectations Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor Finds Global Economic Crisis Matched by Crisis of Confidence in Leaders and How They Communicate

Just how much did the leaders fall short by? 1%? 5%?

“Leaders from business, political and religious life are falling desperately short of expectations around the world – with Europeans and Americans the most disillusioned – according to a 12-country survey by global communications firm Ketchum. And in fact, more people globally believe leadership will actually get worse in 2012 (31%), compared with anticipating better leadership (27%). Perhaps most concerning, the report found a 28-percentage-point gap between expectations of leaders and their delivery against those expectations.”[1]

That’s a grand 28% drop!

But, did this apply across every country?

Interestingly NO! Yes, I’m sure you knew it coming from the post title. 😀

Comparatively, Singapore fared much better!

I found this article online by Daniel Goh, very well written.

Daniel says:

“Meanwhile, in Singapore…

Compared to other parts of the world, Singaporean political leaders demonstrate the most effective leadership domestically and internationally compared to other types of leaders. Amongst Singaporeans, leadership skills that matter include the ability to handle an issue or crisis calmly (68-percent), to lead by example (66-percent), to communicate in an open and transparent way (65-percent), and also be able to articulate a clear long term vision (63-percent).

Respondents also feel that the most important action any leader needs to take to restore confidence during challenging economic times is to be open and honest about challenges (65-percent). Over half of Singaporeans (57-percent) state that effective leadership from business leaders will be very important in terms of navigating the unstable economic future. Most leaders seem to be moving in the right direction, with more than one third of Singaporeans having greater confidence in business (40-percent) and political leaders (36-percent) navigating through the economic crisis within their country compared to one year ago.

Eight in ten Singaporeans (80-percent) stated that effective communication was extremely important to leadership.

When Singaporeans form their views on leaders and leadership, channels that allow for both visual and audio content, such as broadcast media (48-percent) in-person contact (49-percent) and televised speeches (47-percent) are seen as most credible. Bizarrely, Singaporeans view press releases (57%) as the most credible communication sources when forming opinions about leaders. Online sources such as Twitter (6-percent), blogs (25-percent) and other social media platforms (14-percent) are all much less credible. ”[2]

I have been thinking why social media platforms are less credible. I think it is simply because it started as a platform utilised by the Opposition to spread assumptions, declare unfounded claims and misinterpret statistics if any! The more astute ones will do their homework before jumping on the bandwagon. However, many others retweet and post on FB links and stories that are not true. Over time, even as more people use social media and spread the word from the Opposition camp, it only perpetuates misinformation and serves to erode the credibility of the social media sites. IMHO, one of them was/is Temasek Review…

Mainstream media needs to verify and ensure credibility of news publications. What a shame it would have been if the Editor allowed untruths to be on it hence why.. the Opposition couldn’t get their news on it. See, that’s why they turned to social media.

People listen to reliable and trustworthy leaders, and particularly in a crisis, leaders who are steadfast. Singapore has been able to steer through many challenging circumstances such as economic crisis and health crisis such as SARS because we have leaders who can be trusted, leaders who are steadfast, leaders who are constantly thinking for the future.

Our recent Budget is a case in point. The Opposition would like to claim credit for the shift to a more socialist type of budget but this credit is NOT theirs to claim. The Singapore PAP Government was already raising funds in the earlier years, saving up so that the money can be used when the time is right. If we didn’t save or raise funds through various measures (remember, everyone complained about rising costs of living such as ERP etc) , we would not have enough money for today. With the aging population in sight, this is the right time to release the money. Any earlier, we would have no money for the now or future. Any later, the costs of healthcare could have escalated, the way it has in so many countries.

So what’s my point? Trust the PAP Government.

Not the dubious claims of 1st World Government by the WP, nor the impossible and ridiculous Budget by SDP that will throw the future generations into debt or the silent SPP or wild & incoherent RP.

KJ – Wrong.. Again

Reform Party secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam (KJ) presented misleading information to Wall Street Journal over the facts about his father Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam. Read it here.

Strange, wouldn’t the son know better? Or was the son misinformed? Or was the son KJ , like many of his other posts, just out to misrepresent and misinform? Now, such a man, we cannot allow to be a politician in Singapore. What if our National Interests get misrepresented at a World Forum?

The Government has been compelled, for national integrity sake, to clear his mess. There are many important matters on the country’s agenda such as ensuring a consistent supply of water. It is clear this incompetent political party secretary-general has placed personal interests above country. Such a man… we must ensure he does not become a political leader in Singapore.

Historical moment: By-elections!

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.

I’m excited.

Some people just don’t get it.

The week has barely started when I came to know of a press release made by a Ms Hazel Poa from NSP. Yes, the infamous Nicole Seah Party if you paid attention during the 2011 General Elections.


So here we go.. in Bold…

In the last election, Singaporeans have demonstrated a keen desire for a more balanced political landscape, a wider range of views and more robust debates in Parliament.

You mean more confusing debates? Check it out here!

One important ingredient however remains missing for us to achieve the level of scrutiny and debate desired by Singaporeans – the Freedom of Information Act.

It does not take a FOI Act to initiate a discussion. The debate in Parliament is proof that policies are subjected to scrunity and debate.

It is necessary for opposition parties to have equal access to all information pertinent to the formulation of public policies and laws, unless there are overriding reasons for withholding information, for example where national security may be threatened.  Armed with accurate information, different political parties would then be better equipped to scrutinise each other and hold each other to higher standards.  This will ultimately benefit Singaporeans.

It is necessary for all MPs to be clearly informed of the policies and laws, PARTICULARLY WHEN IT IS AVAILABLE ONLINE. WP clearly failed to do their research before they went to the Parliamentary debate. They failed to find out what MX9 was all about. They failed to recognise the relationship between private sector and public sector pay and its subsequent impact on the Ministerial Pay debate.

Gerald Giam from WP assumed that the information was withheld when the information was stated online for goodness sake!

Thank you for explaining the formula for MX9 formula. That is not something that we have privy to, the exact formula for MX9. But..so I’ve no choice but to accept that DPM has proposed, that DPM has revealed in this House regarding what the MX9 is pegged to… we are under the understanding that it was more in line with general wage level..” Gerald Giam during Parliamentary Sitting 18 Jan 2012.

The PAP chided WP for not submitting their proposal to the Review Committee on Ministerial Salaries, seeking to further tilt the unequal balance of information in their favour.  If WP is obliged to open their books, but there is no obligation on the part of the Government to provide WP with relevant information they require, no robust debate will ever be possible in Parliament. If withholding proposals from the Review Committee is considered a political manoeuvre, then the denial of a Freedom of Information Act is a political manoeuvre on a much grander scale.

Fact: At every parliament session, MPs can file Parliamentary Questions that require the Government to explain its position or policies.
Hence, this is not an issue of the govt’s obligation to provide relevant information. It is the OBLIGATION OF WP TO ASK WHAT IT WASN’T CLEAR ABOUT.

WP could have easily submitted a question on MX9 if they wanted to but they did not do so. 

Singapore has made some headway in getting a more diverse representation into Parliament.  However, without equal access to information, debates in Parliament will be stifled.  Accurate and accessible information is crucial to developing a Parliament with thought-provoking debates.

MPs have been voted in by the citizens of Singapore to ASK questions that affect their lives. We, mere ordinary citizens, cannot afford to have MPs or Political Parties who do not know what they are talking about! Crafting an entire WP debate on mere assumptions could cost Singapore our future!

Stop your “thought-provoking” dramas and press releases. It’s more like a headache.