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.


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.