Gutter politics and biased reporting by Straits Times
Written by Ng E-Jay
23 May 2012
The PAP is up to its usual bag of tricks again. When the campaign for Hougang began, Mr Desmond Choo, the PAP candidate, promised a clean fight. What he did not promise however, was that his fellow PAP ministers would also fight fairly. It is disingenuous that the dirty work of smearing the opposition has been left to his colleagues while he preserves his clean image.
In the first couple of days of the campaign, both sides focussed on issues that concerned the people. But as to be expected, straight out of the classic PAP playbook, the dirty punches were thrown at the opposition and there is no more mention of national or local issues on the part of the PAP as polling day draws near.
This was the same tactic used on James Gomez in the 2006 general elections. The last few days saw an intensive smear campaign, which was throttled only because of backlash from the ground.
This time round, the smear campaign by the PAP machinery is directed at Png Eng Huat’s stand on the NCMP issue and whether or not he was on the party ballot for the NCMP post. The fact that this is completely irrelevant to the needs and aspirations of Hougang residents has escaped the PAP.
The Straits Times, leader of PAP propaganda, has joined in the smear campaign by publishing an unflattering image of WP leaders at the rally on Tuesday night, together with the headline: “Workers’ Party faces allegations of dishonesty”.
Using superlatives like “a dramatic 24 hours sparked by a leaked memo”, the Straits Times quoted Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean who said that the episode raised questions on whether the WP was being “honest and upfront” with Hougang voters.
Mr Png clarified at Tuesday’s rally: “When I used the word ballot, for me at the time … it’s a voting process … To clarify, my name was on the ballot paper itself that night when we (went) for the NCMP selection meeting.”
During Tuesday’s rally, Mr Low Thia Khiang called the leaking of the minutes a “calculated move” to sabotage Mr Png and the WP. Nonetheless, he called on the people to look at the leaked minutes and judge for themselves whether the WP has been above-board in its internal dealings.
Not wanting to let go of the issue, DPM Teo Chee Hean spoke again to the media this afternoon, saying that the “key question” over why Mr Png was not chosen as NCMP by his party remains “unanswered”.
This is even more disingenuous, as Mr Low had already said during Tuesday’s rally that the decision on which member of the East Coast team should be fielded as NCMP lay on the collective decision of the CEC, via secret ballot. The ballot slip was prepared by Mr Low himself.
Is DPM Teo asking WP’s CEC to account for why they did not collectively vote for Png during the secret balloting process? This is ridiculous.
We might as well ask the PAP to account for why, if it felt Mr Desmond Choo was such a good candidate, was he not roped into a GRC team and allowed to enter Parliament by riding the coat-tails of a cabinet minister.
Channel News Asia, 23 May 2012
SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party (WP) Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang has urged voters not to be distracted by recent events.
Mr Low said they were made to “intentionally damage the party” and “sabotage” its candidate for the Hougang by-election Png Eng Huat.
Mr Low was speaking on Tuesday evening at the party’s second rally for the by-election.
Mr Low confirmed that the leaked minutes of WP meeting to decide on the post of the Non-Constituency MP are genuine.
Mr Low said he does not want to speculate how anonymous sources obtained the minutes.
But he also confirmed what Mr Png has said about not being interested in the NCMP post.
Producing the NCMP ballot paper on stage, Mr Low said all the names of the East Coast GRC team members were considered for the post.
“This is the ballot which I prepared, with all the names of the team on the ballot paper. Png Eng Huat had told me before and after the General Election that he was strongly against the NCMP scheme and had not wanted to be considered for the NCMP position, just as Eric Tan had told me of his desire to be NCMP. However I still listed the names of the whole East Coast GRC team, because they were all part of the team.”
He added that even though Mr Png had said he did not want to be considered, the selection lay solely with the Central Executive Committee (CEC).
Mr Png had one vote to his name.
Mr Low said this shows that the party functions on a collective leadership.
“In fact, I would invite all of you to take a look at the minutes (of the meeting to decide on the NCMP post). It shows that the Workers’ Party functions in a fair and transparent manner where decisions are made collectively. In addition, it also dispels rumours that the CEC is made up of all ‘yes’ men and women or even fully controlled by Low Thia Khiang. In this case, the CEC was not unanimous in its decision,” said Mr Low.
“Png Eng Huat had previously stated his position on NCMP to me and some other members of of the CEC but he still got one vote; the majority voted for Gerald Giam. When the voting result was concluded, only Eric Tan decided to resign; the other members stayed united on course with the Workers’ Party. This shows that the Workers’ Party is a credible party and can embrace different opinions while working together as a team and moving forward,” added Mr Low.
The WP secretary-general said he stands by what he said when he introduced Mr Png as a man of integrity.
Speaking at the same rally, WP chairman Sylvia Lim also backed Mr Png. She said that if Mr Png is elected as an MP, she will appoint him as vice-chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
Mr Png took the opportunity to list out his plans for Hougang residents if he is elected. They include improving the estate maintenance and community events for youths.
The next Workers’ Party rally is expected on Thursday, a day before the Cooling-off Day when no campaigning is allowed.