“My life has been an open book for ridicule and attacks from PAP and its supporters. I hope you don’t ridicule me and my wife, taking our home as a little sanctuary where, when we close the door, it’s just us and our children in a little corner of the world where the PAP can’t get in.” - Chee Soon Juan
Former nominated MP Siew Kum Hong lamented on his blog “This is not what I want Singapore politics to be like“: “What has been happening on the Internet especially Facebook since (Tin was unveiled as a PAP candidate) has been nothing short of disgusting.” Pointing out that little is known about Tin’s competence and suitability as an MP and her policy positions, Siew urged netizens to give Tin “a chance to show what she would be like as an MP, instead of digging up all this personal stuff”.”I find what has happened to be quite offensive and reprehensible,” he wrote, adding that such “gutter journalism” would deter people, including him, from joining politics. Some posters, however, felt such ‘attacks’ are to be expected in politics, and that the PAP had dealt with the opposition politicians in the same way. To give credit to the opposition parties, no personal attack or name calling on Tin Pei Ling so far (questioning her lack of experience or young age does not count as personal attack)!
My own thought is a man of high morale and integrity do not speak ill about their opponents let alone personal attack, just lay out the facts, no need to resort to name calling, no threatening of law suits, be fair and let the voters decide. While the PAP often takes the moral high ground and claims the party’s MPs are people of high integrity, the tactics used by some of its senior politicians speak volume of their claims. Some of the past incidents include:
- Lee Kuan Yew has:
- Called the late Mr JB Jeyaretnam a “mangy dog”.
- Called former president Devan Nair an “alcoholic”
- Called James Gomez a “liar and a cheat”
- Called Chee Soon Juan a “psychopath” and “dud”
- Called Tang Liang Hong a “anti-Christian Chinese chauvinist”
- Called former solicitor-general Francis Seow a “womaniser”
- When PAP’s Mah Bow Tan fought Chiam See Tong, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dig out their O-level report cards in an attempt to show voters that Mah (six distinctions) is smarter than Chiam (seven credits and a pass in Englsih). Truth be told, the people in Potong Pasir did not buy it, Chiam turns out to be a passionate and respected MP while Mah is one of the most hated Ministers who mismanage the Singtel Payout, Transport and HDB issues.
- Name-calling by the PAP dominated hustings as Workers’ Party candidate Tang Liang Hong was labelled an “anti-Christian, anti-English-educated and Chinese-language chauvinist.” But it wasn’t the PAP men who got sued. A group of senior PAP leaders – PM Goh Chok Tong, SM Lee Kuan Yew, DPM Lee Hsien Loong and eight other MPs – sued Tang for allegedly defaming them in a police report which he had filed to seek police protection. (Source)
- Remember when Andrew Kuan put up his name for president? Suddenly, his old bosses with the appearance of minister/s appeared out of nowhere to say how bad his performance was, nevermind staff confidentiality.
- James Gomez Saga In GE 2006, a few big guns from PAP such as MM Lee and Wong Kan Seng accused James Gomez “a liar” for a possible oversight incident (though the PAP would like us to believe that it was staged and they may be right but let’s give the man the benefit of doubt, for an intelligent person like James Gomez, he may be an opportunist to gain political mileage but is unlikely to stoop so low to do it fraudulently).
- Minister Balakrishnan had said there is a YouTube video online which raises questions about the SDP candidate Vincent Wijeysingha‘s sexual orientation and political agenda (read more here), May 2011
- Goh Chok Tong attacked by saying Tan Gee Say is not of Perm Sect calibre (The Straits Times 01 May 2011). Did he abuse the system and where is the staff confidentiality? Goh Chok Tong also went against his own words that he would not comment on candidates outside his own GRC constituency. Read here on the dissappointment of Tan Gee Jay on the smear tactics of his former boss. For the record, most of the top civil servants that join as PAP candidates are CEOs of statuory boards or Deputy Secretaries, I do not recall any Permanent Secretary joining as PAP candidate in the last 2-3 elections. So why pick on Tan Jee Say?
- 2016 BB By-Election:”The campaigning started on a blistering note with none other than the PM showing off his vocabulary power and attacking Chee’s character.“Completely hypocritical”, “duplicitous” and “almost beatific” were among the terms used.” – Yahoo
PAP leaders have been indulging in ‘gutter politics’ to character assassinate their opponents instead of debating them on public policies. This contrast sharply with oppositions’ focus on PAP’s unpolular policies and mistakes of individual ministers’ works rather than on personal attacks.
May be what Khaw Boon Wan said was more representative of a gentlemanly stateman and hope that our own statemen and women can emulate and behave as one worthy of the citizens’ respect (afternote 2015: Khaw himself has since degenerated into one of those senior politicians who utter loads of rubbish these days after taking on the PAP chairmanship, it begs the question can an honorable person able to stay clear and upright in the kind of political environment that PAP practices?):
许文远以自己为例忠告候选人，不必回应每项指责。“我不喜欢攻击别人，我主要讲我自己能够做什么，我已经做了什么，我还能为选民做什么，然后由选民自己来选择，你攻击别人，何苦呢？ (Khaw advised PAP candidates using himself as an example, no need to respond to every criticism. “I do not like to attack others, I will focus on what I can do, what I’ve done and what I can do for the voters, and then let the voters choose themselves , you attack other people, what for?”)” Source
And I agree with him, the voters are wise by and large, if they are not that is because they are sick of the ways the Government rules and want changes. Is change necessary a good thing? Mostly not (such as Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia) going from a dominant single party system to duo/multi-party system but there are exceptions (Korea, Malaysia). But the growing pain is necessary and that is how democracy works. Otherwise the price that the citizens have to pay will be much much higher if we wait till PAP fails.
[Updated GE2015: this is probably one of the cleanest elections compared to past elections, nevertheless there are still some PAP candidates chose to do it abeit on a milder scale. Lim Biow Chuan, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Ms Sim Ann and Ms Grace Fu all engaged in personal attacks on their opponent. In response to Lim Biow Chuan’s acqusition on why Jeannette Chong-Auldross switched side, Lim got the pie in face instead.]
“what does she stand for?” My answer is simple: “Mountbatten and Singapore, now and always.
In my rally and in my personal pledge to Mountbatten, I have always said I will put the interests of Mountbatten and Singaporeans first, and act according to my conscience. Yes, I will place my loyalty to Mountbatten and Singapore ahead of party allegiance. Can Mr Lim do the same?”
“PAP does not have ‘a tradition of backstabbing our mentors'” – Vivian Balakrishnan
“Till today, I am still puzzled by why the PAP cannot fight a fair election without gerrymandering, abusing the GRC system, basically, making sure they enter into a boxing ring with an opponent who is expected to fight them with hands tied behind the back. There is a reason why bullies are not popular in schools. Why not be the school prefect?” – Alvinology
Walk the talk and fight fairly
Source: ST Forum, 5 May 2011
PRIME Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s apology to Singaporeans for mistakes made in the past five years is refreshing and reassuring (‘PM says sorry'; yesterday).
He also emphasised that the People’s Action Party (PAP) adopts a different style in working with a new generation of Singaporeans compared with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
This is good to know.
However, I have noticed that in the current hustings, it is the PAP which is consistently hitting below the belt and not campaigning the way a new generation of Singaporeans will appreciate.
It started with Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who is contesting Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, questioning if his rival Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate had a gay agenda.
Subsequent instances followed: Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong’s personal and unwarranted remarks about his former principal private secretary and now SDP candidate Tan Jee Say (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC); and Minister Lim Hwee Hua’s (Aljunied GRC) salvo against rival Workers’ Party secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, questioning the accounts of Hougang Town Council without showing proof.
Foreign Minister George Yeo (Aljunied GRC) also claimed that Mr Low has abandoned the residents of Hougang who voted for him.
The simple retort would be that several PAP MPs have also shifted ground for the current General Election, including Mr Baey Yam Keng, who moved from Tanjong Pagar GRC to Tampines GRC.
Trust Singaporeans to make the right choice. We hope we do not see the PAP resorting to desperate measures when the party gets rattled, when the opposition has by and large campaigned with restraint.
Low Kim Song
“we should maintain a high level of respect and decorum in the hustings (of election). By all means, all parties should campaign vigorously and make their policy platforms known. But we must not descend into character assassination, mud-slinging, falsehoods and scare tactics.” – Eugene K B Tan
Read more at:
- How the PAP has been ‘engaging’ the opposition in this election
- Personal attacks on WP’s Chen will ‘backfire': Analysts
- Is Tin Pei Ling a victim of ‘gutter journalism’?
- Tan Jee Say saddened by SM Goh’s personal attacks on him
- Tan Jee Say not good enough
- NSP? It stands for No Substance Party: SM Goh
- Lawsuit threats put muzzle on diverse views
- Low hits back at DPM, calls for ‘civilised’ political engagement – Workers’ Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang yesterday (Aug 16 2015) shot back at Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean’s recent withering attack on the opposition party and its leaders, by asking the public to judge the politics that the People’s Action Party (PAP) practises.
- The oyster that seared Teo Chee Hean
- Another name calling incident by PAP leader (2015)
- Bukit Batok by-election: Chee has not changed, says PM Lee Hsien Loong (2016) – “Here is somebody that’s (up for election) who is able to just gloss over bad things which have been done, and which he has not come to terms with or acknowledged. And he’s now presenting himself as a new man – reinvented – and yet, unchanged, and unregretful and unrepentant.”