Dr Koh Poh Koon who lost in the January 2013 by-election in Punggol East SMC is likely to be fielded in Ang Mo Kio GRC for the next general election.
Despite promoting himself as the ‘Son of Punggol’ in the Punggol East by-election, it looks like Dr Koh is also going to be the ‘Grandson of Ang Mo Kio’ or ‘Honorary Cousin of Yio Chu Kang’ or something like that. Just yesterday,
Dr Koh quit as the Chairman of the PAP Punggol East branch. He was later seen at the Tree Planting Day in Ang Mo Kio GRC, together with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several grassroots leaders.
‘Son of Punggol’ abandoning ship?
When interviewed, Dr Koh said “I came at the invitation of Mr Seng Han Thong, but obviously this is a big GRC so there could be many areas that we could participate and help in,” said Dr Koh. “So I’ll serve in whichever area they feel I can contribute”.
It seems like Punggol East residents will have to stick to Workers’ Party and MP Lee Li Lian for now. Just like in Hougang and Aljunied, the losing PAP candidate has left ahead of the next general election. Too bad for the 43.71% who voted for PAP.
Maybe Dr Koh will be replacing MP Seng Han Thong who has served for a long time. Or perhaps MP Intan who found herself in hot soup after the Yang Yin incident and has yet to answer netizens’ questions about her support for Yang.
With his transfer to the Prime Minister’s GRC, it is very likely that Dr Koh will be elected as a MP in the next GE. During the Punggol East by-election, Dr Koh was touted by PM Lee as having the potential to be ‘more than an MP’. With his transfer, it now looks like Dr Koh is going to be Minister Koh soon, thanks to the GRC system. What would have once seemed doubtful is now almost a reality.
As with Dr Koh’s transfer to Ang Mo Kio GRC, all of the defeated PAP candidates have not stayed to re-contest the wards where they lost. They have been moved to safe GRCs which were not previously contested by the WP. Why? Because the PAP does not view the other opposition parties as credible threats.
Desmond Choo who lost twice in Hougang is now serving in Tampines GRC (previously contested by NSP). Likewise, Ong Ye Kung who lost in Aljunied GRC is now serving in Sembawang GRC (previously contested by SDP). It looks like a bunch of PAP unknowns will be fielded in the 7 WP wards for the sake of contesting those wards. No heavyweight PAP candidates may be keen to try their luck there.
It seems like the specially-selected ‘elite’ PAP candidates will be fielded in safe seats whereas the other PAP candidates are destined to stand in hostile territory for their baptism of fire. If ‘elite’ PAP candidates are ever fielded in unsafe seats and lose, they will be moved somewhere else for the next election as a reward to ‘save face’ – a reward for losing.
There seems to be no worries for an ‘elite’ PAP candidate who loses because he will somehow get elected the next time around. Think Mah Bow Tan and his defeat in Potong Pasir in 1984. That did not stop him from becoming a well-known minister later on.
So the next time the PAP labels any of its candidates as ‘ministerial calibre’, just go ahead and vote him out. You can be sure he will be subsequently moved to safer ground to ensure his election. It’s just a matter of time. Don’t bother asking why, because that’s PAP’s business.
Article first appeared on www.tremeritus.com