As an Aljunied GRC resident I was pleased to hear that the WP team led by Mr Low Thia Khiang will be staying to contest the next General Elections. The WP team have performed well in the Parliament directing pertinent questions at the ruling PAP. Although they have not done so well in the managment of the town council, I would still say that my estate is clean and well maintained.
I also admire the integrity of the WP members who could have went off to lead another team in a new GRC but they have stayed to demonstrate their committment to the residents. I believe with one more term in parliament, the WP team would be able to return the town council to a surplus budget.
I am particularly impressed with my MP Pritam Singh who has punched above his weight in parliament and gave the highly paid PAP ministers a run for their money, but I also wish for MP Chen Show Mao, who came highly dubbed as a high-flying highly-paid lawyer, to start questioning the logic of PAP policies.
I am not a rabid Hammer supporter but I voted WP because I believe Singapore needs some opposition in Parliament for it to become better. Somehow, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong was right to recently point out that there’s no point in sending a minister calibre candidate to try and win back Aljunied. After all, we have voted out Minister George Yeo, Minister Lim Hwee Hua and another potential minister candidate – and still repenting for it.
But PAP must realise that the fight in Aljunied is not just about Aljunied but about whether the PAP can still connect with normal Singaporeans and if they understand the political aspirations of the younger Singaporeans. That’s why I say the recent remarks by DPM Teo Chee Hean, where he accused Low Thia Khiang of shedding crocodile tears, demonstrates that the ruling party is out of touch with the common man. It needs to work harder to understand the ground better and not just rely on party activists and grassroots who will simply tell them what they want to hear.
Last Friday, DPM Teo said, “Mr Low was about to field a team to contest Mr Lui, and I’m sure if his party has contested where Mr Lui stood, he wouldn’t be saying nice things about him. I’m sure they’re crocodile tears.”
Technically, what DPM Teo said might be true because if WP does send a team to Moulmein-Kallang, it would have to attack Lui Tuck Yew on transport policies in order to win. This is a political reality and rules of the game. Singapreans are mature enough to understand this. But did DPM Teo have to attack Low accusing him of shedding crocodile tears?? To me it just feels like PAP is using the mass media to bully the opposition. It also feels like the PAP does not respect the idea of political opposition.
DPM Teo could have just said that he welcomed Mr Low’s appreciation of Minister Lui’s work and he wondered if Mr Low would have said the same thing if he was contesting in Moulmein-Kallang GRC against Minister Lui. DPM Teo did not have to attack Low like a pouncing lion given his higher political appointment, but what he needed was to show more wit and grace as a national leader.
As the GE looms, I hope politicians remember that it is usually not policies that will sway voters now – many voters have mostly made up their minds. GE is a time for politicians to connect with ordinary Singaporeans and to show that they still understand what makes this nation tick.