PAYING THE PRICE TO SEND THEM INTO PARLIAMENT

According to official spiel, this general election is supposed to decide on the team which will set the direction for Singapore for the next 50 years. Yet only 9 days – the minimum period under current election laws – is set aside for the electorate to vet the new players. This looks more like speed dating on steroids.

While the alternate voices – a better term than the derisive opposition label – struggle for a seat in parliament to represent our wishes for a better future, the incumbents have a string of hangers on lined up to ride coat-tails into office. A quick survey of the day jobs they are jettisoning in favour of entering politics suggests that monetary reward has to be a prime motivator:

former Syariah Court deputy registrar Rahayu Mahzam, 35
deputy director at a polytechnic, Darryl David, 44
assistant general manager at some child care outfit, Joan Pereira, 47
foreign exchange research head at a Malaysia bank, Saktiandi Supaat, 41
corporate lawyer – please, not another overcharging Alvin Yeo – Amrin Amin, 36
an animal activist, Louis Ng, 37

Even a former Assistant Commissioner of Police can expect a hefty hike in take home pay. As for the executive director of a homegrown investment, trading and management consulting firm, the game changer has to be “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.

Goh Chok Tong begs to differ, he is saying the electorate are the ones being seduced. In his equivalent of the horrible person’s call for repentence, he admonishes:

“And if the (Marine Parade) people are not careful, they will be seduced… they will pay a price.”

Goh has a curious choice in turn of phrase, accusing the alternate parties of “looking for plunder”. Another $3 billion has just been announced to seduce the senior citizen’s vote, on top of the Pioneer Generation Package goodies. Coming in at a time when industrial output has shrunk for 6 months in a row – with potential to drag the economy into technical recession – one has to ask where the money is coming from. Ask nicely, not the way Chee Soon Juan once did:

“Mr Goh! Mr Goh! Come here Mr Goh! I want to talk with you, come here! Where is our money Mr Goh? You can run, but you cannot hide.”

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