Dear A.S.S. Editor,

The time now as I am writing this is 12:32 am on the 12th September 2017. Two years ago, on this day at this time the PAP was returned to power on a landslide election victory.

I remembered about one week ago when myself and a few of my parents’ friends were talking about the election, I told them why I would be voting for the Opposition Party standing in my constituency – if the Opposition did not capture the majority in Parliament or at the very least capture close to half of the seats GE 2015 would have been the last General Election.

Why I said that was because knowing how the PAP works, I was telling my parents’ friends that if the PAP won a supermajority, you would expect them to impose new rules, for example, insisting that Opposition Parties are to have a certain budget in the bank account for them to contest in future elections, that would shut out a bulk of the Opposition Parties from contesting in elections, or other rules to make it harder for them to contest.

It would be like the scenario witnessed in 2001 and 2006, the Opposition had its big fishes such as Dr Chee Soon Juan, Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong and J.B Jeyaretnam removed from the political scenes by virtue of defamation suits (with the PAP opaque on how they were defamed before the public and a legal system with technicalities such as summary judgement and a low threshold for defamation), leaving behind the “ikan bilis” to contest against them and thereby creating the illusion of a free and fair election whereas Singapore’s elections are no different from that of North Korea’s – the difference only being being the form it is clothed in, but in substance, the similarities are glaring. Only “approved” candidates are able (in substance allowed) to run and those deemed a threat are somehow, somewhat found guilty of defamation or a misdemeanor that would see them bankrupted and/or/therefore disqualified from staging a contest.

The only exception was in 2011, when Low Thia Khiang managed to blindside the PAP in recruiting candidates who would otherwise ordinarily have joined the PAP and claimed a GRC (though he was not alone, the NSP and SDP also managed to do so) but when that team claimed a GRC, all of a sudden that town council ran into “financial issues” (while the PA consistently gets away scot free for its “adverse opinion” assessment by the Auditor General’s Office and no legal action was taken against Oh Thai Nan, a CCC chairman who approved CCC claims to his own company, just to name a few) and now three of the five members of that A-team is not on the verge of a civil suit that would see them bankrupted.

If you are a top dog in the Opposition its either you implode or you will be set up to fail, unless if the PAP is put in the 26-25 scenario in the then Legislative Assembly when it was clinging onto power by only one seat.

Very soon, don’t be surprised of Dr Chee or Dr Paul Tambyah or both gets into trouble for some sort of “mismanagement of funds” issue or defamation or sedition case, just to give a teaser on what is to come for the PAP script.

And even if the Opposition were to get into power there is always Mdm Halimah would at the very least be vetoing all key appointments and budgets until the hypothetically-future incumbent grovel at the feet of Lee for mercy.

If ever, the lesson learnt is don’t ever give the PAP a blank cheque. It will come back to haunt you. The PAP has no respect and nothing but contempt for the people they are leading.

When Roy Ngerng was sued for defamation, PM Lee did not even bother to give an open refutation of Roy Ngerng’s arguments if they were indeed defamatory when the case was concerning the blood and sweat money of everyday citizens and it is of interest to the public to know the details of it.

The leader at the top can’t even treat his siblings or their late father’s wishes with decorum or dignity. And his minister of state could lie to parliament that his own personal lawyer would recuse himself from all matters related to the house when in the next instance his nephew was prosecuted for contempt of court over a private Facebook post (whereas his minister, K Shanmugam got away scot-free when he commented on the death penalty for drug cases the day before the verdict for Yong Vui Kong’s appeal would be released).

And now we have a president who will be helming the office against the wishes of the people, accountable to now one but her benefactors who got her there and adding another tint of opacity to the way CPF funds are managed. Is CPF our money? PM Lee clearly doesn’t think so and he confirms it when he goes out the way to ensure his choice is now guarding the henhouse.

At the very least that is the amount of contempt the PAP shows towards we, the people. And at the very worst we won’t know what will happen to our CPF savings when now we have a president who is beholden to the incumbent watching over how the incumbent manages them. When the PAP goes populist, such as policies such as the Pioneer Generation Package, it is only cynically manipulating the population at best.

Case in point, 2 years after its landslide victory, hikes to water prices (along with added costs to consumer items and food items) and S&CC charges followed, rendering the pioneer generation package almost meaningless (even if the poorest members of the elderly community received vouchers to offset the costs, it is unclear what is the threshold set for the receipt of vouchers and they will still be affected by past down costs when they purchase their meals or pharmaceuticals).

Whether GE 2015 will be the last general election we will ever have is now everyone’s guess. Why I call it so because it might be the last time in many years to come where the Opposition will be able to mount a vigorous challenge against the incumbent and sadly Singapore squandered the chance to put in place a system that would guarantee a future with real and meaningful change in place.

Like it or not, a system has to be put in place where the government of the day honours those it is leading. A nation where its government honours its people will lead to a culture where people will honour each other which would lead to a healthier society and one that is able to attract and retain the best of it own. Will we live to regret the decisions made on 11 September 2015?

But if we ever get to the next general election with the Opposition somehow able to keep its big fished unscathed by the system, let us remember to ensure that lightning will not strike again on the same spot.

N Chan
A.S.S. Contributor

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