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Posts Tagged ‘Workers’ Party’

C: WP’s performance during the Budget debate

In Political governance on 16/03/2012 at 9:15 am

Low Thia Khiang got it absolutely right when he said, “This is the first Budget after the 2011 election. It points to the direction of future governing and the focus of government policy from focusing on economy to social policy, from the economy’s role to raising the wages of lower-income Singaporeans. This is a major shift in the government’s thinking and mindset. The government is therefore making a formal statement after much reflection after the 2011 election.”

And it not only us netizens who agreed with him. The international financial media say the same thing (Example).

Sadly the rest of Team WP did not live up to Low’s standards.

Sylvia Lim gave the DMP, Finance Minister a chance to imply that the WP only wanted the government to throw money at healthcare, not to use the money wisely. She had urged the government to raise spending on healthcare saying, “Singapore’s total expenditure on healthcare as a % of GDP was far lower than international standards. More importantly, … public expenditure on healthcare is also far lower than elsewhere … expenditure on healthcare is about 1.6% of GDP; nearly 4 times lower than the 6.1% global average …”

His reply was that the focus should be on outcomes, and that by 2016, healthcare spending would go up to 2% of GDP and by 2030 around 3.5% of GDP. He spoilt things for the PAP by raising the straw man of GST at 20% if the WP’s suggestion of ^% was adopted. Even my dog has heard of reallocating funds.

Show Mao talked of the need to do more for the poor. The PAP missed a chance to tarnish the halo around him that his fan bozs and gals have created around him. If Denise Phua or Lily Neo had only stood up to say, “You have been away too long, Mao. Look at figures since 2001. More has been done, and more will be done”, he would have looked silly and out-of-touch. Fortunately for the WP, it was Vikram Nair who tried to rough up Mao, with his “hurt feelings” and Nigerian Scam joke. Mao got away unhurt and Vikram looked as though his brains had been damaged by drinking water from a tank where an FT’s corpse was founding floating.  

Then there was PritamS, who I had once half-joked that the WP should muzzle by taping his mouth. Allies of the PAPpies had tried to savage Show Mao for not naming the person whose tots he had put up on his FB site. As it was clear that he was not claiming authorship of the stuff, nothing happened but this incident should have gotten PritamS to attribute what he said in a parly speech. He didn’t and was taken to task by a minister. He compounded his initial minor failing by admitting he screwed up. He should have stuck to the line that as he had gotten permission to use the stuff, he didn’t do any wrong, and any way where was the harm? Footballers who do dumb things get fined by their clubs. WP should fine him.

As to the other three WP MPs, I can’t remember anything memorable they said. But at least GG didn’t gift the PAP any gaffes like the one he gifted them during the debate on ministerial salaries, when he said he didn’t know about the benchmark civil service grade that the WP had proposed ministerial salaries be pegged to.

Conclusion? OK but can do better especially Sylvia and Show Mao. And please WP, get PritamS a minder, a good one, or tape his mouth. He is the WP’s equivalent of the PAP’s Nairs (lawyers like PritamS) and Tin combined. The PAP can afford the Nairs and Tin, the WP can’t.

The WP should use parly debates to build up the confidence among us S’poreans that the WP can lead a coalition government after the next general election or the one after that. This they failed to do in the two show piece debates (ministerial salaries and Budget). But its early days yet.

Still the PAP shouldn’t get complacent. Tharman’s image as a technocrat is being spoilt by his soundbites on 20% GST if more has to spent, CPF annuity is assured and nominee gets all, and $1000 monthly salary can afford HDB flat. It’s not true that Tin Pei Ling is helping to craft his sound-bites, I’ve been assured. I’m checking if she is helping Shanmugan (“only about 50% of S’poreans pay tax”).

As for Mrs Chiam, I think a “D” is fair, don’t you? The Chiams are squandering the goodwill he has with S’poreans in their attempt to renew the SPP through Mrs Chiam. SIGH.

WP does do Original Thinking PAP

In Political governance on 09/03/2012 at 7:42 am

(Or “Trumpets pls for WP” or “WP way ahead of PAP and S’poreans”)

So the PAPpies are accusing WP MPs of plagarising. The implication is that WP don’t do original thinking. Well it is clear from the responses of the “victims” that the PAP are peeing on the wrong tree. Wicked, mean tot: are the two Nairs advising their fellow PAPpies to use this tactic? Seems the kind of thing lawyers love to do: go negative on obscure technicalities. It also seems similar in nature to the Nair’s recent antics; antics that backfired badly on the Nairs, and on the PM in one instance. So the PAPpies should take care.

Seriously, the WP had an original idea that was way ahead of public sentiment in its 2011 General Election Manifesto. Instead of public transport being provided by profit-oriented companies, all public transport including the MRT & public buses servicing major routes should be brought under a National Transport Corporation, a public body, to ensure a smooth integration of the overall national transport network and to avoid unnecessary duplication of services and overheads incurred by multiple operators.

In simple English, the WP Manifesto called for the nationalisation of the MRT and bus systems.

At the time, there was very little mainstream (to be expected) or new media (more surprising this) attention, and very little public interest on this issue. But things are different now.

With $1.1bn of tax-payers’ money going into the bus system (two-thirds or 67% of it, $733m, going into ComfortDelgro where the state has a shareholding that is “peanuts”*), there are many voices wondering why private shareholders should benefit from a public good? Example: Since housing and transport are both necessities of life, and public transport is the only choice of the lower-income group, it is not unjustifiable to commit resources to keep the cost of public transport low … government spending on public transport is a form of income redistribution …

The key concern in the S$1.1-billion package to purchase and operate buses is not that it subsidises public transport per se but whether public funds could benefit a small group of shareholders, to whom bus companies are ultimately accountable.

This is what the Government will need to account to taxpayers.

Even BT, part of the nation-building, constructive media had this to say yesterday, The public transport model has come under scrutiny ever since a $1.1 billion package was announced by the government to supplement the existing privately run bus fleet with 550 buses.

But the minister responsible for the splurge can only parrot his predecessors, Our current model leaves the operations of trains and buses to commercial entities as we believe the long term public interest is best served this way. The profit incentive drives the operators towards higher efficiency and productivity, which keeps costs as low as possible . . . Otherwise, if the system is inefficiently run, the public will ultimately pay for the higher operating costs, either through higher fares, or greater government subsidies.

The WP should now be asking why despite the “higher efficency and productivity” (“which keeps costs as low as possible”) of the private companies, bus commuters keep paying more and more while getting worse and worse service, so much so that the government has to subsidise the companies to improve bus service quality. It should also remind the government and the voters that it called for nationalisation last year.

I’m sure the WP will soon rebut the minister’s The profit incentive drives the operators towards higher efficiency and productivity, which keeps costs as low as possible. But why is the WP so modest about getting it “right”? 

Being modest and understated are to me, great traits, in people. I hate show-offs and boasters. But being modest is not for a political party that aspires to form the government some day. Worse, there is the danger that the PAPpies persuade voters that the WP doesn’t believe its own manifesto, so why should they (the voters) believe the WP? It pointed out earlier this year (rightly) that the WP’s benchmark for ministers’ salaries had changed from the poor (in said manifesto) to a civil service senior grade (Gerald Giam in parliament).

If this silence persists, one can only wonder if the WP has forgotten its manifesto call on the nationalisation of public transport (see somewhere here) or changed its mind on public transport nationalisation? And then one can wonder why the forgetfulness or change, when the facts and public mood seem to favour nationalisation?

*Using back-of-the envelope calculations and figures in annual reports, since it was listed SMRT (over a decade ago) has paid $562.79m in dividends to Temasek (which owns 74%), and ComfortDelgro has paid the S’pore Labour Foundation (a statutory board affiliated to the NTUC which has 12%) dividends of roughly $150.46m since 2003 (Comfort and Delgro merged in 2003, and SLF had a stake in Comfort). The amount that ended up with the government was $713.25m, with SMRT contributing 79%. But ComfortDelgro is the main beneficiary of the $1.1bn bus plan, given that, at present, SBS Transit (a listed co 75% owned by ComfortDelgro) provides most of the buses. ComfortDelgro is getting $733m or 67% of the $1.1bn package.

The testing of Low Thia Khiang

In Political governance on 24/02/2012 at 6:04 am

The first months of the Dragon year has not been kind to Low.  He must be reminding himself, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.

First came the allegations about Yaw’s extramarital activities, an issue that Low and the WP mishandled. Instead of either coming out to say that the matter was a private one (and thereby incurring the anger of the moralists*) or saying that the WP was investigating the matter, the WP opted for stonewalling silence and evasion (Examples**). This from a party that fought a general election on the need for transparency, openness and accountability, and the need for a first-world parliament.

When the noise got extremely loud, the WP announced Yaw’s expulsion from the WP. Low explained, “[A]lmost a month had passed between the first media allegations and the WP’s decision to expel Mr Yaw Shin Leong. Mr Yaw continued to remain silent on the matter, and refused to account to the WP Central Executive Council (CEC). The WP had no choice but to invoke clause 22(a) of the WP Constitution to expel him.” 

This reduced the noise considerably, as otherwise rational netizens, and the usual WP and Opposition groupies rushed to blog that the WP was “whiter than white” or at least “whiter than the PAP”. And that Low was a strategist, the equivalent of Mao, Sun Tzu, Sun Pin, Chuko Liang or Fan Li. (One of these days, I’ll blog on why Low is not a great strategist. But I’ll wait until he is riding the crest of a wave again.) 

Then ex-PAP Ho Kah Leong wrote to the Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao’s forum pages suggesting that Low should take responsibility for the matter and scolded him for wasting public funds because a by-election had to be called.

Instead of his usual silence when attacked (remember his silences in parly when asked to state his views on certain issues), Mr Silence became Mr Chatterbox, replying, “Even though I was familiar with Yaw Shin Leong’s background and I have met his family and attended his two wedding ceremonies, I have no way and no authority to inspect his private matters and personal life. I am a Member of Parliament, not a private investigator! Ho …  said I should take responsibility for the Yaw … saga. May I ask how I should take responsibility?”.

Well he may not be a “private investigator”, but having worked with and mentored Yaw for many a year, he has to accept the responsibility of being partly responsible for choosing Yaw to defend Hougang for the WP. He also has to accept part of the responsibility of the WP’s stonewalling silence and evasion. Finally as leader of the WP, he has to accept responsibility (albeit partially) for a systems failure. “The Workers’ Party has a system to select its candidates,” he said, so that Yaw could become a candidate shows some flaw in the system surely?

And on the issue of wasting public funds, he should have kept silent. Ho said a stupid thing. But by citing Goh Chok Tong’s call of a by-election (not a good example) many years ago, Low allowed GCT to take a nasty dig at Low (and the WP) in the process.

All in all, Low’s performance is less than satisfactory.

But don’t count him out yet. Don’t understimate the man. Who would have thought in 1991 that he would lead the WP to its first GRC victory in 2011, and that Hougang would become Fortress WP?

Also, don’t underestimate the goodwill he has from S’poreans, even from critics like me (Even I have said nice things about him). It will take a lot of mistakes to make him lose that goodwill. S’poreans will readily forgive him, or give him the benefit of the doubt. Remember, S’poreans were very forgiving of the PAP, when they perceived it as the equivalent of a bad-tempered and mean hawker who sold delicious food at very reasonable prices, while giving his enemies food poisoning that sometimes hurt accidentally an innocent customer. Even after the food ceased to delicious or good value, S’poreans supported the PAP. In economics, this is called “stickiness”. Low now has stickiness.

Let’s hope he raises his game. Perhaps, a modern-day Wei Zheng should advice him on what to say and do? If that happens, I hope Low can be Tang Tai Zong.

——-

*But the WP would be tapping a new source of voters: the New Paper recently reported that 20% of Singapore women cheat on their husbands based on a survey done recently. And as Lucky Tan says, “For husbands the number is likely to be worse – you can take the 20% and double or triple it.”

**

– “if it is rumours …” (Yaw),

– “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?” (Low himself), and

– “We have to think carefully about our response” (deputy treasurer of the WP, a Mr Png).

These comments left me wondering if the Law Minister had been moonlighting after his pay cut, or if MP Baey’s PR firm had been advising the WP.

What would Wei Zheng have advised the WP’s CEC to do?

In Political governance on 17/02/2012 at 4:26 am

After reading the comments about Yaw’s expulsion from the WP, I remembered with sadness what Chen Show Mao said during his maiden parliamentary speech, “In this term of Parliament, I hope the ruling party can be Tang Tai Zong, while we can be Wei Zheng”.

So what would that fearless court official have advised Emperor Low Thia Khiang and the other members of the WP’s Central Executive Council*? Would he have advised them to do what the WP done? Initially, stonewalling, evading and keeping silent, despite calling the PAP to be open, transparent, and accountable to S’poreans. And then expelling Yaw.

As someone who has voted WP all my life (even when it had a mentally ill man as its candidate in Siglap, and believe me, it was hard to vote for him especially as the PAP was doing good things at the time**. It got worse for me when after that election, the WP supporters did not remove the WP signage), I suspect not.

So the PAP can’t be blamed for deciding not to take up Show Mao’s offer. If he knew what was going to happen, would he have used the language he did? Again I suspect not. BTW, I note his absence from the WP’s panel at its media conference announcing the decision to expel Yat.

What would have been the best advice to give the WP CEC, and which it should have accepted?

The WP CEC should have first asked itself if the truth of the allegation against MP Yaw was a matter of public interest.

If the CEC decided that the truth was a matter of public interest***, it should have asked the public to bear with it while it investigated the matter and decided on what to do. It should have promised full and frank disclosure of the facts and its actions within a reasonable time, say eight weeks.

I suspect Wei Zheng would have advised the WP to say,“We recognise the fact that this may be his personal life, so what he does outside politics is something between him and his family. But he’s leading a team of activists who are expected to be examples, good models for our supporters, and other S’poreans. We think it’d be difficult for the team, supporters and other S’poreans to look up to him, if there are moral flaws in his character****. We are investigating the matter. Give us some time. We promise full and frank disclosure.”

But it felt that the allegation, even if true or near the truth, was a private matter (I doubt if Wei Zheng would think it was a private matter),  it should have simply said, “This is a personal, private matter and has nothing to do with Yaw’s ability to perform his duties as a CEC member and MP”. Many S’poreans may have disagreed with this stand, but the CEC of the WP would have been seen as taking a clear, principled stand: the issue of adultery is a private matter. While it not the British way, it is the French and American way. And the French and Americans are first-world democracies.

As it is, the CEC’s stonewalling, evasive silence left the WP vulnerable to “events, dear boy, events”.  Remember Watergate, or our farcial CurryGate.

WP has lost credibility because it is clear that the WP believes that first-world openness, transparency and accountability applies to the PAP and the government, and for that matter anyone else, but not to the WP: until in the words of WP MP PritamS, “With more individuals coming to the fore, we do not feel that keeping quiet was an option anymore.”

Right, silence is the default option until forced to be open and transparent. Lenin, Stalin, Mao and LKY could not have said it better.

While we should cut the WP some slack for the reasons stated here (even though this was written before Yaw was expelled), we should hope that Emperor Low and his fellow council members will learn lessons from this fiasco that need not have been. They should learn to think thru the issues, and here a lawyer-scholar like Chen Show Mao should be useful (forget about SMU law grad PriramS or NUS law grad Sylvia Lim: Show Mao is from Harvard, Oxford and Stamford), and not instinctively think, “What would Lenin. Mao or the PAP do?” And use Gerald Giam’s skills and connections in the new media to communicate.

Here’s hoping the WP moves on in the right direction.

—-

*Interesting the use of the word “Council” and not “Committee”. The word “Council” implies that it is an advisory body to the leader of the party, whereas the word “Committee” implies that decision-making is a group effort.  But then the PAP uses the word “Committe”, not “Council”. And for many a year, we know that the PAP was not run by consensus.

**I’m not one of those who are rabid anti-PAP haters. I voted for the WP because it was the only party that stood against the PAP in my constituency. I voted for the opposition candidate even when I tot the PAP was doing a great job because I felt that the day would come when S’pore would need an Opposition to articulate the views of ordinary S’poreans. That day has come. And because there is an Opposition to vote for, the PAP is listening.

***My tests for whether it is a matter of public interest in this case are very simple:

– “Would the voters of Houygang have voted for Yaw (and the WP) if they had known of the allegation?”

– “Would the voters of Houygang have voted for Yaw (and the WP) if Yaw and the WP had opted for stonewalling, evasion and silence?”

– “Would the WP dared to have fielded Yaw, if the WP knew of the allegation (not the truth mind you)?”

****Yup I adapted this from PAP MP Lim Biow Chuan’s comments about a former school principal.

WP: Keeping quiet no longer an option

In Political governance on 16/02/2012 at 6:19 am

“Whiter than White”, taz how the WP and its groupies (including an SMU academic) would like to spin the sudden change in direction, from stonewalling silence ( “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?”: WP’s Low Thia Khiang) to expelling Yaw and crowing, “”The Workers’ Party has not let the people down. Whatever is wrong, we’ve put it right.” (the same Low).

Come on tell me another tall tale.

Ms Sylvia Lim said that the party leadership only learnt of the accusations against Mr Yaw when the media approached them for comments. But because they had “very limited information”, the party was not in a position to address the substance of the allegations.

But then why did the party not simply say then, “We recognise the fact that this may be his personal life, so what he does outside politics is something between him and his family. But he’s leading a team of activists who are expected to be examples, good models for our supporters, and other S’poreans. We think it’d be difficult for the team, supporters and other S’poreans to look up to him, if there are moral flaws in his character*. We are investigating the matter. Give us some time. We promise full and frank disclosure.”?

As someone who has voted WP all my life (I’m in my fifties and Siglap has always been contested by the WP)  but who was until the early 1990s pro PAP (I’ll explain it one of these days), Khaw is right to say, “The Workers’ Party needs to come clean with the people what information have they got about Mr Yaw and in particular, what did they know about him prior to the May election. And if they know, why did they field Mr Yaw. I think it is sad that the voters have been misled by the Workers Party.”

And, “Is this an attempt at trying to conceal something they knew, first through silence, and then when they found it is not possible, then they get rid of the liability and blame everything on him?”

Let the last word go to WP MP PritamS (the guy who wants to go into coalition with the PAP), “With more individuals coming to the fore, we do not feel that keeping quiet was an option anymore.”

Taz the truth, damage control not trying to be “Whiter than white”.

*Yup I adapted this from PAP MP Lim Biow Chuan’s comments about a former school principal.

Does the WP sincerely want a First-World Parly and Media?

In Political governance on 03/02/2012 at 6:32 am

That question struck me when I follow the reports on Yaw.

Imagine what would happen in the British parliament (“The Mother of Parliaments”), and presumably a model for the WP’s ideal of a “First World Parliament”, if Yaw was an MP there. When he next tries to speak, the other side’s MPs will be shouting “Angela”, or “How’s the Dragon bastard?”. And make cockerel, rutting stag or bull-like noises, or “horn” signs. I exaggerate not. Somehow I don’t think our Third-World PAP MPs will behave like rowdy English public school boys. (BTW, for “lesser mortals”, in the great English tradition of confusing foreigners, “public school” means “private school”.)

As to the media, any cursory look at the British media (again presumably an example of what the WP wants here) will show how the media treats any allegation of MPs misbehaving. No matter what S’poreans about the ST and the New Paper, they ain’t as vicious as the British tabloid media.

So, if the truth be told, I suspect the WP would like things to remain as they are, so long as Yaw remains a celebrity.

All in all the central executive committee WP should fall on their knees that they repent that ever wanted anything First World. I mean the party’s communication strategy isn’t exactly First World, more like the Chinese Communist party or the North Korean Communist Party:

– “if it is rumours …” (Yaw)*,

– “I hope you will not identify me or the other woman involved” (the other lady said),

– his wife, it seems, withdrew her Facebook comments about irresponsible journalism*,

– “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?” (WP’s Low Thia Khiang)*, and

– “We have to think carefully about our response” (deputy treasurer of the WP, a Mr Png)*.

Meanwhile, the PAP got rid of a candidate MP when there was nothing more than a whiff of a sexual scandal. It would seem that even if there is a photo of Yaw having sex with a goat, the WP will not do or say anything. Is it because, Yaw (pre the allegations) had a reputation as being Sec-Gen’s Low protégée, and most trusted lieutenant? Is there favouritism at work? Or is the WP afraid that “condemning” Yaw, casts a shadow on Low’s judgement, or, intelligence on party members, or both?

WP should put the interests of S’poreans above that of a Kim Jong-il look-a-like, who voted for the PAP, while campaigning for the WP.

If WP doesn’t, and Yaw turns out to be an adulterer and father of a Dragon bastard, S’poreans will punish the WP in Hougang and Aljunied, come the next GE. I’m sure PM will oblige the voters, by moving forward the general election.

Sorry WP, this strategy of saying nothing and treating S’poreans as stupid is not helping the WP. It is in fact harmful. Many S’poreans think of WP MPs and other activists as the Jedis fighting the Emperor. But by saying nothing and treating S’poreans as stupid, they resemble the Seth Lords (aka the PAP). How can you speak for S’poreans on the need for the government to be transparency and accountability, when the WP and Yaw hide behind “these are rumours”* (Sec-Gen Low), and “if it is rumours”*(MP Yaw)?

Yaw please for the sake of Singaporeans who support the Opposition and the WP, deny or confirm the allegations for the reasons stated here. and here.

And hey Mao and Pritam, do you want to remain in a party that is so Chinese Communist party or North Korean? Or is the money that important?

——-

*Juz wondering if the Law Minister has been moonlighting after his pay cut or if MP Baey’s PR firm has been advising? (Update on 3 February 2012 at 7.40am)

State of the Opposition Update: My light-hearted analysis based on gossip heard

In Holidays and Festivals, Political governance, Wit on 30/01/2012 at 5:30 am

This is the “news” I picked up over the last week while feasting and dicing. I have tried to indicate which are the more reliable stories, and which are the more rubbishy ones. As usually I add my very personal takes i.e. analysis.

SPP

Juz before the hols, I was told by a reliable source that Mrs Chiam had said that the coming party conference would be a “non event”. Some non event:

– two men that were expected to lead the SPP post Chiam said they were no longer interested in being on the central executive committee (Mrs Chiam was blamed for their lost of interest); then

– six central executive members (including the above two) resigned from the party juz before the conference with one saying “that one or two key CEC members are not willing (to accommodate) a complete change over for collective leadership and accountability, and that being the case, my presence in the party will not add credible value.”

For jet-setters (like one DYadav) and planet hoppers who were away, read here and here.

Desmond Lim (remember him) was one happy man this hols, people who know him tell me. Remember he had a bad 2011 initially, being slimed by Mrs Chiam as lacking the “X” factor to succeed Chiam and hence the trouble he was giving the Chiams, then losing his deposit in the May GE. Well with the failure of the party to retain Potong Pasir and to renew itself, and the unhappiness of long serving stalwarts and newbie ex-scholars all becoming public before the hols, he feels vindicated in opposing the Chiams in 2010 and 2011. I hope he gambled big time before the Year of Rabbit ended as his luck certainly did improve.

WP

No need to say anything abt Yaw because he said “IF it is rumours …”, the other lady said, ““I hope you will not identify me or the other woman involved,”, his wife withdrew her Facebook comments about irresponsible journalism, WP’s Low Thia Kiang said: “You said yourself that these are rumours, why are you still asking me?”, and deputy treasurer of the WP, a Mr Png, said: “We have to think carefully about our response”.

They shld realise that their comments collectively give the game away. Why so stupid leh, WP Sec-Gen, members and Mrs Yaw?

All I will report is that WP high command and those who should be in the know are saying nothing in private to friendly, influential outsiders (including prominent bloggers: I’m neither a friend nor influential) or “lesser mortals” WP supporters. As they are also saying nothing in public, I conclude that the WP’s attitude is, “Your problem Yaw. You solve it”.

Problem for the WP is that the silence implies that there is a problem that Yaw has to resolve, whatever it is.

But if Yaw is the dad of a bastard (albeit a Dragon), the WP can’t escape collateral damage. He was possibly the most trusted lieutenant of Sec-Gen Low, and if he was as rampant a stag as alleged by TRE, it casts doubt on Low’s judgement. And if Low didn’t know that his Kim Jong-il look-a-like aide was as horny a stag as alleged, it shows the lack of his of intel on members.

NSP

The old guard can’t believe that the newbies are fighting among themselves and with the old guard.

Hazel Poa (Sec-Gen) and her hubbie Tony and other newbies are spitting mad at Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (VP) who has the support of the people’s celebrity, Nicole Seah. Ms Chong is refusing (and has refused for over six months) to declare her personal wealth. (Reminder: she is hot-shot corporate and shipping lawyer, or so it is claimed. Detractors say it is a two partners and no slaves, legal assistants, firm).

All central executive members have to submit this declaration to the government in order to get the licence for NSP’s newsletter renewed.

Why she refuses to give this declaration or step down, and why Nicole Seah is supporting her is a matter of speculation. One mean spirited view is that she and Nicole realise that moving to NSP was a big mistake and they want to jump ship again. If they leave when Tan Jee Say sets up his party (the two gals got crush on him, it is alleged), there is a danger that they will be perceived as serial, air head rats: first KennethJ, then Goh Meng Seng. If NSP was in disarray, they could excuse their leaving by blaming the NSP mess.

The old guard kicked out one Goh Meng Seng for failing to deliver a breakthrough. He got his revenge. The newbies he brought in are fighting each other and the Malay Bureau (his creation) and the old guard. Want to destroy an organisation, give GMS an executive role: juz kidding.

TJS

Glad to read in ST confirmation of a story I heard: he is pursuing the shared resource centre for the Opposition that he was thinking about before the last general election.

As he is turning 58 soon, why is he working so hard? “Relax. Watching over yr daughters and making sure they hook rich China men and is hard work. Do it well, and can be richer than Peter Lim”.

But seeing that that Dynamic NSP Duo (Hazel and Tony) are helping him recruit people for the centre, does it mean that he is giving Jeannette Chong and Nicole Seah, the brush off? Scholars like the company of other scholars, not pretty air heads who are serial hoppers? Will hope to find out more in the next week of feasting, dicing and Black Jack. No, dicing is not Roulette, it’s Backgammon.

SDP

Michelle Lee is expected to leave SDP soon even if TJS doesn’t set up up a new party for her to join. She didn’t join other SDP members in CNY Chinatown walkabout. She joined the SPP, NSP, RP and TJS in their Ang Moh Kio walkabout which SDP officially declared it wouldn’t join (Danny, the teh tarik bear, doesn’t like competition from Nicole, the people’s princess? Hey Danny, you are cuddily and furry but not sexy enough for boys to fantasise having sex with), clashed with its long planned Chinatown walkabout.

Others

KennethJ is rumoured to be looking for a job in financial services. No surprises there as he was a hedgie and hasn’t been working for a few years, dedicating his time and efforts to politics and keeping dad’s memory alive. What is surprising is that he is rumoured to be looking for a London-based job. Trying to make a graceful exit? Whither RP, which dad founded? RIP both RP and KennetJ’s political ambitions?

And finally, how can I forget Goh Meng Seng? He after all has many, many enemies saying nasty things about him. The least nasty is that he is desperately waiting for a phone call from Lina Chiam who has said SPP “will continue to seek new passionate and talented individuals with the right aptitude and who will pursue the opposition cause cohesively.” His enemies say he has told Lina that he is willing to be co-opted into SPP mgt committee. Err wonder if Lina thinks he has the X factors she is seeking? Somehow looking at his CV, I doubt she would. Anyway, SPP’s loss is TOC’s gain, or is it bane? If he joins SPP, he would have to resign from Team TOC. The Chinese section of TOC that he founded to large self-publicity seems kinda quiet.

Taz all folks. An update next week. One more week of feasting and gambling. Take care, drink or drive, not both.

Even the birds and suicides flock to WP constituencies

In Media, Wit on 06/11/2011 at 3:36 pm

Yes I’m being insensitive but couldn’t help thinking the above when I read in today’s SunTimes that birds are flocking to Hougang creating problems for the residents, while another body was found in Bedok Reservoir, the sixth since the May GE, when the area voted for WP.

Wah, WP that popular leh? Even the birds and suicides support them?

Think again. The PAP  via the local MSM may want you to think that

– Hougang is fast becoming a slum (waste food and other rubbish are not being collected, attracting the birds) since Yaw became MP  because there are only a few competent people in the WP to manage a constituency and Yaw’s not one of them; and

– voters in Kaki Bukit are repenting of voting WP (as per LKY’s prediction earlier this year) by killing themselves.

Bad Analogy Chen Show Mao

In Political governance on 30/10/2011 at 7:05 am

“In this 12th Parliament, I hope a wise ruling party can be Tang Taizong while we the WP can be Wei Zheng. Together we can create a prosperous era, one that is not dictated by a single ruler surrounded by ‘yes’ men”. (For those Indians, Malays and Eurasians not versed in Chinese history, there was in emperor Tang Taizong’s reign, a court official, Wei Zheng, who was not afraid of offending the emperor by telling him the truth. The emperor’s reforms has been credited to Wei’s criticisms.)

My criticism is that by equating the PAP to a Tang dynasty emperor and the WP to an official of that emperor (even though he qualified himself by saying, “In this 12th Parliament … “, so setting a time limit), he is (inadvertently):

– helping the PAP to perpetuate the myth (that the PAP is always encouraging) that it has a natural right (or mandate of heaven) to govern S’pore.: the WP, can at best, only counsel, never becoming the government;

– equating the PAP with the government (a Chinese emperor was the government and vice versa), something one LKY liked to do;

– boxing the WP into making “constructive” criticisms (that was what Wei was doing, as I understand it); and

– risking alienating minorities (example of an irritated S’porean Indian, who usually has great difficulty getting upset). This is something WP has to be very careful of, given the wide-spread perception that it is a “Chinese” party. An example.

I am certain he never intended these interpretations or impressions, but they are reasonable inferences from his illustration. One can see the government moving to frame the role of the Opposition in parliament:

– the day after Chen spoke the PM said he wanted: An inclusive society where no Singaporean is left behind, a vibrant economy where growth benefits everyone and constructive politics that puts Singapore first; and

– last Sunday, the Law and Foreign Affairs minister (a local Indian), said, “The Government has put forward its views, and the idea of a debate must be that the Opposition puts forward constructive suggestions on how the Government’s agenda and policies and programmes can be improved.”

So the trap is being laid to use Chen’s words against the WP.

My advice to Chen Show Mao: go easy on using analogies, examples or allusions from Chinese history or culture and read this on “… the difficulty of choosing a unifying symbol in a multiracial, multireligious society”.

Otherwise a good speech. Made better when Dr Teo Ho Pin criticised it*, showing us yet again that

– the PAP seems to have recruited “smart” men with who love putting their foots in their mouths (think Drs VivianB, Lim Wee Kiah and Puthu); and

– there is something wrong in the PAP MP selection process (think Tin and Foo).

——–

*Dr Teo Ho Pin “did not know the difference (Mr Chen) has made” in defining the differences. Mr Chen was making the point that political differences are not akin to divisions that will lend to time-wasting politicking and gridlock.

Don’t talk rubbish Mr Low

In Political governance on 11/10/2011 at 8:13 am

The Sec-Gen of the WP was reported to have said that the composition of Parliament is a reflection of the people’s expectations, a MSM freesheet reported. As more than two-thirds of the MPs are PAP MPs, and the PAP won 60% of the popular vote, this means that the WP admits (rightly) that the majority of voters prefer the PAP to the WP and other Opposition parties.

So how can he go on to say on behalf on these voters, “They expect the Government to be responsive and accountable. They expect a responsible Parliament in which policies and issues that affect them are seriously debated and rigorously scrutinised. They want clear and transparent explanations from the ministers at all times.”?

Hey Mr Low, 60% of the voters voted for the PAP. If they wanted these things, they wouldn’t have voted for the PAP. They would have voted WP or other Opposition parties.

He can logically and, at best, claim to speak of the expectations of the 40% of S’poreans (self included) who voted for the Opposition. 

I hope the other WP MPs and NCMPs do better when they speak, and that Low ups his game. Otherwise like 1991, 2011 may prove another false dawn. And we have to wait until 2031 to try again.

Why did PA take so long to complain?

In Political governance on 25/08/2011 at 7:37 am

At the same time as hoisting the white flag of surrender, the PA said its underhand tactics of fixing the WP were a result of WP tactics. WP has denied these allegations.

Problem is the incidents it cited were from yrs ago (shades of CurryGate). So how to believe? Ironically, the media carried at the same time reports of rape charges against the former head of the IMF being dropped by the American authorities. One reason given was the fact that the complaint took several hrs before complaining of being raped. She had gone on with her work.

She was no longer credible because of the time-lapse.

And why didn’t the PA see fit to allege publicly that the WP was playing dirty before the May GE. If it had, residents of Aljunied may still have Cynthia Phua as one of their MPs. It might have also prevented the WP’s near victories in East Coast and Joo Chiat.

And doesn’t it sound strange to hear from a government agency headed by the PM no less that it played dirty because it alleged the WP played dirty. Sounds like a criminal admitting it broke the law because it alleged someone else broke the law.

PM should give PA five tight slaps. One for making him look like a liar (how to believe the calls abt hearing us when his agency went rounding fixing the WP?), one for saboing Tony Tan’s campaign, one for not raising the allegations abt WP before the May GE, one for using underhand tactics, and one for making the PM look stupid (he chairman of PA)

 

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