WP supporter’s analysis of the Punggol East by-election

In Humour, Political governance on 22/01/2013 at 6:05 pm

JG responded to with some good, rational points. For the sake of JG and other decent, sincere and rational WP supporters like her (there are people on Facebook who doubt that such supporters exist: WP supporters are like PAP supporters), I hope Low stops trying to join the PAP Comedy Club. Either that or he should replace his speech writer who must be a PAPpy mole. After JG’s comments, I repeat Low’s “jokes’ and add my comments on said “jokes”.

WP Forever

I’m not sure that the “practical difference of having a DPM” is being felt in Punggol BE or is even on the radar of residents. Sometimes, I also feel that we (the so-called “vocal minority”, of which I’m admittedly one) tend to over-analyze things.

My own take is that residents are probably still disgruntled with PAP, whether more disgruntled or less compared to the mood of GE2011, I’m not sure. That’s on the national factor front.

Also, GE2011 had the factor of “Aunty-killer” and incumbency advantage for Palmer. And on WP side, all the oxygen was being sucked out to Aljunied contest, all other candidates fielded were perceived to be “B” or “C” team. Now its a solo contest. And SDA was perceived “neutrally” then (now, its no longer neutrally perceived, I’ll be surprised to see it get half of what it even did last time). And it seems to have a drumbeat of “bad local factors” – like Riverdale, etc.

Put it all together, I think there will be a reduction in PAP support. GE2011 was 10 point PAP advantage vs opposition. I expect this to drop. I hope the swing is >5%. If its 10% swing, then its a jackpot. But no need to have jackpot to celebrate.

For me, as long as WP increases it support (regardless Ah Lian win or not) and PAP meaningfully decreases — its a big win. Its a win for WP becos it will show that WP’s “style”, while being lampooned by some online, still resonates with the heartland. Most importantly, it sends the signal to PAP – the change you’re making is still not good enough.

An outright win by WP will be a major disaster for PAP. The grassroots will be totally demoralized. This is the “jackpot” scenario.

On the other hand, if the results mirror GE2011 (ie. ~10% advantage PAP), then PAP will have a major win. Not that WP has a lost, unless their support drop <41%. But PAP will be able to say that all these nonsense about AIM-gate etc are just a “vocal minority”. They will feel vindicated. And continue to do what they like, starting with revealing (surprise, surprise) the plans for population growth over the next decade. [These are the reasons to hope and pray for a PAP Lite win. Keeps the Real PAP “kan cheong”. Sadly, s/o JBJ and Desperate Loser don’t see things this way: selfish.]

Low’s weird comments

His “Why vote PAP”,“The Government should be given time to rectify the shortcomings and neglects pointed out to it. Doing so [not whacking the PAP] would ‘serve the public interest better than continuing to agitate and raise political tension to gain maximum political mileage for WP’, as it takes time for policy changes to take effect on the ground.”

Right so vote PAP to give them more time.

And this comes across as telling PM that he (Low) has met his KPI (presumably decided behind “closed doors”), “I am pleased that all the Prime Minister has to say about the WP is to lament that we have not done enough in Parliament.”.

Waz the reward? Thirty pieces of silver or a doggie biscuit? LOL

Maybe, Low should return to being,”The deaf mute from Hougang”? He is coming across as , “The WP’s parody of s/o JBJ, the talk cock, sing song wayang king and drama queen from Saint Andrews”.

  1. Wow!

    You are making LTK like CSJ.

    Maybe the speechwriter is GG – the guy who voted PAP?

    I think Ah Lian is going to win, hopefully with an absolute majority.

  2. Re : Low’s weird comments

    I take the opposite tack of you – instead of Low being a liability in this BE, I think he has acted splendidly. Put it another way : on a scale of 1 to 10, I rank Low 8, LHL 6 and CSJ 4 in terms of strategic manouevers and tactical execution.

    First of all, we need to recognise that in the heat of a campaign, if you put every person’s words under a microscope, you’ll find meat that anyone can go after. Dr Koh had made many verbal blunders (“As professionals, we need 2 cars”, “my wife said you want to help but people don’t want your help”), KJ (“on MC today”), LTK and interestingly so far, none from Ah Lian. These are TACTICAL mis-steps – every candidate makes them. The Great Obama said something about “bitter people .. clinging on to their guns”, Michelle Obama (“for the first time, I’m proud of my country”).

    These tactical blunders happen, but most are minor and recoverable. Particularly if you look at the context they are uttered. In LTK’s case, I think he meant “all the PM has to say” to mean, “is this the best complain you PM can find about WP so far?”. In any case, I think very very few Punggol residents microscopically analyse a candidate’s every word and go off-tangent with one single badly worded utterance.

    The more important battle is strategic, not tactical per se. Here, you got to give LTK credit, where I think he is due. Even PAP MPs I speak to (off the record), applaud LTK as being politically very shrewd.

    At the start of the BE, look at how LTK handle the SDP jumping in saga. He did it, basically like how Obama handled Romney or McCain – let them self-destruct. LTK stuck to the politically correct script – everyone has the right to stand for elections – who can argue with “the sun rises from the east” type comments, right? Meanwhile, CSJ was detonating landmines publicly, day by day (cannot contact WP, publicly disclose confidential letters, we only good at making speeches in Parliament but not confident in handling Town Council) and then withdrawal. Similarly, it lets the ego of Desmond and KJ grow and over-shadow whatever credence SDA or RP used to have. Suddenly no more rallies, “paid volunteers” saga (for Desmond). AWOL, daily complaints of threats and police reports (for KJ) — let their wayang hog the limelight, let them self-destruct, no need to say a word.

    Behind the scene, LTK selected Ah Lian to take on smooth, professional Dr Koh. Arguably, a better choice, than say GG. Because Ah Lian is so down to earth, so real (right down to her missing 2 front teeth) that the contrast with Dr Koh became greater, especially when Dr Koh came across as stretching the truth ($10 left, only enough for chopsticks, switch from BMW to Toyota car when visit Punggol etc etc). This contrast seems to be hitting a cord. It was reported on-line that reporters tailing both candidates on house visits, observed that residents are warmer towards Ah Lian, posing for photos, sharing their stories, introduce their family, giving a drink. Word got to the PAP too.

    LTK also straddled the “local issue” vs “national issue” beautifully. I’d say,to the extent of running circles around the PAP. What do I mean? For Aljunied, LTK bet 100% on national – PAP thot local issue usually matters more but was swept by the tide. So PAP tried to immunize itself right from the start with PUnggol BE – a wave of good news. But LTK attacked first on the local front – Riverdale, how come so many RCs but so little coffeeshops, transport, – ie. what has your PAP MP been doing all these years? So local concerns got paraded to the front, and Dr Koh tried playing the same game – I’m my own man. LTK used these local issues to get Ah Lian to connect to each resident on the ground-game front.

    Then in the closing stages of the campaign, LTK swings back to national issues in the public campaign. The more good news got trumpeted, the more it appears that if Aljunied had not fallen, PAP would not have reversed course. If Punggol BE had not happen, some of these good news would not get announced. So it plays into the need for opposition, theme. And LTK only drums up AIM in the last few days of the campaign. Why? I do not think many PUnggol residents know what is AIM, or even really care. But the hard core opposition supporters do care. So this is “red meat” for the base. In other words, focus first on the middle block, handle the risk that the base will defect to Desmond/KJ by giving them some red meat right at the end (and after giving time for Desmond/KL to implode). The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Hopefully, this then consolidates both the middle and base votes.

    The other advantage of trumpeting national issues at the late stage of the game, is that it baits the “big guns” of PAP to respond. And they usually respond clumsily and turn off voters by the way they over-react.

    Whether or not this is enough to win Punggol, I do not know. But I have heard that PAP is sweating. It was said that PAP carefully carved out Punggol SMC in 2011 and that in the prior elections (2006?), that Punggol SMC had 30+% vote swing to PAP. Unexpectedly, this got cut to 10% swing in GE2011. PAP had counted on multi-corner fights, particularly from newly released CSJ and SDP to spoil the party. That didn’t happen. LHL called the elections thinking there’s a good chance they’ll win. As the campaign progressed, and they too feel the “smell of Hougang”, they’re now not so sure.

    But as I said, as long as WP increases meaningfully from 41%, and PAP decreases meaningfully from 55% – WP does not need to win, for PAP to lose. A 5% swing away from the PAP (ie. 49% or 50% only) will be a dreaded signal that the electorate is still unhappy with PAP and this will keep them on their toes. A WP win is a jackpot.

    And oh, the other thing I like about this BE — it has also put WP under the fire too, to defend its record and hopefully, correct course where necessary. You didn’t hear WP being so defensive in Hougang BE. In other words, this time they got the message – there are some out there who’re unhappy at their low-key approach. Hopefully, this makes them a better party moving forward too. So Desmond is right and wrong – someone needs to keep a check on both PAP and WP. Unfortunately, its not Desmond — its we, the people. Through the messiness of the internet, online chatter, rallies etc. Both PAP and WP are hearing us. That’s good isn’t it ?

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  4. For all intents and purposes, this Saturday’s by-election may not be significant for the country’s political future. Sure, there are three main scenarios we can
    think of: (a) a big PAP win, (b) slim PAP win, and (c) a WP win. But no matter the permutations, one more PAP MP in Parly or one more WP MP won’t make too much of a dent. After all, it has been discussed at length on your site and elsewhere the performance of WP in Parly since 2011 (while some others may
    argue, since 1991).

    However, last night’s rally is extremely significant. It’s not because LTK chose to regale us with his POV about the opposition’s political history since 1991
    (note: history is often written by the victor). It’s his explicit rhetoric that his party of alternative political moderates will now go their own way. It wasn’t implied. It wasn’t a suggestion. It wasn’t a hint. He said “opposition unity is impossible”.

    Before 2011, it may be reasonable to believe that politics in our neighbouring country was far advanced in terms of maturity than ours. The ruling party there was
    dealt a heavy blow and resulted in the resignation of their Prime Minister who presided over the elections. It was possible because the opposition there had a central figure, who could persuade other parties to form one united banner against the ruling party, i.e., a coalition. The rest, as we know, is history and there is talk about how the coming elections up there could possibly result in more gains for the opposition.

    With LTK’s strongly worded statements during last night’s rally, all chances of an opposition coalition have evaporated. This means that the strategy that the
    opposition held since 1980s – to avoid three-cornered fights – has been abandoned*. While it signals his confidence in his own party which he has painfully shaped (to his credit), there will be serious implications for Singapore’s political future from this.

    Firstly, WP will strongly brand itself as a moderate alternative to the PAP. With the tacit rejection of any form of co-operation with other opposition parties politically, it will go their own way but possibly not stray too far away from the path that the PAP treads in terms of policy. At the same time, with LTK’s rhetoric, he has burnt a fair bit of bridges with the other parties. Effectively, it will be far harder for WP to convince other parties to form any agreement with them if it needs a slim majority to form the Government in the (far) future.

    At this point, it may be useful to be reminded of how, when PE SMC was open to a by-election, many believed that the old strategy of a two-cornered fight would still serve the best interests in sending another opposition candidate to Parly. Which means, other parties should stay away from contesting so that WP will have a
    better chance of winning the BE. [Yet, ethically it may be tricky to suggest that WP should have the right to contest in the two-cornered fight as they weren’t the first to contest there.] But with LTK’s speech last night, it is an admission that the WP will not hesitate to contest in other wards even if other parties had “staked their claims” and worked the ground there.

  5. Hi Guys, I am a small bus operator. WP did mentioned about the profit made by both Public bus operators. My question is “why must the Government buy them 800 new buses which cost S$1B+” I see not reason why this is so. Where are the profit gone or going to? High diesel cost?, High overhead?, Building new bus terminals to keep their buses?, Buidling new dorms for the foreign drivers?, I don’t know. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me to clear these doubts and my heart will feel much at ease on fairness on us.
    Next, my predicament here is I have good record for my bus insurance and we are only getting a I think only max of 15% discount after second year of renewal from our biggest insurance company in Sngapore. If i have bad track record then you can load me with higher premium and it is acceptable. We small time bus operator are suffering due to high insurance diesel cost.
    Lastly, may I ask LTA why we bus operator mostly school bus with Private Hire registration are paying 1.5 time for ERP during operation. COE are pushing us to exit our operation. I got 2 buses, 1 balance with 16months for 1st 10 years and the other due to scrap. Buying new 25 seater bus. example China made buses now cost S$S$150K – S$160K which like 18months ago was S$90K inclusive of COE. With High COE we need 7 years instead of 5 years to pay up the loan. Do you think can we make a living from driving bus now? What other things can we do at the age of 56 years after driving bus for 7 years. We are trying to make ends meet but it seems we still can but need to work 14hrs a day every day.
    We are doing public service too.

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