Why WP Low is silent about almost everything/ Silence is no longer golden

In Political governance on 20/11/2014 at 4:18 am

Amended on 21 November 6.40pm to reflect MND’s explanation of the law. My “honest mistake”).

“[I]t is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood: there will always be some who misunderstand you”, Karl Popper*, an influential philosopher of the 2oth century said.

PAP’s ministers (think Desmond Lee**) and elders (think Temasek’s chairman**, and ex-minister and ex-NTUC leader), Roy Ngerng and Goh Meng Seng should memorise Karl Popper’s words because they talk too much cock. .

It’s obvious that WP Low, the man of Tao, takes these words to heart and opts to remain silent most of the time: he cannot be misunderstood because there is nothing to misunderstand seems to be his reasoning.

Trouble is that the silence of Low (and by extension that of the WP because it too practices silence, even PritamS) nowadays is itself is now being interpreted, given its number of MPs and NCMPS it has; often in ways that don’t flatter. Example from TRE sometime back

ake the AIMgate for example. They knew of AIM but kept quiet until they were given bad report. Then started to talk of AIM in disjointed way. Took netizens in particular Alex Au and Voiddecker and Lucky Tan to marshall the arguments. If this my watch-dog, I’d put it down for not doing its job. If this my jaga, I’d sack him, suspecting he bakat-bakat with robbers. Choice of term co-driver is apt. He is part of team: Team PAP that is.

“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.” ~WP chief Low Thia Khiang telling us he pleased with KPI that PM and him agreed behind “closed doors”****

So I hope the WP will soon explain why arrears collection in its area is so bad***. It’s taking too long time to get the facts, something Auntie is saying WP will do before commenting. PritamS deleted the relevant files? An honest mistake, or  the usual incompetency from Mr Singh?


*Another saying, one that encapsulates his contribution to intellectual thought, particularly the philosophy of science, “No number of sightings of white swans can prove the theory that all swans are white. The sighting of just one black one may disprove it.”

Scientists now look for black swans and if they cannot find any, they can feel reasonably confident that their theory is right, although not yet proved. It is, in the present state of knowledge, the best approximation to the truth.

**”Before merger, Aljunied had an operating surplus of $3.3m. Within two years, the merged AHPETC’s financial position has deteriorated rapidly. The operating surplus of $3.3m Aljunied had in FY10 had turned into an operating deficit of $734,000 in FY12, ” Desmond Lee.

Temasek’s chairman said the same thing. Mr Lim Boon Heng said that the WP-run town council’s (AHPETC) swing from an operating surplus to a deficit in the short span of 3 years is worrying. “It begs many questions,” he told reporters.

Well they ignored the fact that the WP did not inherit any surplus. Rightly, the surplus after an election has been locked up to ensure prudence. .

According to the Town Council  Act if after an election, the new MPs are from the same political party as those of the previous town council, then 80% of its surpluses shall be transferred to the sinking fund.

If, however, as in the case of Aljunied, the new MPs elected are from a different political party, then “all its surpluses” – ie, 100% of the surpluses – “shall be transferred to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”, Section 34 (4) of the act, should the area of a town be changed due to electoral boundary changes, the 80% and not 100% figure applies.

Under the Act, it states: “Where the boundaries of any constituency within a Town are altered under the Parliamentary Elections Act and there is an election in any or every new constituency so formed …  the Town Council shall transfer 80% of its surpluses to the prescribed sinking funds of the Town Council.”

***The charge by MND is that the “sharp decline” in the S&CC arrears situation in AHPETC as being “of grave public concern”. Aljunied’s S&CC arrears rate rose from 2.6% in FY10 to 8.4% in FY11 and FY12, after Aljunied merged with Hougang. This was significantly above the national norm of about 3%, the MND noted.

The arrears rate rose further to 29.4% at the end of April 2013. “From May 2013, the TC stopped submitting its monthly S&CC arrears report altogether, despite repeated reminders.”

To me as an honorary club treasurer, once upon a time, this doesn’t look gd. But the devil is in the details. So I’ll not pass judgement on the WP until I hear its side of the story. But its silence is deafening.

****He goes on, A good guard dog need not be the loudest barker. Most loud barkers are mad dogs and will either give you rabies or get put down if the neighbours don’t call the police or poison the dog first. If I want to have a good guard dog guarding my home and family, I’d get one that is smart and sensitive and knows how to protect my family best. That said, I certainly won’t vote in anyone I deem as volatile to represent me in parliament and to run my country. I will vote in someone with heart and think for the country while having a rational, guided and dignified approach. In any debates and arguments, the one who loses the temper first loses his audience. WP is matured and rational. They bid their time proper. If they eventually have to run the country, that’s how the people can trust them to do so.

  1. I agree with the being too silent thing. But in a different manner. WP being so silent gives the chance for the likes of Roy and Meng Seng to claim to the public that they are the ones doing the talking, thus pandering to the KPKB specialists at TRE, and who knows, maybe more.

    But then again, I always come back to this whenever TRE ranters say that WP is just wayang. We are not exactly spoilt for choice in the opposition department yet are we? So what do you want to do? In a PAP vs WP ward, don’t tell me hardcore opposition ranters will suddenly vote PAP because WP is too silent? Cannot be right. I think LTK is not very vocal because he knows he has he hardcore vote anyway and is working to win the middle ground, as always. The middle ground that usually dislikes overly noisy types of politics.

    But back to this TC arrears thing. Something is amiss. WP, while not very vocal, has not been silent whenever the PAP accuse them of something. Usually you see that is when they fight back, as recent examples show. Are they playing the victim card by letting the PAP be seen as bullies? That can only go so far. My guess is, something is a amiss, for them to offer no rebutt at all.

  2. Aiyah, Just see Lee Hsien Loong. Anytime, some big issue cocks up. He is completely silent and AWOL. Leave it to his kakias to handle. “What to do? It’s happened. Let’s move on…”

  3. I welcome PAP challenging WP on this deficit. As I would similarly have WP challenge PAP on the $12m loss in Lehman Brothers sinking fund…they didn’t give us any accountability did they? Now is the time. $700k vs $12m..bring it on, the voters can only benefit.

  4. Did you read the TOC article highlighting that all TCs are actually in the operational red before receiving grants from the government? APHETC’s grants fell from $560 per household to about $130 thereabouts per household. That would wreck havoc on any TC’s operating budget.

  5. LTK needs to defend on this. Why bother defending on things like hawker centre cleaning and going to court over organizing of fairs and then leave this stone unturned?

    I believe WP speaks up when it is attacked, as mentioned. I don’t think it has a mode of operation whereby it keeps quiet and lets online vigilantes, TOC, TRS or Roy do its work for it. Not when it goes its own road doesn’t lift a finger to speak up for or advance the causes of any of these groups.

    Assuming opposition wards get zero grants from the PAP government, it still does not cover the fact that after merging with Hougang in 2013, Aljunied’s amount went from 3.3 million to 700K deficit. If it was going fine before then why now? Is Hougang such a black hole that all money gets sucked into it? LTK handled Hougang and Chiam Potong Pasir for 20 years and we have not heard such problems. So why now?

    I tend to agree with atans1. Something is weird. And I am not saying it is WP in the wrong, its just something cropped up that they could not handle. And agree, it is not something to keep silent about.

  6. […] Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today. […]

  7. […] Too bad, SDP went AWOL under Dr Chee’s leadership. If only he had WP Low’s patience and wisdom to build up a grass-roots based organisation**. The PAP is always lucky in its enemies. JBJ and Dr Chee then. And Low today. […]

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