A very common view in cyberspace and in the real S’pore of Lina Chiam even if I’m quoting a newbie SPP member (a friend and likely GRC candidate):
During the last GE, I was quite unsure about Mrs Lina Chiam, if she was the best SPP had, to be fielded in Potong Pasir. My doubts were soon proven wrong.
She has done exceptionally well in the constituency. She has regular meet the people sessions, tries to solve residents problems, and never turns away anyone who comes to her for help.
As a Parliamentarian, Mrs Chiam has been recognised for being one of the most active MPs in Parliament, having risen more than 80 times to either raise a Parliamentary Question, seek clarification, participate in Bill and motion debates, or to raise COS cuts during Budgets.
Those who have suggested that someone other than Mrs Chiam should be fielded in Potong Pasir have either taken issue with Mrs Chiam’s gender, age or supposed lack of qualifications. Such comparisons are unfair discrimination.
I personally cannot think of anyone stronger the Opposition can field in Potong Pasir.
I have always felt that it is in the best interest of Singapore to have a strong opposition in Parliament, which is why I helped Jeannette Chong-Aruldossin her campaign for Mountbatten SMC during the last GE.
This time, if I had to, I would support not only Jeannette’s campaign, but also Mrs Chiam’s. Why? Because she is a good leader, who is able to commiserate with the residents in Potong Pasir.
Contrast this minority view of Mrs Chiam by a TRE reader, Harold:
Why did I not list the SPP which has 1 NCMP as the second pick for opposition supporters? [He had praised and commended the WP and SDP: I’ll post his tots on them tomorrow, maybe]Last GE, we saw a nationwide 6.5% vote swing AWAY from the PAP. Thus, every constituency that was also contested by the opposition in 2006 saw a larger percentage of the votes gained by the opposition in 2011. All constituencies save for one – Potong Pasir. SPP instead saw their votes in Potong Pasir drop by 6%, leading to their narrow loss of a safe seat to the PAP’s Sitoh Yi Pin!
This is largely due to the choice of SPP to field Lina Chiam who was intended to be Chiam See Tong’s successor. This is widely perceived to be the reason why SPP lost. Mrs Chiam was not eloquent enough at her rallies. Nor did she attack the PAP candidate sufficiently. Most importantly, she did not manage to convince the swing voters that she had a good chance of winning against the PAP candidate. That was why there were 242 spoiled votes. If just half these votes had gone to SPP, she would have won!
I’m not against SPP but I’m just saying that SPP has to deal with these REAL perceptions if they intend to field Mrs Chiam in Potong Pasir again. A party only stands a decent chance if it can generate hype among its supporters. Supporters and swing voters have to be convinced that the party can win. Remember, Sitoh Yi Pin has been the incumbent MP for Potong Pasir for 4 years now and he has a huge advantage over Mrs Chiam. It is no longer 50-50 as was the case in 2011. Even other opposition parties like the DPP are doubting Mrs Chiam’s ability to win again. That is why these opportunists want to cause a multi-cornered fight in Potong Pasir.
SPP can still win back Potong Pasir if they field someone younger, whose appeal to the voters is stronger. If they wish to revive Mr Chiam’s legacy while renewing SPP, then why not field Mr Chiam’s daughter? As Nicole Seah proved in the last GE, it is possible for a young, eloquent and inspiring female politician to generate sufficient hype to shift the vote towards her party, even against a strong incumbent from the ruling party.
SPP has been gifted with the entry of strong opposition personalities like Ravi Philemon and Jeanette Chong-Aruldoss, who is poised to give the PAP a tough fight at Mountbatten SMC once again. So why not build on that to renew the party’s overall image? I hope SPP can see the bigger picture and try to attract back swing voters.
I agree with Harold that the SPP must move on from the Chiams (though not to their daughter who anyway seems uninterested in politics) even if Mrs Chiam has proved a better driver slapper than Low, Auntie, Show Mao, Baiyee and the other Worthless Party MPs. And even though she has grown in the job.
Isn’t it strange that cybernuts jeered at LKY because although he was frail he wanted to carry on bullying, while they cheer on a younger but even frailer Mr Chiam who insists on dominating his party?
Btw, given the face Mr Chiam was rightly given at LKY’s funeral, it would have been very petty for Poptong Pasir to have “disappeared”. Maybe there was a provision in LKY’s will (or letter of wishes) stipulating that Potong Pasir SMC should not be abolished?