Remember what happened during GE2011? A resident of Hougang sued the town council for the accounts and the whole episode was played up by the mainstream media to cast doubts on the minds of voters by planting the notion that the WP accounts in Hougang was messy['Messy' accounts: Not an attack on Low, says Lim Hwee Hua]. So what happened to this issue? It was played up during the election as something severe and became a non-issue shortly after that. Today, most people have forgotten what has happened but during that time it might have swung some votes to the PAP.
Today's Straits Times headlines: "WP faces allegations of dishonesty".
This is highly irresponsible and lopsided. Before I go into the details of this particular incident. Let me show you a video from the past.
In this video, Lim Swee Say claimed that he received his CPF statement every month. This is technically untrue because CPF statements not sent to account holders every month. However, you don't see any of our top bloggers calling Lim Swee Say a liar because this may just be a verbal slip, his memory may have failed him, he got confused with other accounts and it is irrelevant to the point he was trying to make. Even though he has been a CPF account holder for roughly 40 years, most of us gave him the benefit of the doubt. Of course, there are voices in various forums, chat rooms and coffee shops calling him "liar, liar" but the Internet is huge, you can always find someone saying anything you want to look up. The main stream media didn't go and pick this up, play it up and say that there are allegations that Lim Swee Say is a liar.
How did this whole episode about WP candidate Png get started:
1. Teo Chee Hean said that WP did not put their best candidate for Hougang because they didn't select Png for NCMP after the last GE - they instead chose Gerald Giam. This is a strange point to make because Choo is clearly not the best candidate the PAP has and PAP never puts its best "minister caliber" candidates in Hougang because they would lose,
2, Png defended himself saying he didn't support the NCMP scheme[Link] and during a walkabout exchanged comments with the media:
"I actually took my name out of the ballot for the NCMP post. Because I have a personal stand against the NCMP scheme, so that's why my name wasn't in the ballot. So I don't think DPM knows all of these...”
3. Leak minutes from WP CEC showed that Png's name was on the balloting paper[leak by "Secret Squirrel"].
4. Low Thia Kiang clarified that Png had express his strong opposition to NCMP scheme but the WP CEC that went ahead and included his name on the balloting paper. [Link]. Low further clarified that :
Speaking to Today, Mr Eric Tan, a former WP CEC member and leader of the party's East Coast GRC team last year, said that Mr Png did tell him and two other teammates Mr Gerald Giam and Ms Glenda Han - that he was not interested in being an NCMP. [Link[
With all the facts established that Png was not interested in the NCMP post and hence did not take part in the ballot (voting process) but his name was included in the balloting paper by the CEC as were all the members of East Coast GRC...the Straits Times chose to publish its highly damaging headlines "WP faces allegations of dishonesty".
"Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the episode raised questions on whether the WP was being 'honest and upfront' with Hougang voters." [Link]
Whether Png meant to say he was not on the balloting paper or he did not take part in the ballot or just wanted his name out of the ballot , they have to choose their own re-interpretation of his words to make him look like a liar. Its not like he told the world he received his CPF statements every month when he didn't - such a statement has no alternative interpretation but still most of us would give the person the benefit of the doubt.... that the speaker had slipped up verbally giving his speech rather than intentionally tried to mislead the audience. The interpretation of Png's words is also irrelevant to the main point he was making that he has no interest in the NCMP scheme.
That the PAP and the mainstream media go all out to damage the reputations of those in opposition running against them is nothing new. We saw it in the 2011 GE, we have seen it in the 2006 GE (Jame Gomez incident), and many times in past elections. The tactics that the PAP uses say a lot its values with regard to free and fair elections. Fairness appears to be so lacking in our society these days with the income gap widening....we are become more sensitive and wary to any kind of unfairness that take place; be it the treatment of our low wage workers or our beleaguered opposition. Instead of coming up with policies that would be beneficial to Singaporeans, the PAP uses old tactics that the electorate can already see through for votes. Winning support from the people is not all so difficult - you just have to evolve policies that benefit the people in the long run and the PAP seems to have great difficulty doing this nowadays.