25 August 2015

Let Outstanding New Candidates Prove Themselves In SMCs

The People's Action Party has unveiled a number of candidates whom it will field in GE 2015.

Some of them have seemingly impeccable credentials. Like Ng Chee Meng and Melvin Yong.

Mr Ng was Chief of Defence in the SAF until his retirement earlier this month. He held the rank of lieutenant-general. He will be contesting GE 2015 in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which is anchored by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

Mr Yong was an assistant commissioner of police. He will be contesting GE 2015 in Tanjong Pagar GRC, which is anchored by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing.

It is very disappointing that the PAP will not be fielding Messrs Ng and Yong in SMCs where they can demonstrate and prove that they are as outstanding as the PAP says they are, win the hearts and minds of the voters, and (with endorsement and support from the PAP) earn their way to Parliament and possible political office.

Punggol East SMC will be a good battleground for either of them (or any one of the other PAP newbies, for that matter) to cut his teeth against Ms Lee Li Lian of The Workers' Party.

Ms Lee won the Punggol East SMC seat in 2013 with a vote swing of 13.5 percentage points in a four-cornered contest. "Son of Punggol" Koh Poh Koon, a colorectal surgeon, will not have to endure another tortuous contest in Punggol East in GE 2015. Instead, he is moving to Ang Mo Kio GRC, which is anchored by none other than Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who will probably smooth his way to Parliament. (Separately, the PAP will be moving 63-year old Deputy Speaker of Parliament Charles Chong from Joo Chiat SMC to contest in Punggol East SMC.)

Winning an election in a GRC is not the same as winning an election in an SMC.

Voters in a GRC can either endorse or reject the entire team that is contesting together; they cannot reject some members of a team without rejecting the entire team. Voters in an SMC, however, can either endorse or reject the individual.

Any member of a victorious GRC team, especially if he is a new candidate, cannot prove to himself or the voters that a majority of them (the voters) genuinely want him to represent them in Parliament. He therefore lacks credibility and moral authority.

(This defect doesn't apply to opposition Members of Parliament elected in a GRC because not only do they much prefer to contest in SMCs instead of GRCs but also they have no choice but to contest in a GRC, which concept was conceived by the PAP.)

If the PAP's new candidates such as Messrs Ng and Yong are as outstanding as the PAP says they are (and their backgrounds seem outstanding), the PAP should have nothing to fear by fielding them in SMC contests.

Except that it could be extremely embarrassing if a recently retired Chief of Defence lost.

Whether or not it is fear — of public failure and public rejection — that underlies the PAP's reluctance to field its new candidates in SMCs to be tested, it is a pity because some of these new candidates will likely be our country's leaders in the future.

This article was updated on 25 April 2015 10:15 pm

1 comment:

  1. PAP is not known to be cunning for nothing. And their greed knows no boundaries. It only takes a daft Singaporean to believe their hearts are pure. Just imagine they have no qualms in luring the unsuspecting old folks to their near-empty election rallies with only a packet of chicken rice. Totally shameless. Pure hearts my foot ?