SINGAPORE - In his first comments on the controversy surrounding Workers' Party (WP) candidate for Hougang Png Eng Huat, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it was for Hougang voters to reflect on what happened and decide which candidate is better for Hougang.
In a written interview with the Singapore media, Mr Lee said the facts were clear.
Mr Png Eng Huat had first denied that he had been passed over by WP when it chose a Non-Constituency MP to send to Parliament, but it later emerged that this was untrue, he said.
Mr Lee said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had simply laid out these facts before the public and it is an issue for voters to decide.
On Wednesday, DPM Teo said the revelations by the Workers' Party in the past few days raised a new question about Mr Png's integrity.
PM Lee urges Hougang voters to make a fresh start
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has weighed in on the Hougang by-election and called on voters there to make a fresh start by voting for People's Action Party candidate Desmond Choo, who will work with the Government to improve their lives.
In an e-mailed reply to questions from the media, Mr Lee also said that while he fully understands the desire for alternate voices in Parliament, 'the quality of the voices counts, and not just the quantity'.
He was responding to the Workers' Party's point that the Hougang seat matters to the opposition party because winning it would increase their presence in Parliament by 20 per cent.
In his reply on Thursday, Mr Lee said: 'Whether one more MP, PAP or opposition, makes a difference depends not on the percentage increase that he represents to his side, but on his integrity, commitment and ability.'
Focus on the real issue at hand: PAP's Choo
On the last day of campaigning, People's Action Party's candidate for Hougang, Mr Desmond Choo strove to refocus the campaign back to the two candidates and Hougang residents themselves.
He told reporters on Thursday afternoon: 'I know that there have been many comments regarding NCMP and other issues surrounding this, I thought that enough has been said, it is important to focus on the real issue at hand, which is about the two candidates, and selecting one that will serve them for the next four years.'
He was referring to the furore that erupted over Workers' Party's Hougang candidate Png Eng Huat's explanation for why he was not selected for a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) spot, with Deputy Prime Minister raising questions about Mr Png's integrity over the issue.
He said: 'Let's not lose focus, it is really about the residents, and they have to make that call.
Png's comments won't hurt party for now: Observers
Hougang residents on Wednesday appeared unfazed by the swirl of controversy over the Workers' Party (WP) candidate's comments on the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme.
Many who were interviewed by The Straits Times said that what mattered was still how well their MP could serve them and meet their municipal concerns - and this will decide how they vote come Saturday.
One of them, a 62-year-old driver who gave only his surname, Mr Poh, spoke for this group when he said: 'It's up to others how they want to cook up a controversy.
'It's not important. Can Png Eng Huat look after the people? That's the most important question.'
What can Desmond Choo do? Another dumb MP sitting in Parliament?
(Source: Insing) - Typical PAP wayang using children, elderly for their dirty politics)
What can Desmond Choo do if he is able to swing votes towards PAP after numerous heavy weights standing behind. Previously, Finance Minister Tharman and the most recent PM Lee was there to give him a support even thought he said "he is his own man".Who will come next? Former PM Lee aka LHL's father?
If I am Hougang resident, I need to ask myself will Desmond Choo speak for the Hougang residents regarding these issues:
- Minimum wages - When Professor Lim Chong Yah suggest a radical minimum wage shock therapy did Desmond Choo speak against for for it? Or just liked the rest of his PAP mates?
OPINION: PAP's negative electioneering given the thumb downs by netizens
Teo Chee Hean beginning to look petty now - Where Bears Roam Free
PAP is So Screwed - Prata Politics
Unethical electioneering practices must stop - Diary of a Singaporean Mind
Integrity ah? Ne’er Mind lah – HUAT first! - SpeakSpokeWriteWrote
What Makes PAP Is So Detestable? - Feed Me To The Fish
Not very subtle lah, ST - mrbrown.com
Making fallacious political statements - My Singapore News
Hougang by-election campaign shows PAP on auto-pilot - Yawning Bread
Gutter politics and biased reporting by Straits Times - Sgpolitics.net
Will DPM Teo say “Let’s move on”? - News Asia Republic
Desmond Choo: Certainly not “his own man”
Right at the start of the by-election campaign, PAP candidate Desmond Choo said that he was “his own man”, and that he was “independent”. Yet, one by one, cabinet ministers and other PAP heavyweights lent their support and presence to Desmond Choo. On nomination day itself, PAP Chairman and MND Minister Khaw Boon Wan, as well as Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, were there to support him.
Several days ago, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself paid a visit to Hougang with Mr Choo. DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam also weighed in, calling on WP not to trivialize the electoral process, and up till today, DPM Teo Chee Hean is still on the offensive, accusing WP and Mr Png Eng Huat of not being honest and forthright with voters.
Contrast this with Mr Png, who never claimed that he was “his own man”. The Worker’s Party instead took the stand that it was solidly behind Mr Png. The party Sec-Gen Low Thia Khiang also emphasized the concept of collective leadership in WP when he spoke about the internal NCMP balloting process during Tuesday’s rally.
So why is Desmond Choo marketing himself as “his own man”, and being “independent”?
With the by-election in Hougang set on 26th May, campaigning for the seat is now well underway. After a few boring days, the campaign for both the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and the incumbent Workers’ Party (WP) has only recently went into high gear.
The traffic accident along Rochor Road is still hurting the PAP and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean had to come out and say that people (cough, the opposition, cough) are trying to use a “tragic accident” to hurt the PAP. The PAP then launched an attack on WP’s candidate Png Eng Huat, claiming that he is dishonest over his intentions surrounding the non-constituency Member of Parliament scheme. This follows a leak of the minutes of a WP meeting where Mr. Png was spoken of as a candidate for the scheme.
WP’s Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang then came out to condemn the anonymous leak and say this is a “weak attempt at the discrediting the WP”.
Basically, both sides are claiming the other side is using cheap shots against them.
About bloody time I say! I was worried when the first few days of the campaign were so boring that the by-election wasn’t even on the front few pages of the newspaper. All the talk of this being a “gentleman campaign” was nauseating. Seriously, this is the way politics should be. Down and dirty; accusations and counter accusations flying around; and both sides trying to come up on top. About time both parties get serious about it!
Heng Swee Keat
Yu-Foo Yee Shoon
Workers Party Rally
posted on 24 May 2012 @ 2335 hrs