Monday, 21 May 2012

Hougang By-Election - Update 21 May 2012

PAP: Is Png Eng Huat the best man?

DPM Teo Chee Hean gives his speech on the podium. (Yahoo! Singapore/ Alvin Ho)
DPM Teo Chee Hean gives his speech on the podium. (Yahoo! Singapore/ Alvin Ho)

Have Workers’ Party sent their best man in interests of the Hougang residents?

That was the question that People’s Action Party put forth to residents at Hougang stadium on Sunday night at their first by-election rally.

The man in question whose calibre was questioned was none other than Workers’ Party candidate, Png Eng Huat. Png is a 50-year old semi-retired businessman who joined the party in 2006. He came from a media background and had studied abroad for his degree in his younger days.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said, “Png’s message [at WP’s Saturday night rally] was only: send me to parliament. But think about it. WP didn’t send him to parliament when they could have done so. The East Coast team didn’t choose Png. If he is their best man, why not choose him?”
Teo continued, “Voters have a right to ask why WP didn’t send him to parliament when they had the chance to, and yet they ask you to send him in?”

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Hougang not for sale: Workers’ Party

WP candidate Png Eng Huat makes it clear that Hougang must not be taken back by the PAP. (Yahoo! photo)
WP candidate Png Eng Huat makes it clear that Hougang must not be taken back by the PAP. (Yahoo! photo)

Hougang will not be “taken back” by the People’s Action Party (PAP), neither can it be bought over by offers of upgrading, says the Workers’ Party (WP)’s Png Eng Huat.

In a rousing speech at the tail end of a WP rally at an open field in Hougang on Saturday night, Png referred to voters in the three single member constituencies (SMCs) in the past that voted in opposition MPs — Anson, Potong Pasir and Hougang.

[IN PICTURES: See the highlights from the WP's first Hougang by-election rally here.]

He said, “This government has made Anson disappear, and has retaken Potong Pasir, (but it) will never retake Hougang!”

“I’ve met many of you during my house visits, and you have made known your stance which I can summarise in just five words — Hougang is not for sale!” he cried, to roaring cheers of “Workers’ Party!” from the crowd of about 15,000 which had turned up for the opening rally of the by-election campaign.

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Hougang battle an 'uphill fight': PM Lee

Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong lends his support to PAP candidate Desmond Choo. (Yahoo! file photo)
Prime minister Lee Hsien Loong lends his support to PAP candidate Desmond Choo. (Yahoo! file photo)

PM Lee Hsien Loong and PAP secretary-general has acknowledged the battle for Hougang will be an “uphill fight”.

Joining PAP candidate Desmond Choo on his walkabout in Hougang on Saturday, PM Lee said, “It is not going to be easy for the PAP to win Hougang. After all, it is the WP’s stronghold.”

However, he said the edge that Choo had was that he’s had one more year to get to know Hougang residents better after contesting the single-member constituency last May.

“We hope to get more votes this way, and of course, we hope to win. We will give it our best shot,” said PM Lee, as quoted in The Sunday Times.
He added that the purpose of calling a by-election is to choose a best candidate, not to introduce more alternative voices in Hougang. Five current opposition MPs for Aljunied are already in Parliament, along with three non-constituency MPs from opposition parties.

"Whether you have one extra in Hougang or one less in Hougang it doesn't change the basic picture in Parliament," said PM Lee. "That was not the reason why Hougang's by-election was called. Hougang's by-election is being called because there was a malfunction inside the Workers' Party and therefore they had no choice but to do this."

“I think that is the way democracy is meant to work... Democracy means thinking carefully, and choosing each time for the party and the candidate who can serve you the best.”

"The voters in Hougang should consider carefully, not blindly, but carefully who is the best candidate, who can best represent them well, who will work best for them and has the strongest backing and look after them and that is the way democracy is meant to work," Lee said.

PM Lee also reaffirmed that Choo had the PAP’s full support and that Hougang was important to the ruling party. In recent weeks, Choo had insisted that he was ready to run his campaign as “his own man”.

“It is my responsibility to come and give him the backing and support and encouragement, and to show residents in Hougang, and more generally Singaporeans, that he has our full support,” said PM Lee, as reported in The Sunday Times.

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Workers Party Rally Speeches on 19 May 2012







PAP Rally Speeches on 20 May 2012