We are reaching the mid-point of the electoral cycle. For the main political parties, this means moving from post-2011 introspection to pre-2015/6 positioning. Seen in that light, the recent skirmishes between the ruling party and the Workers' Party (WP) are interesting for what they portend for the battle ahead.
The latest dust-up started with hyperlocal dissatisfaction with the WP-run town council's handling of hawker centre cleaning. The PAP spotted the opportunity to grow this seed into weeds of doubts about the opposition party's integrity.
Two WP MPs made "false and untruthful statements" when they insisted no one in their town council had demanded extra payment for the cleaning of high areas at two Bedok hawker centres, charged the Government.
Straits Times openly urges PAP to Fix & Frame WP?
It's no secret that the entire SPH is a PAP propaganda machinery staffed by sycophants whose only talent is to lick the boots of their political masters.
But this article by Zuraidah Ibrahim, sister of Yaacob and deputy editor of the Straits Times takes the cake with its open call to the PAP to neuter the Workers' Party through a three-pronged strategy:
- Secure and galvanize its own base.
- Keep the Workers' Party busy and on the defensive by playing up "scandals". This will take away WP's time and resources to focus on municipal issues.
- Sow doubts about new up and coming WP leaders.
Auditor General: Breaches of Law in Prime Minister’s Office
To quote the Auditor General’s report directly, under the heading “Prime Minister’s Office”:
Some observers may find it shocking that the Auditor General claims to have observed unlawful behaviour on the part of the government, but in fact this year’s revelation follows even more serious breaches detected by the AG last year
- 62. The Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (Cap. 30B, 2006 Revised Edition) stipulated the time frame for making payment and requirements for payment response to a payment claim. The Act was passed to address cash flow problems faced by the construction industry by upholding the rights of parties to seek progress payments for work done and goods supplied.
- 63. For the contract for building works construction and another contract for foundation works (total contract value of $295.72 million), AGO found 32 instances of late payment to contractors (totalling $254.04 million). In six instances (totalling $26.09 million), the delays ranged from 33 to 174 days.
- 64. For the three consultancy services contracts (total contract value of $27.25 million), AGO observed that NRF did not provide payment responses to the consultants’ payment claims (totalling $24.56 million). Report of the Auditor-General for the Financial Year 2012/13
Snap elections in view of 'cleaning' saga
PM has thrown his weight in support of Vivian's call for honesty and integrity of our MPs.
Let our people be the judge. Dissolve the GRCs of PM, Vivian and Loh and call for snap elections in these 3 GRCs.
Then let our people choose through their democratic rights.
Integrity of 'Public Procurements' Vs Integrity of 'Ceiling Cleaning'
PM thru his Office had fired another exchange in the AHPETC ceiling cleaning saga stating that charges against WP remains 'unrebutted' and raised serious questions of integrity and honesty of WP.
On the other hand, the Auditor General Office has just release its report of procurement lapses in our Civil Service involving millions of Public dollars similar to it's 2012 report.
Is there integrity involving an alleged couple thousands of dollars against millions of our people's money?
Parliament showdown a clear sign that PAP won’t hang back
Last month’s dispute over the cleaning of hawker centre ceilings in the WP-run Aljunied GRC went up a notch in Parliament on Tuesday.
What was surprising was the strength of Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan’s accusations and his supporting documents. If public discussion of the issue had waned, his speech thrust it firmly under the spotlight again.
The initial questions by PAP MP Lee Bee Wah had to do about who should bear the cost of cleaning hawker centres. But the minister was prepared to give a full account of the events in the Bedok North hawker centres when she asked for it.
It is also worth noting that the WP had responded to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s statement in which he said that the entire Cabinet stood by Vivian Balakrishnan’s position in Parliament. PM’s press sec issued a short statement in response to WP’s statement. WP decided not to go on with the bickering. I don’t think anyone would say that this is WP “turning its back on a scrap” either.
Let’s not forget that the PAP is free to continue to attack WP. The fact that it too has stopped should tell Zuraidah something about who is “turning its back on a scrap”. The clue: the PAP was coming off as being extremely “bo liao” and petty in the matter.
Anyway, here are the two WP statements – one in 2011 and the other in 2013 (after Khaw raised the matter in Parliament):