Friday, 11 May 2012

Hougang By-Election - Updated 18 May

Yaw Shin Leong breaks silence, says sorry to Hougang voters
Updated 03:33 PM May 18, 2012

SINGAPORE - Former Workers' Party Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong, who was expelled from the party after failing to address allegations of extramarital affairs, has issued an apology to the voters of Hougang.

In a five-paragraph statement to the media today, Mr Yaw thanked Hougang voters for their votes last year and for their "patience and support" for him during his nine-month stint as MP of Hougang.

"I also wish to apologise for the inconvenience caused to you, for the whole episode and having to go through the polls again as a result of my expulsion from the Workers' Party," sair Mr Yaw.

Mr Yaw and his wife have been out of the country since Feb 15. "This is our attempt to build our lives as private individuals away from the glare of the media," he said. "Even as we begin a fresh chapter in our lives, we always regard Singapore as our home and will be back regularly," added Mr Yaw.

The ex-MP urged Hougang residents to "keep our Hougang Spirit strong and keep the flame of parliamentary democracy alive by supporting the candidate in blue".

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PAP is Always Here for You
PAP's tagline for the Hougang By-election is "Always Here for You". This CNA photo captures it.


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Hougang resident withdraws by-election court order bid

Hougang resident Vellama Marie Muthu has withdrawn her bid to get the courts to order the Prime Minister to hold a by-election within three months, reported the Straits Times.

Citing "dramatic developments of the last 48 hours", the 42-year-old's lawyer M. Ravi wrote to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) on Friday that the "factual objective of [Vellema's] litigation has now been achieved timeously" and hence, she is "prepared to withdraw her application".

On Wednesday, PM Lee announced that Polling Day for Hougang's by-election has been set on 26 May.

The single-member constituency (SMC) seat has been left vacant since 14 February, when former MP Yaw Shin Leong was expelled from the Workers' Party.

Vellama's case, which began when she filed an application in court on March 2, is currently pending in court after the AGC appealed against a High Court judge's decision to grant leave for the case to be heard in open court.

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PAP, WP name candidates for Hougang by-election

Both the People's Action Party (PAP) and the Worker's Party (WP) have announced their candidates for the Hougang by-election.

Earlier this morning, PAP named Desmond Choo as its candidate to represent the party on May 26.

He was introduced by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Thursday at a press conference.

Meanwhile, WP followed suit this afternoon when WP chief Low thia Khiang announced Mr Png Eng Huat as its candidate in Hougang.

Neither candidate is a stranger to the ward. 

A by election for regime change

There are many angles to look at this by election. At the very basic level will be a fight of personality and acceptance between the two candidates. At the next level will be a contest between the ruling party and the opposition, represented by the WP.

It is very encouraging to see the opposition parties closing ranks on this issue, to stand together and not to be a spoilt brat by being the third party. But don’t worry, a third party will appear if things are as predictable as before. There will be clowns standing up for all the wrong reasons to mess up the fight.

Another big issue is the agenda for regime change. The vibes in cyberspace have been loud and clear, that a regime change is what they want. They are fed up of the ruling party for being what it is, refusing to change its attitude of talking down to the people and thinking it knows best. What it wants to do, it will do regardless of how painful it is to the people and regardless of how the people scream and shout.

The population explosion and all its unpleasant consequences of high inflation, high cost of living, congestion, high property and car prices, foreigners taking over the plum jobs of locals, are very painful to the citizens. Given foreigners a pink IC does not make that person a Singaporean, albeit legally.

If that be the case, the whole govt can be foreigners or new citizens tomorrow. This disturbing policy has risen to a level that is seeing xenophobia starting to raise its ugly head. It has never been like that before. Singaporeans are proud of its migrant history and always welcome foreigners here. But when too many foreigners are getting on their nerves, it becomes anger.

How would this translate into an election issue?

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DPM Teo & GG (or WP): gentle reminders for next week

DPM Teo has been busy in April, what with opening a temporary carpark in Hougang, praising Desmond Choo (assumed PAP candidate there), talking abt the dangers of the internet, and pushing onto us the task of integrating FTs onto us, despite many of us wanting first-world FTs, not the garbage we’ve been getting in ever increasing truck loads, I’d tot I’d remind him of shumething he said in March concerning violent, ang moh FTs.

In March, in parliament to a question from “Kate Spade” (the real people’s princess, not that NSP, TJS groupie gal who was from RP and who is looking to move on from NSP, not her boy friend: I mean tin looks ordinary, Nicole has star quality), he told us very upset S’poreans that Home Team was conducting an internal investigation on why two violent ang moh FTS who beat up two S’poreans badly in 2010 were allowed to post “peanuts” in bail; and why the police investigation took so long? They took the opportunity to cock a snook at S’pore by moving on.

He said the investigation would be completed in April, and implied that we would told the conclusions.
As it’s now May and parly sits next week, he should be abt to tell us abt the conclusions. And if the investigation has yet to be concluded, why not?

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Please Be There For A Democratic Society Based On Justice And Equality

"We are trying to seek the maximum advantage for Singapore and Singaporeans," so said the Prime Minister. [Link] The headline stated: "S'poreans will always be top priority: PM Lee"

Since when did we, average SIngaporeans, enjoy maximum advantage? Maximum advantage of what? Advantage of having our hard-earned savings locked up in CPF? Advantage of seeing our children struggling to pay for the HDB flat? That is, if they can find and afford to buy one.

Since when did we, average Singaporeans, become 'top priority'? Top priority in what? Top priority in losing jobs and scholarships to PRCs and other foreigners? Priority in seeing the 'fat cat' ministers in PAP paying themselves millions while denying the poor a minimum wage?

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Hsein Loong's Cheap shot is making me sick

Ah the excitement of the Election is coming again, good opportunity and a reminder to us how stupid, dumb and ridiculous the incumbent can be. A pity it is not a public holiday.

Hsien Loong lead the way to shows how ridiculous the People Action Party is.

He took this opportunity to take a cheap shot at WP (Maybe he is afraid?) reminding people how lousy the last MP was and it is not for the resident to choose someone a reliable guy from his camp.

That’s strange there are quire a few un-reliable guy from his camp now and some even became Minister and I am sure they did let down Singaporean not once but on quite a number of occasions. *Cough* Mas Selamat *Cough* MRT breakdown *Cough*Lesser Mortal *Cough* Mee siam mai Hum *Cough*

Hsien Loong went on babbling on how lousy WP is and hey for God’s sake can you be a gentlemen and make this election a fair and proper one and not going down the dirty path?

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WP’s integrity vs PAP’s policies

The Hougang by-election, the first to be held in an opposition ward since Singapore’s independence, may boil down to two things: the Workers’ Party’s (WP) integrity and the People Action Party’s (PAP) national policies.

One year ago, the WP was riding high, coming off the back of a stunning and historic victory in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC), wrestling it from the PAP and in the event causing the Cabinet to lose a well-respected minister in Mr George Yeo.

The WP’s gamble to have its secretary general and Member of Parliament (MP) for Hougang SMC - Mr Low Thia Khiang - lead the WP Aljunied GRC team and have Mr Yaw Shin Leong take over the SMC also paid off handsomely.

Mr Yaw even surpassed Mr Low's best-ever score in the ward – 62.7% in 2006 – to garner 64.8% of the vote.

One year later, however, things are very different. Mr Yaw’s silence on his alleged extra-marital affairs earlier this year led to his dismissal from the WP which then resulted in his seat in Hougang being declared vacant from 14 February.

The WP’s action of sacking Mr Yaw has drawn mixed reactions from the public. Some applaud the WP for “doing the right thing”, and putting the interests of Singaporeans, particularly Hougang voters, above that of the party’s.

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Haste Makes Waste

Shortly after returning from his leave of May 1 to 6, the Prime Minister instructed President Tony Tan to issue the writ of election on 9 May for nomination day to be 16 May, to be followed promptly by actual polling day on 26 May. After all the delay tactics, court room drama and all, the obscene haste to rush the by-election through with minimal time for the electorate to vet the potential candidates merely confirms the incumbents have not changed their form or style of politics. Either that, or they are assuming the promises of GE 2011 to "do a better job" have already been forgotten.

Curiously, the Returning Officer for the Hougang by-election Yam Ah Mee has approved the use of 9 symbols by candidates: scroll, bicycle, ship, tree, flower, horse, hen, rhinoceros and bird. Are they attempting to detract from the highly anticipated clash of symbols between the lightning bolt and the hammer? If so, they might as well add the following symbols already deployed for the pork barrel politics - bowl of porridge, hearing aid, wet market.

They are also probably counting on the short term memory of the average Singaporean voter. Especially folks who have forgotten about the racist humour of one PAP Member of Parliament Choo Wee Khiang:
"One evening, I drove to Little India and it was pitch dark but not because there was no light, but because there were too many Indians around."
That quip was made during a 1992 session of parliament.

Two years earlier, the same Choo was fiddling with the books. The law caught up with him only on June 7, 1999, when he pleaded guilty to a charge of abetting his brother-in-law to cheat a finance company by issuing false invoices worth $1,000,000 in 1990.

In a statement on his stepping down prior to sentencing, then Acting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was saddened by Choo's resignation and that Choo "has done the right thing." Note the regret was about his resignation, not the transgression of law.

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Hougang by Election - WP should win comfortably

Here are the results in graph form (Hougang Constituency).

With the exception of 2001, WP has been making gains against PAP in Hougang. It must also be remembered that 2001 was just after the Asian Financial Crisis, which occurred in late 1990s. Many voters in Singapore were promised by PAP that it is the only party that could take Singapore out of the crisis. Looks like just like the promise in 1988 GE where we would have "Swiss Standard of Living", the 2001 promise was never fulfilled either.

Barring unforeseen circumstances like Martians landing in Singapore to usurp our country, WP should win comfortably.

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PAP unveils Desmond Choo as candidate for Hougang by-election as WP supporters mock his candidacy

The People’s Action Party has officially unveiled Mr Desmond Choo Pey Ching as its official candidate to contest in the coming Hougang by-election to be held on 26 May.

Making the announcement at a media conference is PAP Second Assistant Secretary-General Tharman Shanmugaratnam who praised Mr Choo for working hard on the ground in Hougang despite losing last year’s General Election to Workers Party’s Yaw Shin Leong.

“Mr Choo did not leave after the GE but worked even harder on the ground, and over the past year has connected with many people through weekly coffee sessions and regular house visits. He has also mobilised new resources and implement local schemes to help residents,” he said.

Mr Tharman added that Mr Choo has shown with his actions that he is someone voters can trust, as well as someone who genuinely cares about people and who’ll always be there for his constituents.

The Workers Party has not announced its candidate yet, but it is likely to be Png Eng Huat who has been working the ground in the last few weeks together with WP Chief Low Thia Kiang.

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Rebutting Prime Minister’s Facebook posting on Hougang by-election

16th May is nomination day for the by-election in Hougang SMC with 10 days of campaigning. The PAP has began their assault straight away after PM Lee advised President Tony Tan to issue the Writ for Elections, which is spearheaded by PM Lee himself. The post can be found here [ LINK ].

For the sake of the people of Singapore, especially residents of Hougang SMC, I will publish a rebuttal on the points in the post.

PM Lee: “Over the past year, the Government has worked hard together with Singa­poreans to implement its programme to build an inclusive Singapore, and improve the lives of all.”

I beg to differ. If the government is really interested in improving the lives of Singaporeans, why don’t the government lower the GST to 2% and eradicate the COE? The cost of basic necessities and living are in part are high due to the GST and COE. You and your government’s policy with regards to the GST and COE contradicts this statement.

PM Lee: “In January this year, news surfaced of personal indiscretions by Mr Yaw Shin Leong, the Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament for Hougang constituency. The WP first kept totally silent, then supported Mr Yaw, and then three weeks later suddenly expelled him from the party.”

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The Political Prata | PM Lee on the Hougang by-election: Vote for us, kthxbye!

As you probably know by now, the Hougang by-election is quite near. No, really. Nomination Day is 16 May, and Polling Day is 26 May. (2012, not 2016).

Interestingly, PM Lee chose to disseminate his statement about the by-election via a Facebook note – that in itself has a subtext that our dear PM has been trying to hammer into our noggins since he first fiddled with a phone on a national televised broadcast and It Was A Cool Thing For A PM To Do, Yo.

The subtext? It’s this: Our PM, he is savvy with social media – he’s connected, man! Don’t forget the What I Had For Dinner thing, either. He is so cool that he uses Facebook notes to disseminate information about matters of national interest – like a by-election. Okaaay. Normal press release not cool enough, I see.

Just so you know, one of the things that he wants you all to know is that he is a social media “newbie” (eh, PM, n00b lah) but totally eager to connect with you via the interwebs. Kudos to his media team for… trying. It was not their fault that ST sabo-ed them by mistaking PM Lee’s dinner menu for breaking
actual news.

Now for the statement itself (in italics), which was actually quite an entertaining one, as far as statements go. It started out ho-hum, but got very interesting later on. Looks like the gloves are off!

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