Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bukit Batok by-election rallies - 1

PM Lee: Racial comments a concern
ALL SMILES: PM Lee Hsien Loong & PAP candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Murali Pillai greeting people around the estate during a walkabout - FOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO

“Hypocritical”, “unchanged” and “unrepentant”, these were the words that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used to describe opposition candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Chee Soon Juan.

Speaking to reporters on a walkabout at Bukit Batok with People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai yesterday morning, PM Lee said that he took issue with Dr Chee’s speech at SDP's rally on Fri, where he advised others to refrain from making personal attacks on former MP David Ong.

Dr Chee said this after other SDP speakers had earlier “fired away” at Mr Ong, said PM Lee.

related: Bukit Batok by-election rallies: Relaxed, then sparks fly

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PM Lee questions Dr Chee's character, aptitude to be MP for Bukit Batok

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sat (Apr 30) questioned Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan's character and aptitude as the latter campaigns to be elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency.

Speaking to reporters after his early-morning walkabout at Bukit Batok with People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali, Mr Lee, who is the PAP Secretary-General, noted that Dr Chee has not been working, yet said he will become a full-time MP if elected.

"I mean, it's easy to say but what do you bring which you would be able to contribute and show you can do for the voters," he said. "It's partly your record, it's partly your ability but it is also your character."

PAP’s Grace Fu questions SDP’s readiness to run a town council
I will always put Bukit Batok before own interests, says PAP’s Murali Pillai
SDP’s Wong Souk Yee speaks at Bukit Batok by-election rally on Apr 29
Good character, integrity first requirement for candidates: PM Lee
I will always put Bukit Batok before own interests, says PAP’s Murali Pillai
Chee Soon Juan defends credentials, asks voters to look to his work with SDP

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Good character, integrity first requirement for candidates: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responds to a statement from the SDP's Paul Tambyah, who said "a person is not defined by his or her actions or words" and that an attack on Dr Chee's character was "uncalled for".
"Anyone standing for public office should be prepared to have his past actions examined, transparently and honestly," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement in response to comments by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)'s Paul Tambyah on Saturday (April 30).
PM Lee said this is so that "voters can make informed, responsible decisions as to who is fit and best qualified to represent them in Parliament".

Grace Fu and Halimah point to Murali's track record and character

Voters in Bukit Batok should ask three questions as they consider who to cast their ballot for on May 7, People's Action Party MPs said last night at the party's first rally of the by-election campaign.

First, what kind of person is the candidate? Second, what promises has he made?

And third, can he deliver on them?

related: Bukit Batok by-election: Highlights of Day 1 rallies

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Grace Fu questions SDP’s ability to deliver on campaign promises

She began with an apology to Bukit Batok residents for the resignation of its former Member of Parliament (MP) David Ong, saying the People’s Action Party (PAP) was “deeply sorry to have (brought) this on you”.

Then, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu swiftly moved on to challenge the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan, the party’s chief, asking if the SDP was resorting to the race card as an election tactic, and questioning Dr Chee’s credentials and ability to deliver on his campaign promises.

The party’s maiden rally last night was attended by PAP heavyweights, including Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is MP for Jurong GRC, as well as Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, a long-time Jurong GRC MP before moving to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC for the General Election last year.

PAP and SDP square off in first rallies of Bukit Batok by-election
Murali ‘driven by sacred duty to serve residents’
I’ll be full-time MP and a voice inParliament, says Chee

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By-election candidates should be judged by character and experience: Grace Fu

Calling Murali Pillai, PAP’s candidate for the 7 May by-election, a humble person, Fu noted that the lawyer has been serving as a grassroots leader for 16 years. She contrasted Murali’s track record with that of Chee Soon Juan, the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chief and its candidate for the by-election.
“He (Chee) wants to be a full-time MP. As far as I know, he has not held a full-time job for a long time. Working experience is essential and when you want to employ someone, you will look at their experience.
"It will be interesting to see if there is a referral letter (for Chee) from Chiam See Tong,” she said. Various media reports have said over the years that Chee ousted former SDP chief Chiam from the party in 1993. But Chee and his other SDP members have denied the claim, saying that Chiam left the party voluntarily.

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“Absolutely appalling!” Chee responds to Lee’s accusation about race

Referring to Singapore Democratic Party’s candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan, Mr Lee suggested that when pressures heats up Dr Chee may feel that he should use his race to his advantage, and that it was wrong. 
Mr Lee said:
  • “I see online some comments making this point about race in a quite open way. I hear some rumours going around within the constituency that people say, ‘Just vote for the Chinese, that’s good’. I think that is completely wrong and bad.
  • “I see also on Chee Soon Juan’s webpage, his postings and then there are comments, and there are some comments which are along this vein too, and they have not been refuted or taken down.”
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Character Attacks Come Fast and Furious at First SDP and PAP Rallies in Bukit Batok

Speaking for candidate Murali Pillai, Singapore’s Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu, said:
“He (Dr Chee) wants to be a full-time MP. As far as I know he’s not held a full-time job for a long time…The work experience is essential. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a referral letter from Chiam See Tong.”
She was referring to Dr Chee’s sacking from his former job as a lecturer, and the bad blood between him and SPP chief Chiam See Tong.
Speaker of Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob, also refused to let bygones be bygones. She said:
“I never forget how Chee shouted at then PM Goh Chok Tong. It is unbecoming especially as Asians we need to respect our elders.”
PAP’s secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong joins comrades in attacking Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-general of the People’s Action Party, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, speaking to reporters after his early-morning walkabout today (Apr 30) at Bukit Batok with People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai, joined his party members in attacking Dr Chee Soon Juan.
In the video, Murali is seen standing behind Mr Lee and smiling a his party leader spoke.
The following is the transcrpt of Mr Lee’s doorstop interview:
“I think you have to look at the thing in total. I mean like what Grace Fu said yesterday at the rally, and I think she made a very good point. You have to look at the person. What has he got? The experience he’s got. What does he bring in terms of abilities – in terms of experience – in terms of proven track record – an in terms of character and commitment. And as Grace said, Murali’s commitment is without doubt.
“Absolutely appalling!” Chee responds to Lee’s accusation about race
Disgraceful, Grace Fu
Grace Fu: Chee has no steady job for many years

Mdm Halimah Yacob’s speech gets lambasted by netizens for character assassination

Last night at the People's Action Party's election rally for the Bukit Batok By-Election, Speaker of the Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob took the stage in support of the PAP candidate, Mr Murali Pillai.

She said in her speech, "Mr Goh Chok Tong was the prime minister at that time and he shouted at Mr Goh Chok Tong, I was shocked at a new candidate standing for election, to see a candidate behaving in that manner."

At this point, someone from the crowd shouted ""Gangster, he is a gangster!"

PM accuses Dr CSJ being a racist for failing to remove comments on his Fb
On integrity & hypocrisy & setting bad examples at Bukit Batok By-election
RCs in Bukit Batok SMC putting up and taking down PAP candidate’s banner
Reform Party Moves to Support the Singapore Democratic Party
Dr CSJ does not think PAP did a good job in its welfare programme
Murali said nothing of David Ong’s $23.6 million NRP promise when he
Did Mr Tharman & Ms Grace Fu take leave from their ministerial appointments
PAP states SDP’s accusations of the PAP breaching the law were “absurd”
Straight fight in Bukit Batok for PAP’s Murali Pillai and SDP’s Chee Soon Juan
Reflections of a MP in Aljunied GRC on the NRP and Bukit Batok By-election
Is Murali giving false impression that residents will not get improvement plans
SDP: Wrong for Murali to make Bukit Batok upgrading as an election issue

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WP member and 2015 GE candidate for Jalan Besar GRC Frieda Chan has weighed in on the Bukit Batok by-elections. In her Facebook post, she says that PAP candidate Murali's arguments on whether MPs should serve full-time is 'weak' and that by saying that it is not necessary for MPs to serve full-time, he is giving a 'slap' to all PAP MPs who have chosen to give up their careers to serve as full-time MPs. She also criticised his argument as being focused on himself rather than on the residents and voters of Bukit Batok.

Assessing both Chee and Murali's selling points on whether to be full-time MP or not, if elected... In short, I think Murali's argument is weak and not well thought through.

Quoting Murali:
"if anyone has a notion that a single person working full-time, as an elected representative, would be able to address the needs of our Bukit Batok residents, I'm afraid he may have to reassess the situation. That does not accord with my own experience, having spent 16 years here..."Murali has just 'slapped' the PAP MPs who have served or are currently serving full-time as elected MPs
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BB BE: Of bulldogs, show dogs and barking dogs

WHY does the People’s Action Party (PAP) trot out the women to do the blasting? So Ms Sim Ann tackled Dr Chee Soon Juan’s past in her infamous “chut pattern” speech during the last General Election. Both sides were vying for Holland-Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency (GRC) seat.

Now you have Ms Grace Fu doing a similar speech, although in a less supercilious manner in the Bukit Batok by-election. In fact, a colleague described her as a “sweet bulldog”. Reading her doesn’t do her as much justice as listening and watching her. The little asides, tentative manner was even a little motherly, like an adult admonishing a child gently, oh so gently.

She stood out as the best speaker on the PAP side last night, although she is likely to be criticised for getting “personal”, like taking a swipe at Dr Chee’s unemployed status. It was masterly. She insinuated that Dr Chee could well be a full-time MP because he had no job to lose. But that wasn’t her thrust (because that would be oh, so bad), it was how his lack of work experience was “a relevant factor” when voters weigh the credentials of the rival candidates.

BB BE: Who cares who pays for what upgrade? Do you?
BB BE: Fists up over that $1.9m hand-me-down upgrade
What the PAP says about what Murali said
BB BE: Dr Chee’s $24m question
PHOTOS FROM THE GROUND: Bukit Batok by-election Nomination Day
A humdrum Nomination Day
Bukit Batok: The straight fight that nearly wasn’t

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8 quotable quotes from last night’s PAP rally, two of which layeth the smacketh down on SDP’s Chee

The People’s Action Party rally yesterday (Apr 29) had several quotable moments, but the best came when Grace Fu – Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and MP of the adjacent Yuhua SMC – tore into the character of Chee Soon Juan.

Grace Fu brought up the internal strife within the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) nearly 20 years ago – as well as more recent political adventures from the party, such as its attempt to represent Punggol East in Parliament while letting the Workers’ Party run its town council in 2013 – as proof that SDP’s Chee Soon Juan is not prepared to run an estate, a major talking point in this by-election.

Fu also brought up the track record of PAP candidate Murali Pillai, who ran in Aljunied GRC in the last election.

CSJ cuts Hokkien music video to sing his way into Bukit Batok voters' hearts
5 observations from the rather tame Bukit Batok by-election Nomination Day
When is CSJ? What is Murali? Yr guide to Bukit Batok by-election candidates
5 observations from the PAP Bukit Batok ward press conference
SDP responds to Lina Chiam's statement about SDP's use of Chiam's image

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SDP unprepared for By Election

Tharman has taken the first shot at the SDP that they were unprepared for the by election. That must be the truest of all the statements made so far. How could SDP know that there will be a by election coming so soon after the GE and be prepared for it? I don’t think anyone in the SDP could foresee that something like this would happen and be prepared for a by election. Only those who knew what is coming could be prepared for it.

Is the PAP prepared for this by election, knew that it is coming? Who knows better, but PAP is surely more prepared than the SDP or Tharman would not be using this as a strong point to use against the SDP. SDP is unprepared, heheh, we are. PAP is prepared and ready for the by election with its new programme launched by Murali. Is the new programme similar to the programme David Ong promised the residents of Bukit Batok? Some numbers were quoted, that David Ong’s programme was very comprehensive and amounting to $24m while Murali was talking about $1.9m. Please enlighten me on this.

Oh, before I forget, let me use the often uttered phrase by the rich people. What is $1.9m? This is even less than one year’s salary of a minister. Maybe Murali was talking about a small portion of the programme or the $24m was the whole programme that includes other constituencies. SDP must be forgiven for being in the dark about this whole affair as they were not a party to it. Sure, they don’t know.

SDP' response to PAP' pre-election carrot dangling
Bukit Batok by-election to be called on 7 May
The Bukit Batok by-election

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PAP Murali: Why should I quit my full-time job? Other MPs do it part-time too

“There is no need for MPs to give up their full-time jobs”, says PAP candidate Murali for Bukit Batok by-election. The PAP candidate was ridiculing his SDP opponent Dr Chee Soon Juan who promised to dedicate full-time serving residents in Bukit Batok SMC. However, the PAP candidate disagrees and felt there is no need.

Currently, PAP candidate Murali is the head for Commercial Litigation Practice of Singapore’s top law firm Rajah & Tann. His estimated monthly salaries is at least S$17,000 a month but the salary of a MP is only S$15,000 a month. As such, it is only natural that the PAP candidate is unwilling to forgo his full-time job which is relatively stable as compared to being that of a MP that is essentially a 5-year contract.

Many PAP MPs also held on to their full-time jobs and serve their constituencies part-time. The recently-fired corrupted PAP MP David Ong was also serving Bukit Batok SMC part-time while holding on to his full-time job as a Managing Director.

PAP Murali snake-talk: I didn’t say S$1.9m upgrading only when PAP wins
DPM Tharman dodge S$1.9 million vote-buying question
PAP: “No breach of law” behind S$1.9 million vote-buying
Bukit Batok by-election: May 7th

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How Much Can the Bukit Batok By-Election Change?

The Bukit Batok by-election will happen on 7 May. The People’s Action Party (PAP) has not done well in by-elections at least in the last couple of years, losing at Hougang and Punggol East in 2012 and 2013 respectively. A possible explanation for this is the absence of the fear narrative in by-elections. Conservative voters whose fear of a non-PAP government outweighs their desire for a more opposition representation in Parliament can now, to use their language, ‘safely’ vote for opposition candidates.
Dr Chee’s supporters eagerly await the day that one of the most formidable orators in the opposition is elected to Parliament and brings his fiery eloquence to bear on important national issues. The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has also spelled out a detailed list of social programmes that it intends to carry out in the constituency if elected, including provision of financial advice and aid, subsidised private tuition, as well as building social capital by providing bridging opportunities for community members to engage each other.
The party and most of its supporters seem to greatly favour Dr Chee’s chances, and the picture of an SDP-run Bukit Batok seems rosy indeed. Dr Chee himself has described his vision for Bukit Batok as a town that would become a model that would one day spread to all of Singapore.

related: By the By, on Bukit Batok

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Police reports filed over by-election ad breaches
Bukit Batok polls: The aftermath
Bukit Batok by-election: And The Winner is
Bukit Batok by-election: Polling Day
Bukit Batok by-election: Cooling-Off Day
Bukit Batok by-election: Whose side are you on?
Bukit Batok by-election rallies - 1
Bukit Batok by-election rallies - 2
Bukit Batok by-election to be held on May 7
The Upcoming Bt Batok By-Election
Bt Batok MP resigns over 'personal indiscretion'