The Prime Minister hath spoken – and the rest of us will have a good time watching the political parties claw at each other for the right to run Punggol East and to represent its residents. I am not sure I care about why he did it – whether it signals desperation as SDP’s Chee Soon Juan put it, or wants this niggling thing out of the way before the big stuff gets discussed on the national level, as other pundits put it.
Main thing is, the BE is ON and the hope is that Punggol East residents will get down to the task of deciding what they want out of their elected rep.
Will they put local issues as their top priority – “Give me that hawker centre that the G didn’t want to put here!’’ “Tell those Rivervale Plaza people we want our mall up and running next month.’’ “What about another childcare centre, we’re a young town!’’ No one can blame them. Singaporeans always try to extract value for money, or value for vote . (okay, I am cynical)
Or maybe these younger, better educated voters will think “national’’ and think this way : We need more opposition voices to check on the PAP Government. Just look at what’s happening recently…and cite a list..
Or think “national’’ and think this way: We better keep to the PAP because we running into so many problems as a country which we need a strong Government to solve…and a cite a list..
The PAP is going to unveil its candidate today – colorectal surgeon Koh Poh Koon. I guess the usual will happen. He will have a watchdog of a chairman during a press conference, to deflect uncomfortable questions or to answer for him if he’s tongue-tied. Well, I hope he gets some room to speak for himself.
I hope he will say more than what is politically correct and PAP cautious. And not just something like this:
“Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Thank you for coming to this press conference. I am honoured to have been selected as the PAP candidate for Punggol East. I pledge to do my best, my very best, for the residents and to build on the good work of my predecessor Mr Michael Palmer. Punggol East has blossomed in the past years and while there might be some local issues, I can assure you that I will work to get them resolved. I am very grateful for the support of the grassroots leaders as well as Mr Teo Ser Luck and DPM Teo Chee Hean. Over the past two months, Punggol East has been well-tended under their care.’’
Chairman asks for questions
“Yes? Grassroots work? Well I was in the residents association of my own neighbourhood. Too busy to tend to the constituency? I have made arrangements with my fellow colleagues in Fortis who take on some of the load. There are several doctor-MPs in the PAP and they have managed their time very well. ’’
“Yes? My views on Mr Palmer? He and the PAP did the right thing. As for myself, I assure you I am happily married and a family man.’’
“On town councils and AIM? The PM has already asked MND to investigate and I think its best we leave MND to do the job. Let’s not pre-judge the matter. What? Ah…I am pretty new at this and I am not sure how many companies the PAP owns or what the rules are.’’
My stand on immigration? Well, you know that a White Paper on Population is coming up? I will make my views known in Parliament when I get elected. Sorry, if I get elected.’’
“Hmm…you know more about the opposition camp than me. The media are saying it will be a multi-cornered fight. Let them come. The PAP is ready. It has always been ready. We’ve already bought the plywood for posters.’’
“No, I am not ready to talk about issues that the opposition has raised. Please come to my rallies. You will hear more there.’’
“Unhappiness with the PAP? I agree that there is some but we should take the long-term view and try to work together, to understand the unhappiness and address the problems rationally. As the PM said we have so many national issues to resolve. Hopefully, when this BE is over, we can get down to having a proper Singapore Conversation.’’
“Sure, we have time for photographs’’.
Chairman closes press conference.
Now, what a let-down that would be!