From ‘Low Thia Khiang slams baseless attacks at WP’, 27 May 2012, article by Elizabeth Soh and Lim Wenjian, Sg Yahoo News.
“Baseless attacks” and “character assassinations” were what characterised the Hougang by-election, said the Worker’s Party (WP) Secretary General Low Thia Khiang on Saturday night. Speaking at the WP’s post-win press conference at the party’s Syed Alwi road headquarters, he said that there had been “several calculated moves” to “discredit” candidate Png Eng Huat by the People’s Action Party (PAP), and accused them of using the “carrot and stick” approach to “coerce voters from… freedom of choice.”
“PAP said this is an honorable fight, but… they used tactics to smear our reputation,” Low charged. He was referring to a war of words that erupted, during campaigning last week, between the WP and Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean over a copy of leaked WP meeting minutes.
The minutes, which was sent anonymously to the media, showed Png in the running for his party’s vote for the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) seat after the General Election (GE) last year. This, after Png had said in an interview that he had taken his name out of the ballot. …Following that, DPM Teo accused Png of having integrity issues and repeatedly suggested that he was not the WP’s best choice or candidate. During the press conference, Low took aim at mainstream media outlets, saying that they had been used as a “political tool” in the PAP’s campaign….Low referred to a photo run by The Straits Times that showed Png standing behind Low and WP Chairman Sylvia Lim in an unflatteringly subservient position.
…In response to Low’s assassination comments, DPM Teo also said that he welcomed the MP for Aljunied GRC and the WP to take legal action against him. “It all came from contradictions within his own party,” added DPM Teo, who nonetheless congratulated Png on his win.
Well, to be fair, Desmond Choo was also put in a rather ‘unflattering’ light in another ST shot below. Though that didn’t stop more than 37% of Hougang residents from giving a 34 year old man who needs the PM to chaperone him on visits a fighting chance.
ST aside, the New Paper came up with this surprisingly rockin’ shot of Png Eng Huat being drenched in the rain looking like the album cover of a K-pop superstar. He could cut an entire album in Teochew/Hokkien and still sell more records than Nat Ho.
The former REAR-Admiral TCH has stopped short of calling Png an outright ‘liar’, using terms like ‘have not been upfront/honest/may not be the best man for the job/contradictions’, though the PAP banked its ‘smear’ strategy on what is itself a scoundrelly move by a ‘Secret Squirrel’ within the WP ranks. Though Low doesn’t see the need to expose his traitor for now, you could expect PAP to launch a million dollar smear campaign within a smear campaign to smoke out a similar insider in their midst and deny all leaked allegations if given a chance. Then again, who needs moles and squirrels when you have the Temasek Review/Revealed/Times folks exposing your dirty laundry for you.
Png was victorious by 62% nonetheless, mole (or squirrel?) or no mole, which means Hougang residents are either resistant to change, loyal devotees of the Low Thia Khiang ‘brand’, or have become immune to one PAP back-handed sucker punch after another. TCH calls Hougang elections ‘special’ and that the WP stronghold ‘is not representative of Singapore necessarily’. I wonder what brand of grapes he has been eating that he has forgotten that Hougang residents are SINGAPOREANS first. So much for an ‘inclusive’ society. This calls for a timely reminder that TCH himself was propelled into office via a 1992 Marine Parade GRC by-election called by then PM Goh Chok Tong, which makes him ‘representative’ of how PAP MPs come into power. You may question what right does one have running down an opponent like Png when one never really fought the way Desmond ‘I’m my own MAN’ Choo fought for Parliament all these years. Sometimes you got to wonder if brandishing sneaky, unverified, leaked emails to gun down your opponents and using Choo as a proxy for warmongering makes one even A MAN at all. Instead of shooting one’s mouth off with nothing to lose, how about leaving Pasir Ris Punggol GRC and going man0-a-mano with WP in Hougang the next GE then? I think that would be a worthier challenge than sueing you for defamation, and one WP would gladly accept.
PAP’s trademark ‘assassination’ tactics against opponents began from their early days in power in the 60′s, when ex-Chief Minister Tun Lim Yew Hock of the Singapore People’s Alliance was accused by none other than LKY for ‘selling planes to the Federation Government’. Former National Development Minister Ong Eng Guan was called a ‘liar and a scoundrel’ and had ‘no character’ to be assassinated, this after someone dug out that he had a ‘multiplicity of wives’. In 2006, Low Thia Khiang was implicated in the James Gomez incident; while Wong Kan Seng and LKY were busy discrediting Gomez as a ‘liar’, LKY proceeded to comment that ‘Low had lower standards of integrity’ than Chiam See Tong. LKY then dared the WP to ‘sue him’ for his harsh allegations (Gomez a liar, so sue us: MM Lee, 3 May 2006, Today). Just last year, the SDP was questioned if they were pursuing a ‘gay agenda’ after the PAP (namely Vivian Balakrishnan) got hold of a Youtube video of Dr Vincent Wijeysingha speaking at a gay forum. In a nutshell, this is how PAP works when it has desperately run out of ideas to sell itself; Identify a target. Unleash your ‘research’ bots to scour Youtube, CCTVs, invoices, marriage certs, leaked emails. Bombard the media with cunning accusations on someone’s integrity, ability and personal life, sexuality if need be. Add the disclaimer ‘If you not happy, sue me lor’. Which is like the Hulk telling the birthday boy to kick him out a party for squashing the cake. It has all the pathological signs of a high-functioning, confrontational bully with plenty of lawyer henchmen at their disposal. Finally, after 40 over years in the assassination business, the people (or the majority of Hougang at least) are no longer buying it.
Perhaps the PAP should stop thinking of Hougang as some impenetrable fortress helmed by stubborn slum-dwelling berserkers and make it their core mission to thwart the WP by hitting them where it hurts, below the belt and behind the back if necessary. So despite the PAP and ST seemingly ganging up on the Opposition, a disgraced Yaw Shin Leong apologising to remind residents of his sudden abandonment, some last minute party pooper posing as a back-up candidate, or some two-timing double-agent who knows how to tickle the PAP smear machine to orgasm, the WP still got the last laugh.
And then, there’s this, a clip that captures the essence of the 37%’s enthusiasm perfectly.
Congratulations, Png Eng Huat and WP, and may these internal shenanigans serve as rough but fruitful lessons for better governance during your reign.