As I expected, the opposition strategy of not contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC is going to cost these opposition parties. It has freed up MM Lee Kuan Yew, along with his loyal press corps, to focus on other areas that are being contested.
MM Lee has jumped on the opportunity, gone into over-drive and is now running on adrenaline. He is grabbing the opposition bulls by their horns and throwing them across the field.
MM Lee is pelting allegations after allegations, whether or not they have a basis. It will now be for the opposition parties to respond to these allegations. If, in responding, they get their facts wrong, the defamation suits will follow for calling MM Lee a liar.
For illustrative purposes, let’s take MM Lee’s example of Shadow Cabinet. He has asked the Workers Party to name this.
MM Lee has been away from England for some time now and he cannot be blamed for forgetting how the Westminster style of parliamentary democracy works. Any student of constitutional law will know that the Shadow Cabinet is drawn from elected opposition Members of Parliament (emphasis added). In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, the Opposition Chief Whip and the Opposition Deputy Chief Whip are paid salaries for these additional roles. To learn more, read here.
This is not the case in Singapore. The issue of a Shadow Cabinet cannot arise where there are no elected opposition Members of Parliament and where the current system makes no provision for additional remuneration for opposition party office-bearers in Parliament.
No doubt that the pliant media is doing a great job in giving prime coverage to MM Lee. They haven taken pains to ensure that his every word is covered. With all this coverage, it is not reasonable to wonder if it is MM Lee or PM Lee in the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, the journalists that cover these issues will not even bother to do a basic check of what MM Lee says against the facts. Their attitude will be if the great leader has spoken, he must be right. In their failure to do this, they will do a great disservice to their readers, who rely on them for accurate information.
Voters of the constituencies affected should ask important questions here. What does MM Lee’s campaigning of the PAP candidates he is endorsing say about these candidates? Can these candidates really stand on their own and defend their turf? If they can, MM Lee has done them no justice by turning up and campaigning for them.
The comfort I take from this fact is MM Lee has not come to campaign for my current PAP MP, including his team. To me, this shows that they need no special endorsement from the great leader and it gives me great confidence in their competencies and capabilities.
I accept, however, it is still early days to tell. If MM Lee does indeed come to campaign for my PAP MP, I will know that I will need to look further into the track record of my PAP MP.
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