Leopards and spots

by: Siew Kum Hong/

It is as if the PAP is determined to prove that leopards cannot change their spots. The People’s Association can try its best to spin the truth, but the latest revelation from the Workers’ Party completely destroys any plausible deniability that could possibly be left.

The Workers’ Party’s revelation has to be read to be believed, but in a nutshell, the HDB had the brazen nerve to lease some prime spots for grassroots events — apparently previously by the PAP-controlled Aljunied Town Council — to the People’s Association. This was done quickly after the General Elections, on 27 May and 13 June, and apparently without any announcement or publication anywhere. On 15 August, the PA informed Sylvia Lim, Chairman of Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, that “bookings by WP will not be allowed”.

This is offensive on so many levels. The HDB needs to explain why it did what it did, and the timing for those actions. Why did it suddenly lease those areas to the PA, after the PAP lost Aljunied GRC, when those areas had previously been managed by the town council? Has it ever leased such areas to the PA in other constituencies ? What was the criteria for choosing those areas?

As for the PA, this drives the final nail through its pretense of being a true grassroots organisation — as opposed to a state-funded para-political organisation used as a mobilisation vehicle by the ruling party. If it was truly non-political, it would not issue a blanket refusal to lease these areas to the Workers’ Party.

Many will consider me naive, but I had hopes after the General Elections that the PAP would truly learn its lessons, and become a fair and just party truly focused on doing the right thing for all Singaporeans — instead of working for the party’s own narrow interests. I now see that that was too much to hope for.

Before May 7, I had privately predicted that GE2016 would be Singapore’s equivalent of Malaysia’s GE2008, when the opposition tsunami rocked the long-time ruling coalition. I did not see that happening this year. After May 7, I thought that the PAP still had a chance of avoiding an opposition tsunami in the next elections.

Well, let’s just say that the PAP MPs and prospective candidates better have a Plan B in 2016, in case they lose. Many of them will likely need to use it.

This post first appeared on Siew Kum Hong’s blog.

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