By Wong Kok Sen Joseph
I refer to the letter titled “Workers’ Party lacks minority representation?” submitted by Mr Paul Antony Fernandez, which was published in the 28 January 2013 issue of The Straits Times.
I note that Mr Fernandez had stated that “during 10 days of campaigning, [he] did not see a Malay, Indian or anyone from a minority race among the WP members”.
I also note that Mr Fernandez had stated in his letter that “at the WP’s victory parade yesterday, there was still no one from a minority race among their number”.
However, I note that in the print edition of 28 January 2013 issue of The Straits Times, above the fold on the very first page, there is a photo captioned “MP-elect Lee Li Lian – flanked by WP chief Low Thia Khiang and chairman Sylvia Lim, and joined by other Workers’ Party MPs – waving to Punggol East residents during the party’s thank-you parade around the Punggol East ward yesterday”. Clearly shown in the photograph are MP Pritam Singh and MP Faisal Manap, who are, I repeat, known to be respectively Indian and Malay.
As the allegations made in Mr Fernandez’s letter are very clearly and obviously contradicted by The Straits Times’ own election coverage and photographs, including a photograph displayed on the front page of the same issue in which Mr Fernandez’s letter appeared, one of the following must be true:
(a) MP Pritam Singh and MP Faisal Manap are not Indian or Malay, but are secretly actually Chinese;
(b) Mr Fernandez suffers from extreme visual disability but is not himself aware of it; or
(c) The Straits Times editorial board, to serve the interests of its political masters, is attempting to subtly cast aspersions on the Workers’ Party and undermine the peoples’ trust in it.
If (a) is true, I urge The Straits Times to uncover the truth behind this matter using that fearless investigative journalism for which The Straits Times is so famed.
If (b) is true, I urge The Straits Times to organize a charity drive to raise funds for the purchase of visual aids for poor, poor Mr Fernandez, who is blind and doesn’t even know it.
If (c) is true… well, it cannot possibly be true, since everyone knows that The Straits Times is impeccably ethical and thorough in its reporting, contributing substantially to Singapore’s high ranking of 135 out of 179 in the Press Freedom Index 2011/2012 rankings –http://en.rsf.org/press-freedom-index-2011-2012,1043.html (I’m assuming higher is better – kindly enlighten me if I’m mistaken). As such, I mention the possibility of (c) solely as idle speculation.
As (a) is a very serious allegation, (b) is a grave humanitarian concern, and (c) is something I raise solely as a thought experiment, I would be deeply appreciative if The Straits Times were to provide a response on the issues and concerns raised above in a swift and expedient manner. Thank you very much.