By Leong Sze Hian
Mr Tan Cheng Bock, a candidate in the Presidential Election 2011, former member of Singapore’s governing People’s Action Party and a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 2006 posted on his facebook page on 7th February saying that he was being uninvited to the Chinese New Year Instana Party 2014.
In his post, he said that he was informed by Mr Lim Swee Say, deputy chairman of People’s Association (PA), MP in the GRC’s Bedok ward, as well as minister in the Prime Minister’s office that the invitation sent to him was an error.
Straits Times reported the incident with an article, entitled “PA withdraws Istana party invite to Tan Cheng Bock”.
It states in the article that Mr Lim have made a statement in response to Mr Tan’s facebook status, saying that it is most unfortunate that PA made the mistake of using the old list instead of the updated list. This year, instead of inviting all former grassroots advisers repeatedly for 10, 30 years or more, the PA decided to limit the guest list to only those who retired in the 2011 election.
The paper further quoted Mr Lim saying: “We are sorry for the error, and this is why I phoned Dr Tan and the other affected invitees personally to explain the mistake, and followed up with personal e-mail to apologise again.”
It is noted that PA can not be reached for the names of others who were wrongly invited.
Former MPs who are being invited are people such as Mr Andy Gan, who served one term as MP till 2006, Mr Othman Haron Ensofe who served from 1988 to 2006, and Dr S Vasoo, who retired in 2001 but continues as a second adviser to Teck Ghee grassroots. However former MPs like Mr Loh Meng See, who retired in 2006, was not invited.
Therefore the most asked question today for Singaporeans may be, “Who else was “wrongly” invited? How many “wrongly invited” did the Minister personally call to apologise?
We await with anticipation the PA’s response.
If you look closely at the former grassroots advisers whom the Straits Times quoted in the subject article, clearly some of those invited who are invited do not meet the criteria in the Minister’s explanation. “the PA limited the guest list to only those who retired in the 2011 election”.
So, perhaps like the Chinese proverb – “牛头不对马嘴” （the bull’s head don’t match the horses’ mouth）?