Victor Lye Thiam Fatt (Lye), People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for Aljunied Group Representation Constituency in the General Election of 2015 (GE2015)stated in a Facebook post that opposition politicians had a better a deal because while the best opposition losers were given a paid seat in Parliament as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), his team who were the best losers in GE2015 were not. Further, he implied his own excellent dedication to the people by stating that he was not being paid to do community work. In other words, a self clap on the back for still doing community work despite not being paid.
To state that opposition politicians have a better deal shows his complete ignorance at best. Is Lye blind to all the benefits he reaps just by being a PAP candidate? There is no secret that the mainstream media dedicate more air time to the candidates of the ruling party. While campaigning for GE2015, he would have had that advantage. Not to mention the far larger campaigning budget PAP candidates would have had. It just seems quite “sore loser” like to even make that comparison.
The reason why the NCMP concept was introduced in the first instance was in part to create the existence of an alternative voice in government. Instead of creating a more even playing field for contesting elections, the PAP has sought to highlight the “loserness” of the opposition by providing a best loser consolation prize. Lye has also conveniently not mentioned that the NCMPs are paid far less per month in comparison to the salaries doled out to elected MPs (most of whom will be from the PAP).
He has also forgotten that many other non-PAP affiliated volunteers do free community work without publishing their efforts on Facebook. While it is obviously a laudable thing to volunteer your time and I am not knocking the fact that Lye has given up some of his free time, he must not be blind to the fact that he has much to gain by being a member of the PAP. If his volunteer based community groundwork pays off in the next election, he stands to gain influence and a large monthly salary without even quitting his current job. The skeptical among us will surely consider this “free work” as investment and not really completely altruistic.
While I appreciate his acceptance that his banner ought not have covered that of the Workers Party (WP), I do think he should pay more attention to the self praise he has heaped on himself and his team.
While he has given up some of his time, I doubt that his community work expenses are from his own pocket. I am pretty sure that the PAP will ensure that he is reimbursed. So from that perspective, is it really completely accurate to call this work free? I know from experience that many volunteers who are not aligned to a political group do plenty of community work out of not just their own time but also at the expense of their own pocket.
How about the opposition politicians who do community work and are not the best losers? They surely put in the same amount of time as Lye but without the financial support or resources of the PAP.
In short, it is completely not a better deal to be an opposition politician. PAP politicians have every advantage. To try and portray some kind of long suffering and martyrdom image is either disingenuous or shockingly ignorant.