In the aftermath of Heng Swee Keat’s rather unintelligible speech about the Peoples’ Action Party’s (PAP) “East Coast Plan”, a few notable memes have been created. More significantly though, it does highlight the potential weaknesses of the PAP.
Heng is not just any random member of the PAP. He is a very senior member of the party and one touted to be the future Prime Minister of Singapore. With this in mind and in view of his speech faux pas, one has to ask if he is up for the job?
One might argue that he may have been stressed but in the running of a country, don’t we need a helmsman that is more able to weather the pressure?
Why did Heng switch constituencies from Tampines Group Representative Constituency (GRC) to East Coast GRC anyway?
Apparently it was to fill a gap left by the retirements of Lim Swee Say and Lee Yi Shyan in East Coast GRC. Does PAP think it will win in Tampines GRC now that Mr Heng who has been a longstanding member of parliament (MP) for Tampines has left? Does it mean that the PAP are more confident about their chances in Tampines GRC than at East Coast GRC?
In Tampines GRC, the PAP will be challenged by a team from the National Solidarity Party (NSP), comprising Reno Fong, Mohd Ridzwan Bin Mohammad, Yeo Ren-Yuan, Choong Hon Heng and Vincent Ng. Should they count their chickens before they hatch?
Now that Heng has switched GRCs, does his performance bode well for the PAP winning East Coast GRC? This reactionary strategy may see the PAP lose both GRCs (including its successor designate) instead of holding on too them both. Is this a party so desperate to block opposition seats that it is willing to recklessly throw all caution to the wind? Is this the type of party we want to have a super majority in Parliament?
More importantly, is Heng the right man to lead the PAP and in future, the nation? Are there other politicians within the PAP that should be taking prime position?
An example of a popular PAP politician is Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Does he have a better chance to be a successful prime minister? Yet it is the very man who bombed in his East Coast speech that is the successor designate. It is also Heng who declared (without showing any empirical data) that Singapore was not ready for a non Chinese Prime Minister.
Do voters have to vote him out in order to pave the way for Shanmugaratnam to be the prime minister in waiting? It might well be the only way for the public to have a government led by a PAP politician with a strong public following.
By contrast East Coast GRC will not lose out even if the PAP do not win. East Coast GRC is being contested by a strong team from the Workers’ Party, (WP) made up of Nicole Seah, Kenneth Foo, Dylan Ng, Terence Tan and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim. The WP have now got both GRC and SMC experience and will have the requisite expertise to run East Coast GRC.