I found a comment which is a follow up on Tan Kin Lian’s article Loss of Foreign Minister, which appears to give us an insight to what happened that caused Aljunied GRC to fall.
If what the writer claims is true (ie he has been working on the ground with the WP), this gives us an opportunity to see what were the goings on of WP’s plan, which was not seen by the public before.
Here is his comment.
I happened to be one of those who’re familiar with WP Hougang and Aljunied groundworks and feedback. The decision to contest Aljunied was a foregone conclusion, it was just a matter of who joined Sylvia there. The boundary map was so drawn that Hougang is an island within Aljunied that incorporates about a third of old dismantled Cheng San. Hence PAP made Aljunied a must-contest for WP and believed George Yeo popular enough to defend it. However LHL compromised laymen perception of his foreign affairs competency by having LKY and GCT handling almost all the heavyweight foreign affair issues. As for grassroot groundworks and popularity of WP in Aljunied, PAP complacently forgot that Hougang is in Aljunied containing a huge chunk of Cheng San. The gerrymandering backfired this time. The LTK effect wouldn’t have been of this magnitude in another GRC where he’s not so well known. In any case, it was LKY himself who challenged LTK that if he’s a good leader, stop hiding in SMC, come out and contest GRC. And it was also LKY himself who pre-declared that by-election shall be held to save any minister lost.
Very interesting insight. For those who can’t recall, Cheng San was contested by the WP, headed by Tang Liang Hong in 1997. Tang Liang Hong was smeared by PAP as a Chinese Chauvinist. His team was the highest scoring losing team.
I agree that George Yeo’s position was highly compromised as foreign minister. One of the most difficult issues we had and still have is our relations with Indonesia.
We harbour Indonesian criminals which Indonesia wants extradited, as well as billions of ill-gotten funds that rightfully belongs to them. An extradition treaty that was to be signed between Indonesia and ourselves have been shelved and that is causing a lot of strained ties. I have discussed that in detail here – Our Bad Foreign Relations with Indonesia
It looks like WP had weighed carefully the options they had and decided to go for a calculated gamble. It paid off.
Authored by Jafri Basron
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