By Jentrified Citizen
Much has been said by the PAP candidates about honesty, integrity and character in the heat of elections campaigning. PM Lee Hsien Loong has also declared: “If good men can’t get elected…then we have a problem.” I agree. But are the PAP leaders really good men and women with integrity and good character?
Before I go on, let me state that I believe that many of the PAP MPs are decent people in their personal lives. However, they appear to have shelved their conscience when it comes to their political roles. By partaking in the wrongdoings by the government, they are party to the deceit and this reflects poorly on their character and it shows a lack of integrity.
Is this the sort of people we want to vote for to be our future leaders and role models to our children and youths?
Just today, I saw a posting on Facebook of a note posted on the door of a flat in Tanjong Pagar. It warned the PAP not to knock on their door and it explained that the occupants of that flat “cannot support a party that bullies, intimidates and mud-slings its way into Parliament”. For good measure the writer added “since from back in school, we have never voted for bullies to be prefects”.
Seeing such reactions from Singaporeans gives me hope that people are disturbed by the PAP’s despicable behaviour and that they want to vote in people with integrity to lead our country.
Indeed, voters must go beyond bread and butter issues and examine closely the character and integrity of the PAP which is the dominant party (and other political parties of course) before they decide on who to vote for. This GE, there are many excellent quality candidates in the opposition parties with many hailing from prestigious universities and from professional or corporate backgrounds including lawyers and doctors. What then should the deciding factors be when choosing who to vote for when we have such a wide choice across the parties?
For me, it is integrity and character of the party leaders and the candidates.
For far too long, too many Singaporeans have closed their eyes to the abuse of power by the PAP-dominated government which has run the country with much deception and hypocrisy. I worry that if this continues, our people will become inured to the wrongdoings so much so that even the children and youths may come to believe that PAP’s way of doing things – the ends justify the means – is the right way when it is not.
It is high time that voters, young and old open their eyes and start voting with their conscience in addition to their head for the sake of our people and our future. If the online comments and the letter by the TP GRC resident is anything to go by, it appears that more Singaporeans are voicing their anger over the hypocrisy and double standards of the PAP leaders.
So what has the PAP-Government done to incur the people’s wrath? The list is long as it spans 50 years but let me highlight eight key ones.
- Manipulating and lying about our country’s history
- Abusing power such as through blatant gerrymandering
- Creating and nurturing a culture of fear in the people of the Government
- Conflict of interest and double standards in the application of laws and rules.
- Misusing our state-funded resources notably the People’s Association
- Using outrageously dirty tricks to fix the opposition and vocal critics
- Creating repressive laws to suppress our civil rights and to control the people
- Their total denial of any wrongdoing and shameless hypocrisy
Let’s start with the manipulation of our country’s history. It is one thing to hurl mud at opposition parties and it is another for the PAP to exploit and denigrate our country’s proud history by twisting the historical facts for their political advantage. What kind of First World politicians would do this? Are the PAP leaders truly proud Singaporeans as they claim?
The tragedy of all this propaganda is that many Singaporeans, including well-educated youths, are blindly parroting these completely wrong narratives which is a great insult to our country’s illustrious history and heritage. It is not uncommon to hear intelligent young adults claiming mindlessly that LKY founded and even named our country which they blindly believe was a mere fishing village 50 years ago!
For years now, the PAP has been blasting false propaganda such as telling people that Singapore was nothing but a kampong/fishing village/swamp 50 years ago. By downplaying our history, they aim to reinforce a political narrative that they had transformed our country from nothing to a metropolis.
The fact is 50 years ago, in 1965, Singapore was already pretty developed with a financial centre, busy port, many modern buildings, hotels, good schools, bustling shops and restaurants and a strong civil service. Many of us who are old enough to remember the good old days can attest to this. Yes, we had kampongs and some swamps in parts of our lush tropical forests but to claim the entire country was a fishing village and swampland? Come on, does one call Malaysia a fishing village just because they still have many villages? Of course not!
Our island, by virtue of its excellent geographical location, was already an important and thriving trade hub centuries ago. By the early 1900s, Singapore was a prosperous city, one of the most modern in Southeast Asia, and it had one of the world’s busiest ports.
I urge Singaporeans, new citizens and PRs living here to make an effort to learn about our real history and towatch YouTube videos of Singapore taken in the 1900s. For more information, you can click on this link – a blog post I wrote on why Singapore was not a barren island 50 years ago.
Moving on, let’s look at how this government has abused its power. For starters, why is the Elections Department headed by PM Lee Hsien Loong when there is clearly a conflict of interest? For years now, we have been facing flagrant gerrymandering by the PAP-G which redraws the boundaries of constituencies at every General Elections for its political advantage. Why are places like Holland Road and Orchard under Tanjong Pagar GRC and parts of Serangoon under Marine Parade GRC?
And why are posters with Lee Hsien Loong’s picture placed all over Singapore when it clearly contravenes one of the elections statutes that states candidates can only place their posters within the constituency that they are contesting?
For more examples of double standards and power abuse, let’s look at how the they go to extreme lengths to fix the opposition parties. Almost everyone here knows by now how they have been attacking the Workers’ Party over the ongoing Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council saga.
The PAP-Govt has wasted tax-payers money and used government agencies including the Ministry of National Development to try to bury the WP in their bid to wrest back Aljunied-Hougang GRC. But despite their best efforts at mud-slinging over the past 10 months there has been no proof of corruption.
As a reminder, right after the WP won the Aljunied GRC in the 2011 elections, the government did something shocking. It used the HDB to literally seize 26 plots of land from WP and leased them to the People’s Association instead. This was obviously politically motivated as WP is the elected representatives of these two constituencies and no reason was given by the G for the decision. Subsequently, all community events at these sites had to be approved by the PA instead of WP’s town council and there was another scandal when it was leaked that community event organisers were told not to invite the WP members to their events.
This history of fixing the opposition goes back many decades with the G having sued, bankrupted, jailed and also exiled many of their most vocal opponents and critics. Notable political events where many brave Singaporeans were persecuted by the PAP-government include Operations Cold Store and the Marxist Conspiracy.
Today, the fixing of their critics continues, albeit on a smaller scale. Actions du jour include filing police reports and suing citizens such as Lee Hsien Loong’s lawsuit against blogger Roy. They have also created more laws such as the Protection from Harassment law, a law created supposedly to protect innocent citizens but which ironically has been used by the Government against their critics. The Amos Yee saga was an example of how this law was invoked when 32 supporters of the PAP filed police reports against the boy for his video mocking Lee Kuan Yew. It also showed how the Government can, in its haste to protect its leaders and its party, even persecute a 16-year-old boy by placing him in remand/jail and even in a mental hospital for several weeks.
Such ridiculous persecutions have been reported by the global media and made us a laughing-stock. And it makes Singaporeans wonder if PAP is a Party Against its People.
The PAP-G constantly preaches integrity and good character when they behave like hypocritical tyrants without a conscience. They can attack the WP over the AHPETC matter while downplaying the Auditor General Office (AGO)’s report on financial lapses committed by many government agencies, statutory boards and ministriesevery year.
The most damning finding in July found that 40 per cent of the 115 grassroots organisations it “test-checked” had financial irregularities, including the case of the chairman of the Admiralty Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC) who was involved in approving awards of two contracts to a company in which he had an interest. In addition, he was also found to have approved “his own claims amounting to $114,767.”
The irregularities found by the AGO involving the PA amounted to a princely sum of more than $20 million. And this was based not on a thorough audit of all the grassroots organisations but on only 40%.
The G declared that the PA’s investigation (ownself check ownself?) of the Admiralty CCC chairman found “no evidence of dishonesty”. This was followed by the PA’s Deputy Chairman Lim Swee Say (also Manpower Minister) declaring that most of the lapses arose“out of good intentions” and not dishonesty.
Now if only the G could be as understanding with the Workers Party which faced daunting obstacles when they took over the running of the AHPETC – 26 sites were seized; the entire computer system in the town council was removed and sold to AIM a $2-company owned by PAP members; and not a single company dared to tender for the job of Managing Agent of the estate (likely out of fear of upsetting the mighty PAP-G).
Finally, how ethical can these PAP leaders be when they blatantly misuse the People’s Association network and state-funded resources to promote their party and their MPs? The entire grassroots network from the CCs to the RCs has been compromised to be partisan. It is a fact that numerous grassroots leaders have benefited from supporting the PAP such as gaining priority for their kids at schools and even getting to reserve the best units in unlaunched HDB projects.
I could go on and on about their litany of sins against Singapore and Singaporeans but that would make for unwieldy reading. For those interested to know more, click this link to read about their boundless hypocrisy, tabhere to read about the AGO report on the G’s financial lapses, and click here for an example of repressive laws introduced to control alternative online news sites and its critics. You may also be interested to read how the PAP-G often does not walk the talk when it comes to practising meritocracy.
Despite growing condemnation of their unethical behaviour it is disturbing that the PAP leaders are impervious to the people’s laments. If anything, they are becoming more militant and defiant in their response. Do they truly believe the ends justify the means? Is economic success all that matters? Is no price too high to pay to retain their power even if it means denying their conscience? If they truly do believe this, they are taking us down the road, not to paradise, but to hell.
Fellow Singaporeans, you have a choice to sit back and let them to do so or take action to change the direction in which we are headed.
Come 11 September, let it be the dawn of a fresh new beginning. Vote wisely. Vote with your conscience. Vote for a government that has both competence and integrity.
“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it” – Albert Einstein
This article was first published on Jentrified Citizen’s blog.