Why Murali can still be in Parliament – even if he loses in Bukit Batok

Cartoon from Ryan Keith Smith Facebook
Cartoon from Ryan Keith Smith Facebook

The by-election will come to an end soon, and residents of Bukit Batok will have to decide who they will vote for.

Here is my two cents’ worth, to try and explain why you need not vote for the PAP candidate, Murali Pillai.

Murali is, from some accounts, a decent chap.

While he had lost control of his own campaign – allowing his party leaders to hijack and and turn it into a mudslinging one – he tried to distance himself from his foulmouthed seniors.

But being nice does not cut it.

There are already 81 other PAP MPs firmly ensconced in Parliament presently. Murali has to stand out, be different, if he is to bring any value to the table. As far as I can see, I do not see anything special from the man.

He is just another run-of-the-mill PAP MP, promising the same old stale carrots.

If he were regarded as anything or anyone special, he would have been sheltered under the skirts of senior ministers in the general election last year, and handheld into Parliament.

But he was not – which speaks to the value his own party sees in him.

Instead, he was hurriedly put together to be part of a motley crew for the contest in Aljunied GRC, a suicide squad, so-called because its members were so unspectacular that they were not expected to win.

And for the PAP to not expect to win is quite something.

So, Murali is nothing special.

He will not make a difference in Parliament.

He will only make up the numbers there.

But he will be or can be rewarded by his party with a parliamentary seat nonetheless, even if he loses in the by-election in Bukit Batok.

Here is how:

Come next GE, the PAP can parachute him into a GRC and get him into Parliament – as some reward for volunteering (?) to fight it out in Bukit Batok.

There have been past examples of such PAP candidates – they lost in elections, and later helicoptered into safe GRCs, served one term and then disappeared from the scene after that.

Murali’s chances of being fielded in a GRC in the next GE is also quite high.

Besides the bragging rights which this by-election gives him among his PAP peers, he would also be the frontrunner for one of the candidacy vacancies for the PAP.

The PAP renews about 20 to 25 candidates each election. So there are many vacancies for Murali.

His resume, I am certain, will be positively looked on by his party elders.

Past examples of those who lost in elections (whether by-elections or general elections), and who were later dropped into safe GRCs to waltz into Parliament tagging along the hems of senior ministers include:

Andy Gan – lost in Potong Pasir and later casavac-ed into Marine Parade GRC under the dress of Goh Chok Tong. Became MP, served one term and disappeared from the scene.

Kenneth Chen – contested in Potong Pasir and lost, but became MP later when he was helicoptered into Hong Kah GRC.

Heng Chee How – lost to Low Thia Khiang in Hougang, but became MP when he was evacuated into the Jalan Besar GRC the next election.

Mah Bow Tan – lost to Mr Chiam in Potong Pasir but became MP when he was later transferred to Tampines GRC under the skirts of female minster of state Aline Wong.

Koh Poh Koon – lost in Punggol East and later became MP when he was moved to Ang Mo Kio GRC, despite claiming to be “a son of Punggol”, hanging onto the coattails of Lee Hsien Loong himself.

Desmond Choo – lost in Hougang, but still became MP when he was transferred to Tampines GRC.

Ong Ye Kung – lost in Aljunied GRC, but became MP (and minister) after being transferred to Sembawang GRC.

So, there you are.

All of these PAP candidates were first rejected by the people but still ended up in Parliament eventually, through the GRC system.

3 of them even became ministers later.

So, Mr Murali has no fear. PAP’s history is on his side – if he loses, his chances of getting into Parliament are not diminished.

In fact, they may be increased manifold as his party looks to reward his effort for fighting a brave fight in a by-election.

There is absolutely no reason why the PAP leadership will not still field Murali as part of a safe GRC team come the next general election, and get him into Parliament.

To recap:

  1. There will be ample vacancies for Murali as the PAP renews 20-25 candidacies each election
  2. PAP’s own history shows that losers among them are not losers, for they can easily be moved to another constituency and sheltered into Parliament under the umbrella of more senior members

So, residents of Bukit Batok, confidently vote for Dr Chee.

Murali will also be in Parliament, eventually.

And in any case, Murali says he will only be a part-time MP.

Chee, instead, will serve you full-time.

It really is a no-brainer who you should vote for.

*And if the PAP doesn’t parachute Murali into a GRC next GE, you’d know his party doesn’t feel he is really that good anyway.

So ya. Vote wisely.

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