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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. Read More…

Murali loses control of own campaign; distances himself from party leaders’ gutter politics

TODAY

TODAY

The backlash against the People’s Action Party (PAP) leaders’ personal attacks against Dr Chee Soon Juan has been swift and shrill.

In fact, the negative reaction has been so stunning that even its own candidate, Murali Pillai, has “attempted to distance himself from the war of words in which his party seniors are engaged in with the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

It is also a sign that Mr Murali himself, an experienced lawyer with a top law firm here, has lost control of his own election campaign in Bukit Batok – and how his campaign would become a sham if the vileness of his leaders’ character assassination methods continued.

It seems there are two sides to Mr Murali’s campaign: one, DPM Tharman pledging to fight a clean campaign; and two, an unclean campaign being waged against the SDP by his party leaders.

Did ministers like Grace Fu and Halimah Yacob and the secretary general himself not receive the memo from Mr Tharman about keeping it clean?

Or are Tharman’s words worthless?

Whatever it is, the PAP candidate himself apparently finds the character assasination such a vile thing that he has attempted to distance himself from it.

‘According to the TODAY newspaper on Sunday:

“Asked about the SDP’s rebuttal that the ruling party was engaging in “character assassination”, Mr Murali said he would like to focus on his own agenda.”

Mr Murali, wisely, side-stepped the issue completely, perhaps knowing that getting drawn into it will only lower himself to the pits of mediocrity, and raise further questions about the control he has over his own campaign. Read More…

Disgraceful, Grace Fu

disgrace2

So, as I had expected, it didn’t take long for the PAP to resort to below-the-belt attacks on Dr Chee Soon Juan – again.

Just a day after Nomination Day, at her party’s first rally for the Bukit Batok by-election, the Minister of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Grace Fu, apparently launched an ad hominem volley at the SDP secretary general.

“He wants to be a full-time MP,” Ms Fu said, referring to Dr Chee. “As far as I know he’s not held a full-time job for a long time… The work experience is essential. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a referral letter from Chiam See Tong.”

First, it is a rather uncultured remark from a minister of culture. Yes, ironic.

Second, Ms Fu’s remarks would actually bring the same question to her colleagues, many of whom are helicoptered into ministries and GLCs and associations without any thread of relevant experience.

Lee Bee Wah in the table tennis association, for example.

Tin Pei Ling as some adviser in a football club.

And what about the many ministers over the years – perhaps including Grace Fu herself – who were sheltered into the ministries without any relevant experience.

Vivian Balakrishnan, an eye doctor, for example. Read More…

Murali’s unnecessary spending

TODAY, 8 September 2016

TODAY, 8 September 2016

The PAP candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election has promised a S$1.9m estate upgrading plan which will be implemented if he is elected as its Member of Parliament.

Before we readily applaud this, let us go back about 7 months – to September 2015, in the heat of the general election.

The former incumbent MP of the ward, David Ong – who has since resigned his position after some personal indiscretions – had promised a 5-year plan for Bukit Batok.

The plans would cost S$24 million.

According to news reports of his rally speech then, Mr Ong announced that this would include remaking the market in the estate and its surrounding areas, improving the shops in the ward, constructing a new hawker centre, as well as a new eldercare centre and two new early childhood education centres. Read More…

The HDB and the URA should clarify or rebut what Murali claims

Straits Times, 25 April 2016

Straits Times, 25 April 2016

On 25 April, the news reported an exhibition by the Jurong-Clementi Town Council held in Bukit Batok, the single-member constituency which will see a by-election come 7 May.

The exhibition presented infrastructural upgrading plans under the Housing and Development Board (HDB)’s Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) for the SMC.

The People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate for the upcoming by-election, Murali Pillai, told reporters that the upgrading plans were “a plan by the PAP Jurong-Clementi Town Council.”

Accordingly, says Murali, he and his town council “will have the mandate to carry on only if we are returned at the by-election.”

“If we don’t have the mandate, then we won’t have the ability to carry on because we will not form the town council,” he explained. “That’s the rule.”

Singaporeans are familiar with the argument, rolled out by the PAP during elections, of how they must be elected first in order for such estate improvement plans to be carried out. Read More…

Involvement of grassroots, civic and business organisations in politics – a cause for concern?

Straits Times, 2013

Letter to Straits Times, 2013, by Mr Ho Ka Wei, director of Corporate Communications, MCCY

The 5th election in 6 years will take place in Bukit Batok on 7 May 2016 – and it looks like it is not going to be a fair fight between the candidate from the People’s Action Party (PAP), Murali Pillai, and Dr Chee Soon Juan of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).

Well, fair fights in Singapore’s elections (whether general, presidential, or by-elections) are rare, given how the ruling PAP controls all aspects of the propaganda machine – especially the mainstream news media. While Nomination Day is still a few days away, you see the news being quite fair for the moment, but as is always the case in Singapore, once the election proper kicks in, all sense of fairplay goes out the window.

The PAP’s candidate, no matter who he or she is, will always be given the better part of the (positive) coverage by the media here. Read More…

Wei Ling vs Straits Times – the one unanswered question

Lee Kuan Yew would "cringe" at the "hero worship"

Lee Kuan Yew would “cringe” at the “hero worship”

Just a quick note.

In the ongoing saga triggered by a Facebook post from Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter, Lee Wei Ling, the Straits Times editor has responded to charges by Ms Lee that “three successive editors who had worked with her on her past columns were all ‘commanded to edit certain issues out’.”

“This is altogether unfounded,” the Straits Times’ editor, Warren Fernandez, wrote in a note in the paper on Tuesday, 5 April.

As one noted online, it is strange for the editor to write such a note when the paper itself had avoided reporting on the spat, triggered by Ms Lee’s post, between her and the Chief of Government Communications, Janadas Devan.

Ms Lee had accused the paper of wanting to edit out her articles in her column, which she had been writing for for some years.  Read More…

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