Saturday, March 10, 2012

Over My Dead Body

The Prime Minister promised he will call a by-election, but he won't say when. That's nothing really original. Goh Chok Tong once promised to deliver the Swiss Standard of Living, but he also didn't say when.

Replying to Christopher de Souza's question if he is considering calling a by-election in Hougang SMC, PM Lee said he has not yet decided on the timing. In deciding on the timing, he will take into account all relevant factors, including:
  1. the well being of Hougang residents,
  2. the issues on the national agenda,
  3. the international backdrop which affects our prosperity and security,
  4. and whether papa says okay or not.
The last hurdle refers to the explanation given by Lee Kuan Yew (his octogenarian father) when he moved the Constitutional amendment in December 1965:
"[This amendment] revokes a clause (holding a by-election within three months) which was introduced into the State Constitution of Singapore when it entered Malaysia."

Reference was also made to an affidavit in the High Court by Hougang resident Vellama Marie Muthu, 42, seeking (i) a declaration and order that the Prime Minister does not have "unfettered discretion" over whether he has to call for a by-election in Hougang, and (ii) whether a by-election had to be called within three months or within a reasonable time.

While ostensibly declining to talk about matters which are sub judice, he has, inadvertently or otherwise, answered part one. As for part two, we too well what the old man will probably say, "Over my dead body."


  1. In an election there are two objectives for the voter:

    1st, to vote for a party to form a national government. 2nd, to elect an individual to the parliament to represent the people who live in the local constituency. In the FPTP system these two objectives are conflated in one vote. Support for a party is inextricably linked to support for a candidate. This restricts voting freedom, and allows too many MPs to be elected in safe seats.
    In the case of Aljunied, George Yeo & team was defeated because voters were dissatisfied at how PAP has led the govt - there were no better way to demonstrate that than to vote for the strongest WP team that was put up in that area. The voters' motivation was "Govt driven" and the voters won.

    In East Coast GRC, TPL & the team was elected because of the 'safe seats' argument even though she is NOT what the voters wanted. Theunhappiness was high but the Party chose to ignore the voters' calls because the candidate is what the Party wanted. The voters' motivation was "MP driven" but PAP won.

    OTOH, LKY would constantly say the elected MP is held accountable to the voters or he/she can be easily replaced. Therein lies the conflation.

    YSL has been expelled because the Party (he belongs to) decided to be accountable to the voters in good faith. The next logical step then, is for the elected Govt (of the day) to fulfill its duties - i.e. hold a by-election soon for HG voters to elect another MP who will represent them. Only then, can PAP claim that the govt is 'looking after' its welfare fairly and squarely.

    However, PM Lee seem to know that HG voters will vote along MP line (in favor of WP) but is trying to influence them to vote along Party/Govt line. Instead he will buy as much time as he possibly could in the hope that these populist policies such as his "unelected stand in GROs" and his govt been implementing might just get some goodwill overspill into HG to tilt the odds.

    Needless to say - the voters can see through such underhanded chicanery.

    1. Whichever way you look at it, they are in a fix. Trying to delay will do them more harm than good.

      Respect has been lost and will now take much more to earn back. Leaders must be seen to do the honourable. WP has done well to do the honourable.

      Avoiding a by-election and then delaying one is surely not the way to earn respect from the voters.

  2. International security? Huh?!! Buy time say buy time lah..

  3. Me too, Simisal 08:51pm, what international security crap ?

    As Anon 8:39pm mentioned , WP is upholding their moral standard and trust with Hougang SMC. The PM obviously, seem to have no issue with personal mis-deed.

    Well, now ALL Political Parties will have to try, aspire to higher standard of accountability, no ?

    Cannot help, but also note that some PAP MPs will be very disappointed that their interpretation of Our Constitution was not that precise afterall !


    //We are in this situation today it is because WP has caused this to happen, knowing the consequences//

    PAP - we are in this overcrowding of Transport, Foreigners, Hospital crunch, Income Inequality, Education seats, Job losses, HDB prices, social tensions etc etc is because the govt under PAP has caused ALL THESE to happen, NOT knowing the consequences?

    You have paid for 1 GRC in 2011, I hope the electorate will wake up to realize the danger of putting ALL their eggs in ONE freaky basket.

  5. re its the WP's fault tt hougang has no representative: hmmm, is the PM saying that representation is more important than integrity? after all, yaw was sacked on the basis of integrity, and transparency, and accountability.

    if integrity does not matter, that would mean any old person can also be an MP - bankrupts, cheats, liars, the insane, convicts... oh dear.

  6. In other words, we have to pray that the PM wakes up one morning on the right side of the bed, and feeling particularly very benevolent that day to call for a by-election.

    Just spray and pray everyday everybody. The constitution is VERY clear on that.

  7. What international influence exactly does the 24k voters in HG has on our prosperity and security huh? Can somebody enlighten me pls?
    Are they voting for a Putin, Kim Jong Sun or Ahmadinejad as MP?

  8. Well, do people remember that cowardly UK PM Gordon Brown? Same shit, look where he is now.

  9. Remember this fiasco well.

    Teach your children to vote Opposition.
    Lest they also suffer the same fate.

    The struggle for a pro-citizen government will likely continue into our next generation.

    Prepare your children today.

  10. What does the President have to say about it?
    What is the motto of boy scout? "Always prepared"?
    Apparently this PM is not. Need a driver to wake him up.
    Is this another silent President?

  11. Must wait clearance from PaPa then can call for by-election in HG.

  12. The more pm talks, the more narrow minded he sounds! How to take care of the nation this way ?

  13. "A wise person does at once, what a fool does at last. Both do the same thing, only at different times" - Lord Acton (1834 - 1902)

    "Remember Houghang" come 2016!

    1. Anon 09:58am. I love that quote of yours.

      Let me offer my humble suggestion for the PM : announce the By-Election date and let the whole world know that PAP will not be contesting ! That will save face. In fact it may well earn him some much needed respect.

    2. Lye Khuen Way 04:36 PM

      The same Lord Acton says:
      "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

      I think you have often heard this quote before. Anyway the longer they wait, the more credibility they lose. In fact it is to their own interests to quickly call a by-election because by not doing so, they will lose more in 2016. Looking after their own narrow party interests (they have avowed to regain back Hougang), against the broader interests of the citizens, who they are supposed to look after, will surely rebound against them. "Remember Hougang".

  14. The then PM Goh promised a Swiss Standard of Living by the year 2000. That's why I voted for him in that election year 1992, I think.

  15. I saw the PM on TV speaking about this in parliament. He sounded and looked spiteful, like he was cornered into calling for a by-election. He said its up to him when to call for one. He has 50 months before the next GE.

    1. That has always been the case. Even though it is a country and the government is supposed to look after every citizen, we all know if the opposition win a constituent, there will be hardly any upgrading and other additional services at the place. Potong Pasir and Hougang are two glaring examples. So are we not all citizens of Singapore?

  16. My feeling is that the government will dragging its feet on this by-election matter since it is by no means sure they will win this and it does not want the opposition to win too. So they will try to drag on and on and hope people will slowly forget the whole matter.

    Quite Shameful For A Dominant Party To Behave This Way

    1. All this quibling over a three month dateline, or the finer points of the constitution, or whatever they can conjure up, is to buy more time for them to throw more pork barrels around and in particular at the constituency, to sweeten the ground for them before the by-election. It always happens before every general election. This type of behaviour is deeply honed into their psyche; and as pointed out by Catherine Lim, there is little chance of them "re-inventing themselves". Bringing up issues of national agenda, national security and prosperity etc is all spin to confuse and obfuscate.

  17. The problem here is we have too many PAP intelligent MPs/ many of them are truely many of them are critical many of them think and bring forth real many of them are not yes-man and woman...


    How do you gauge a great leader...a real leader...when you see his followers and the actions they take or do...

    I can only state PAP leaders are just so much rubbish...they cause more harm than good...create only good stuff for themselves/their owned...

    It is depressing to see this.

    People put in responsible positions must understand the long view...else they do real harm not only to their loved ones, their children children but others too in that future if they persists with their selfish agenda and greed for greed's sakes.


    1. I think the question to ask whether we have enough MPs who are doing a "full time job" to look after singaporeans. Because in reality you only really have part-time MPs who are doing half-baked jobs. Just look at the parliament debates...they are always 2/3 empty!!
      And everyone almost seem to read from prepared script..and there's little debate and questioning! How to do that when you don't have 100% attendance!! It's a sham..laughable almost.
      I would rather pay for 40 full time MPs with doubled their pay than to have 80+ part time MPs that don't do shit.