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Pork barrel politics and the PAP morbid fear of losing

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Some ministers from the PM down have been promising lots of ‘gifts’ to court their voters in the wake of the announcement that 11 September 2015 is polling day.

They promised their respective ward’s residents big ticket fancy items such as swimming pool, mall, parks, etc, as though these ‘presents’ were theirs to give from their own pockets, when in fact it is going to come out of the pockets of Singaporeans, like you and I. Gone were the days of ‘priority’ Lift Upgrading programmes (LUPs) very simply because these carrots are no longer available for the PAP to exploit, as the LUPs have run its course, and there are no more LUP carrots to dangle to the HDB residents. It bears noting that WP-run Hougang NEVER had to resort to such tactics to win votes.

I have a couple of observations about this:

It seems that it is mostly the ministers, including the PM, who are dangling these pork barrel carrots. I suspect that this time round the ministers themselves, including LHL, seem to be feeling rather shaky about their own prospects of retaining their own seats in the light of minister George Yeo’s precedent setting loss of Aljunied GRC in GE2011 to the WP (and together with him went another minister and a potential high office appointee), and Transport minister Lui Tuck Yew most recent ‘unforced’ decision not to contest in GE2015, and his completely unexpected and unexplained decision to leave politics altogether.

Indeed, PM Lee’s ‘vote’ of no-confidence in Lui Tuck Yew’s ability to defend his Kallang-Moulmein GRC has apparently seen him ordering the electoral boundary committee, chaired by his own secretary, to have Lui’s GRC carved up and gerrymandered out of existence in GE2015. 

Yet another sign of a loss of confidence of the PAP is the ferocious manner it is attacking the WP over a municipal issue (AHPETC) that is well on its way to being resolved by the WP (in the words of its leaders), by attempting to make it into an GE issue. It is not a non-issue but certainly neither is it, given the known facts, rationally-speaking, be of such import and proportions as to make it into an GE issue.

So it would seem that the PAP ministers are saying that because in their opinion AHPETC has been found wanting and therefore by their own logic, it is justified to paint ALL opposition parties as incapable or similarly equally wanting in this respect. I just don’t follow, do you? But I do clearly see a strawman argument here in the midst of all the flying feathers and tar that the PAP is trying overtime to stick on the WP. It is a scare tactic that the PAP big wigs are hoping that the voters would bite. I think they would be in for a huge round of disappointment for insulting and grossly underestimating the intelligence of the voters.  It is a spectacle to watch the number of PAP heavyweights (ministers, PM Lee included) weighing in on the AHPETC lapses like it is some CAPITAL crime and that also reminds us of the challenge in parliament by minister Vivian Bala, with his boss lending support fire, over the malodorous Hougang hawker centre cleaning saga, where the ruling party tried very hard to discredit the WP but which eventually sputtered out like a wet squib!

IMO, the AHPETC issue serves a much larger motive in the present GE husting – it is really a ploy to distract voters from LHL’s PAP govt mismanagement of the economy and the country in the medium to long term perspective, to the detriment of Singaporeans. It is a red herring, and we would do well to keep in mind that the AHPETC issue is the direct result of the PAP using AIM (a $2 PAP company) to completely and comprehensively sabotage a proper handing and taking-over of the Aljunied GRC by the WP from the outgoing PAP. Very vindictive. Very petty. ( More details in an earlier post at https://thetwophilo.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-aim-ahpetc-saga-re-visited/ )

AHPETC is being used as a deliberate distraction by the PAP as it is unable to satisfactorily address important issues like the controversial CPF-linked issues of fair returns from investment to CPF members, of retirement and of minimum sum. The PAP would also rather NOT talk about the mother of issue regarding the mass import of cheap foreign labour into the country which has undermined and destabilized virtually every crucial and important aspects of life of Singaporeans, from the fundamental bread and butter issues of depressed wages and worse, being displaced by foreigners in their jobs, the rising cost of living, the sky high ‘affordable’ property prices that require an average Singaporean a life time of work to repay his HDB mortage, the overcrowding of public spaces and the ‘regular’ massive mass rapid transport (MRT) train breakdowns and stoppages, as well as the very controversial year 2030 6.9 million population policy. 

Voters should bear these in mind when they go to the ballot box on 11 September 2015. 


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