The Future of Singapore in the Battle of Aljunied

That the world’s oldest political bully has repeatedly stepped out to threaten voters in Aljunied GRC when he is not even contesting there is an excellent reminder for residents there that their vote is important for Singapore as a whole. One of the key factors in deciding Singapore’s future after the Great 2011 War for Singapore lies in the Battle of Aljunied.

If the opposition loses in Aljunied but wins a few other GRCs (a rather unlikely scenario if Aljunied is the area where the opposition has the most supporters), it would not matter at all. But the actual stakes are heavier. There’s the possibility that if the opposition loses in Aljunied, Singaporeans might end up with a grand total of zero opposition MPs. The PAP will have a free reign in deciding the future of Singapore without any sort of a fight at all. When the PAP’s policies cause the people’s sufferings to deepen while their MPs and ministers smugly and slappably (a neologism that simply means “in a way that annoys people”) tell us how our lives and standard of living have improved, Aljunied residents, and Singaporeans all around the island, will truly regret voting for the PAP. And they might not have any chance to repent and make amends 5 years down the road.

The PAP is worried about losing Aljunied, not because it gives a damn about Aljunied itself. It is just another GRC. But if it loses one or more GRCs, it will, in PM Lee’s words in 2006, have a headache in “fixing the opposition”—particularly if they are careful to avoid defamation suits in their every move.

Aljunied residents and all Singaporeans should examine Kuan Yew’s words about Aljunied carefully. It should come as a crushing disappointment to all but the blindest and stupidest of PAP supporters. He first tells us Aljunied will “pay a price, the hard way” if the Workers’ Party wins. That already sounds like a warning, but we can all give him the benefit of doubt and take him to mean that the Workers Party would not manage Aljunied well. But when he goes on the offensive, we see how politically bankrupt the PAP is. Kuan Yew tells us with no ambiguity:

We accept the verdict of the people, but they must also accept the consequences of their actions. You must expect the PAP to look after PAP constituencies first.

He is telling all Singaporeans that Aljunied residents will have “five years to live and repent” voting for the Workers’ Party not because of any demerits of the party, but simply because his party, the eminent and all-powerful PAP, is going to sideline them, predictably when it comes to upgrading, though he does not mention it directly.

Kuan Yew’s unambiguous projection is also where his excessive eagerness to scare voters into voting for the PAP could backfire. Not only is he failing to articulate why the Workers’ Party will manage Aljunied badly (perhaps because he can’t find a good reason to say so), he is telling us all that the government—assuming that the PAP will continue to be the dominant party—will sideline non-PAP constituencies under the pretext that the PAP will take care of PAP constituencies first. This is pure rubbish. The PAP can take care of the PAP constituencies in any way it wants if its using its own money. So if upgrading for PAP wards comes from the pockets of Kuan Yew, his son, and all the million-dollar PAP ministers, no one should have an issue with it. But when the PAP is not acting in its own capacity, but in the capacity of the government using taxpayers money collected from all taxpayers including those in opposition wards, there is absolutely no excuse to defer the upgrading of non-PAP constituencies. Whether an area gets priority in upgrading should depend on an objective assessment of its needs, not on whether they have voted for the PAP.

Kuan Yew is telling us that he will let elderly people his age climb stairs instead of giving them lift upgrading if they happen to live in an opposition ward. (To those who have said that a gay MP will only take care of the gay community, see what I mean? Do you think this elderly MP is going to care if some old grandmother out there cries her heart out every day having to torture her arthritic knees with the stairs?) Singaporeans must send a strong signal to the PAP that they will not tolerate such unfair practices anymore. And the only signal that is strong enough is to have an unprecedented number of opposition MPs. Not a weaker winning percentage for the PAP. We already sent that signal in 2006 and what has happened since then?

All Singaporeans who can vote and care enough for Singapore and their fellow Singaporeans must vote to have diverse voices in the Parliament.

If you are thinking perhaps I will vote for the PAP just this once more, and vote against them in the next election if they don’t do a good job, think again. Your vote may not count as much, percentage wise, in the next election as there may be more pro-PAP voters by then. If candidates can be imported, so can voters. You may not even have a chance to vote. The opposition may be totally fixed by 2016. Do you have till 2016? Does everyone else have till 2016? I trust that you do not want to condemn the 16-year-old boy you see now to a future of eternal PAP hegemony and deprive him of a chance to vote in 2016. I trust that you do not want Singaporeans to be squeezed drier than ever under the PAP.

If Singaporeans do not make a wise choice on May 7, they may never have their voices heard in the Parliament again unless their voices happens to coincide with the PAP’s voice, which is entirely independent of Singaporean voices.

Do you want to live in a decent place that the PAP calls a slum, or do you want to live like a slumdog in a country that the PAP calls first-world?


16 Responses

  1. Policy makers still don’t get it. People are not looking for lives to be improved only after GE. They WERE looking for lives to improved the last 5 years. GE is the time for the assessment on what happened the last 5 years, to be communicated.

  2. I’m a resident of Aljunied GRC.

    Not to worry, there will be 4 out of 4 votes for the opposition in my household. We are all so fed up with the morally corrupted PAP. We do not condone the way funds are distributed along partisan lines: e.g. upgrading, PCF funding, CC reserved for PAP grassroots only etc.

    It’s now or never. If Singaporeans can’t turn the tide together in this election, we will be emigrating and abandoning this hopeless place. Kekeke…

    • I hope there are more households like yours.

      Out of interest, I’m wondering if you voted for the PAP in the last Election. If so, it might be an indication that there are voters who have changed their preference.

  3. The more interesting thing about LKY’s utterance is that he directly contradicted George Yeo, who explicitly said that Aljunied would still get upgrades if the WP won. This is poor image management on the part of the PAP. It also makes me wonder what could be going through the minds of people who think LKY’s threat is genuine. Do they think ‘LKY is more senior than George Yeo, so the threat will probably be carried out’? If so, doesn’t that mean that Yeo isn’t effectively representing his constituency’s interests, but just a follower of national directives?

    • Nah, this is just proof that there’s no groupthink in the PAP!

      Anyway, it’s not a contradiction lah. They have been telling us since the 2006 GE was over that everyone would get upgrading. But the difference is when. 🙂

  4. To slightly change you need more than 1/3 opposition MPs in the parliament to block automatic passing of any bill or law proposed by PAP. It is however not possible to create change to the existing bill or law, like the rubbish GRC system and ministers’ pay, etc because opposition is not the majority in parliament. To really change, opposition needs at least 2/3 seats in parliament. This is highly unlikely given Singaporean’s daft and selfishness. So, after 7 May the outcome can be 87:0 clean sweep by PAP (high probability) or 82:5 PAP wins (medium probability), or 77:10 (low probability). You see, GE2011 will likely have change nothing. This is the beauty of PAP’s strategy in GRC and making the people daft and ignorant on politics.

    • The less likely change is, the more those of us who desire change have to do all we can to fight for it.

      If it so happens that we end up with 0 opposition after May 7, I can at least say that I have tried my best. And I will retain my right to whine, complain, and bitch about the PAP because I have tried. Whereas for those who vote for PAP and complain about them afterwards, I can only say, “See what I told you?”

    • I am looking at 28 seats after 7 May.

      SMCs: Potong Pasir, Hougang, Joo Chiat & Mounbatten.

      GRCs: Aljunied (5), Bishan-Toa Payoh (5), Holland-Bukit Timah (4) Choa Chu Kang (5) & Tampines (5).

  5. don’t hate me for this but the WP may not be all that good either.

    HUDC residents in hougang can’t have their property privatised because Low Thia Kiang hasn’t solved the sinking funds issue. it has been months. is he being accountable? do you want a guy who can’t manage his accounts to win a grc with 5 divisions?

    where’s the transparency?

    • I don’t think the WP is “that good” (though everyone has a different standard of what “that good” is), but it is certainly preferable to me to the PAP any day. Even if Low Thia Khiang literally turns into a piece of shit, I will still vote for the piece of shit over George Yeo. Over Lee Kuan Yew. Over Lee Hsien Loong. Over any PAP candidate. Because there is nothing worse to me than what the PAP stands for. This is not blind support though. It is a very rational move to send a message to the PAP, knowing very well that they are probably going to be the ruling party again after May 7.

      With regard to the issue you have pointed out, I do not know if it is because Low Thia Khiang is unable to manage his accounts. Perhaps the issue is more complex than whether Low Thia Khiang can manage his accounts or not. Even after looking at the issue, I will still vote for Low Thia Khiang and his team if I were an Aljunied resident, and I do trust that managing the accounts is a small matter. An accountant can do the job. But I will vote for him because of what he and his party stands for—which is, if nothing else, a voice against the PAP.

      This is not to say that in the event that the WP becomes the ruling party, I will condone any sort of poor performance. But I hope that if that ever happens, Singapore will be truly democratic and we can hold the party accountable. Right now, no one is really able to hold the PAP accountable.

  6. Ms molly, I am curious why the people are worried about whether they can get upgrading. The opposition contesting in aljunied has stated that they will ensure cheaper public housing pegged to the median income. The PAP has also countered that this would be raiding Singapore’s reserves. Wouldn’t this mean that the opposition is offering something even better than upgrading?

    Other opposition parties such as the SDP, is offering a SGD60 Billion rejuvenation plan. This is something much more than the Jobs Credit Scheme, Workfare, SPURS, CPF top-up scheme or even Grow and Share packages (even if one was to add up all of it!)

    That kind of money is available to us, should we vote in the opposition! Compared with the little carrot (upgrading), the opposition is giving us the pig farm.

    I reckon the choice is clear, vote in 82:5 and enjoy the benefits. I believe it is better that we have a chance to spend that money on ourselves than to have to see it wasted. After all, the PAP has a good track record for accumulating reserves, when we run our reserves dry, we know who to look for.


    • I don’t think we’d ever need to look for the PAP again if we have 82 opposition: 5 PAP. They are not going to raid the reserves.

      On the other hand, beyond economics, after having a government that does not oppress the people and restrict their basic freedoms, people might not want to regress.


    Zainal Abidin’s only claim to fame in last 5 years is that somehow he may be the next Speaker in Parliament.

    We oso got Lim Hwee Hwa who’s report card (Public Transport) deserves an F.

    And we have a newbie from the “trade union” which in Singapore, doesn’t quite carry the same stick.

    And of course, we have Denise Phua who threatened to make Aljunied residents pay if their PUBLIC areas (accessible by anyone and everyone, not to mention some foreign imports with a less than civic sense) is dirtier, despite making a surplus from conservancy charges that could have DOUBLED their cleaning budget.

    If that’s not enough, they have an additional sinking fund of 90M!!

    Where’s the shame, Denise?

  8. PAP always gloats: we always get a strong mandate. Although we whack you all the time, you keep voting for us, so you ask for it, the mandate is given by you is what is implied. So, Singaporeans don’t be stupid and get whacked and whacked again. We must be the world’s greatest fools then. Can you stand another 5 years of bullying from an authoritarian government?

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