Can the Straits Times (ST) honestly say that it stands neutral in the present hustings? Everyone knows that it is under the tight control and direction of the Singapore Press Holdings helmed by a former PAP deputy prime minister who is in reality the government spin doctor and the ST can best be described as a propaganda broadsheet of the PAP. Anyone with any article critical of the government or its leaders aspiring to find printing of it in the ST will invariably come up against a wall of courteous denial, as the famous author Catherine Lim experienced recently when she sent a satirical letter about the comical Minister Mentor to the ST for airing in its Forum.
Let's examine the implication of the ST editorial :GE 2011. What do voters really want? What does it try to imply by saying that the voter cannot vote for the opposition with the assurance that PAP will be returned to power in any case? It is a given that, with the present political state, the PAP will be returned to power but perhaps with a reduced majority. Is not the ST calling on the voters not to vote the opposition? It shows the ST is treading on questionable ground as a national newspaper supposedly dedicated to an objective presentation of news to the public. A blind man can easily discern that this is hardly objective by no stretch of imagination,
Next the editor cannot resist the temptation of touching on the hotly contested Aljunied GRC which is being closely watched by not only the public and voters but also the PAP leaders as well as the opposition. To expect the editor to present an objective and impartial view of the electoral fray in Aljunied GRC may be somewhat unrealistic. He insinuated that a Workers' Party (WP) victory will not be cost-free. The so-called exquisite quality of the PAP team is given great play, especially the team leader Foreign Minister George Yeo. He is being put in the same distinguished category of the late Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam. The editor asked if Singapore would have been better off if Mr. S. Rajaratnam, Singapore's first Foreign Minister, had been defeated in the 1963 GE as he almost was. The answer is given as an obvious no.
The editor further asked if voters want a strong opposition badly enough to boot out of office so many able people. Can they vote against Rajaratnam, he asked? Even a blind man can see where the ST editor's tendentious arguments are leading to. Firstly it is invidious to compare George Yeo with the late S. Rajaratnam and secondly it is sacrilege to invoke the late Foreign Minister's name in such circumstances. Comparison of merits between George Yeo and the late S. Rajaratnam is at best subjective.
ST is never a neutral newspaper and its tendentious deprecation of the Workers' Party is a natural progression of its heinous design. The electoral battle in Aljunied GRC has begun and it is best for newspapers not to take sides, leaving it to the contesting parties to convince the voters respectively and win their votes.