His reputation has been on the wane because of his lacklustre performance as a minister and the Workers' Party AHPETC hawker-centre cleaning row had presented the pompous Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan with the rare opportunity of giving a comical display of pomposity with a so-called eloquent castigation of the Workers' Party (WP) in Parliament. The WP MPs Ms Sylvia Lim and Pritam Singh were apparently caught unprepared for Dr. Balakrishnan's onslaught and did not make a creditable effort in demolishing his accusations. So one can see the smugness on the conceited Dr. Balakrishnan's face as he finished off his pompous speech with what he believed to be a coup de grace.
Dr. Balakrishnan is decidedly aiming to score a political point on the unsuspecting Workers' Party in order to redeem his flagging political fortune in time for GE 2016. He belaboured ad nauseam on the so-called mistake of the WP Property Manager to require hawkers to pay for the cleaning of the hawker centre which in the end remained unproven because documents he produced in Parliament to prove his case remained inconclusive. Ms Sylvia Lim, Chairman of AHPETC, was able to make a robust denial of the allegation. But Dr. Balakrishnan was bent to make a capital out of the saga and summoned up his Dutch courage to make a pompous display of his oratorical skills to support his case which indeed captured the imagination and interest of both those inside and outside of Parliament. He had indeed prided himself of having performed magnificently to dent the reputation of the Workers' Party and score a political point for the PAP. But little does Dr. Balakrishnan realise that his political ranting against the Workers' Party could have the opposite effect of drawing public sympathy for WP. Some would view his so-called oratory as bluster, especially when he ended his speech by calling on the WP secretary-general to investigate further into the hawker-centre cleaning row and branding WP officials as false and untruthful.
Dr. Balakrishnan asserted that the issue was about integrity and clean politics. The WP secretary-general countered quite rightly that it was not a problem of integrity but pure and simple market cleaning. Mr. Low Thia Khiang also brushed off Dr. Balakrishnan's call for him to further investigate the issue. Whether this episode will enhance the political standing of Dr. Balakrishnan in the eyes of the public is open to interpretation. As mentioned earlier, he has not been very impressive in his ministerial performance and is in need of an opportunity to show his talent. He saw the WP AHPETC hawker-centre cleaning row as the opportunity he had been waiting for and he promptly jumped on it. He did not disappoint his political master and can be certain of his candidature in GE 2016 but whether he can convince his electorate to return his GRC team is another matter considering the fluidity of the political situation in GE 2016.