Sunday, December 14, 2014

A PAP Comic Opera

It has been sometime since we had been regaled with a PAP Comic Opera and a comical rookie Minister of State of the Ministry of National Development (MND) has taken upon himself to be the protagonist in the latest comedy to discredit the Workers' Party AHPETC for allegedly mismanaging the Town Council and its funds. MOS Desmond Lee saw this as a golden opportunity to project himself into prominence as an advancement to his political career. So right from the start he pulled no punches in a salvo of denigrations against the AHPETC obviously based on his glaring misconception of the actual situation in the WP Town Council.

MOS Desmond Lee jumped upon the MND annual report card which highlighted the worst scores in the areas of service and conservancy charges (S&CC) arrears and matters of corporate governance of the AHPETC which he saw as a god-send opportunity to condemn the WP Town Council for gross mismanagement with no doubt the main objective of diminishing the reputation and chances of WP at the next GE. But the clownish Desmond Lee had grossly underestimated the adroitness of the WP, especially the competent AHPETC Chairman Sylvia Lim, in convincingly countering his accusations of mismanagement. Ms Lim has adroitly explained why AHPETC was unable to submit the S&CC arrears report in the format demanded by MND and pledged to explain to the public the S&CC arrears in due course. Naturally, a seizable number of the public and netizens saw through the evil design of the devious Desmond Lee and rallied in total support of the WP stand. This was pooh-poohed by the desperate Desmond Lee as a co-ordinated online campaign to distract the public, using falsehoods, half-truths and speculations and proxies of the Workers' Party. This was like a drowning man grasping a last straw.

And so the battle of words continues ad nauseam seemingly without abatement. There was a brief moment when a timorous Minister for Culture, Community & Youth Lawrence Wong showed a fleeting moment of chivalry in coming to the aid of a floundering colleague with some half-baked comments. Lawrence Wong realised his own shortcomings in coming to Desmond Lee's aid, as a consequence he was frightened out of his wits by the fierceness of the fray and vanished from the scene.

The Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan could not have been oblivious to the antics of his MOS Desmond Lee unless he was contented to watch at the sideline the comic opera provided by his MOS. Such comic operas will not likely to endear the voters to the PAP and Minister Khaw  will not be the last person to acknowledge it. The AHPETC Chairman Sylvia Lim has given a pledge that the WP Town Council would explain the S&CC arrears to the public in due course. The implication is that this will have serious repercussions for the WP if it does not fulfill its pledge. The matter of corporate governance is quite another kettle of fish which the WP can ignore at its peril. Therefore Minister Khaw is advised to curb the ebullience of his clownish MOS to desist from making a fool of himself further for the sake of his own political future. He is still a one term politician and with his clownish behaviour it will be a joke if he is ever returned in the next GE.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Will this be PM Lee's swan-song?

There seemed to be plenty of fight in PM Lee Hsien Loong's performance at the PAP 60th anniversary rally on 7 December. Now genuine pundits cannot help feeling that all his vociferous utterances of fictional inspiration to his followers could be a fig-leaf to hide his fear of a backlash to his party's chances at the next election before 2017. He could not be so myopic as not to be able or not wanting to see the winds of change that had swept the Congress Party in India from power and more recently the KMT from the mayoral and local elections in Taiwan. That the PAP will be the next target is not something that is so intangible. PM Lee can ignore the lessons of the PAP debacle in Aljunied GRC and Punggol East SMC at his peril.

Quite understandably there is now a feeling of euphoria among dreamy PAP leaders and their equally dreamy adherents which has unwittingly lulled them into a false sense of security. They think that now they have the electorate eating out of their hands with their ostensibly humanitarian handouts like the Pioneer Generation Package and the Medishield Life assistance.The irony is that many, especially those of the lower rank of society, are still wondering what the schemes are about and how they could benefit them.The fact is that the rot of discontent has gone too deep, especially among the poor, for any pathetic half-hearted effort to remedy the situation. They dream that the ground is idyllic in their favour and that recapturing Aljunied, Hougang and Punggol East is a foregone conclusion. But they will be in for a rude awakening.

Another glaring grievance which constantly makes the poor section livid is the absurdly astronomical salaries that PM Lee and his ministers pay themselves out of taxpayers' money. When they are living from hand to mouth constantly worrying there their next meal will be coming from while the mercenary PM Lee and his ministers are wallowing in wealth from their whopping salaries at the expense of the taxpayers, would the high-falutin PM Lee and his equally high-falutin ministers still be dreaming that these seriously deprived electorate are a contented lot?

It will not be amiss to mention here that when PM Lee was interviewed recently by a China TV host, the latter tendentiously posed an awkwark question to PM Lee on the "high salaries" of PAP ministers. This immediately put the qualmish PM Lee on his guard who unashamedly declined to accept the term "high salaries". True to his devious character, he offered to use an euphemistic term of "a realistic and correct salary". The TV host obviously understood his discomfiture and did not press further. This clearly shows that the disingenuous PM Lee is aware that the obscenely high ministerial salaries are an inescapable fact and the that some of the run-of-the -mill type of ministers are shamelessly pocketing them is scandalous, to say the least. No wonder the poorer section of the society  are livid over this.

The never-say-die spirit of PM Lee in rousing his ministers and other potential PAP candidates to greater effort in winning as many seats as possible in GE 2016 is admirable on the surface but considering the mediocre performance of many of the run-of-the-mill type of ministers, PM Lee could brace himself for a considerable percentage of casualties among these ministers, which means that more GRCs may go to the united opposition.

GE 2016 is therefore very much an epoch-making election to watch. It may be PM Lee's swan-song.