Mr Low Thia Khiang’s Political Own Goal

Mr Low chose to score political goals !

Low Thia Khiang built his political career in Hougang, winning the support of residents who courageously voted him into Parliament in 1991. They kept faith with him, standing by him for 20 years till he moved to Aljunied and fielded Yaw Shin Leong as replacement.

The rest, sadly, is history — including Yaw Shin Leong, who was expelled by WP in the wake of allegations about personal issues.

WP clearly knew the implications of what they were doing. Sylvia Lim asked in Parliament: “Does the prime minister not agree that with the Hougang SMC being vacant, there is actually an under-representation of the Hougang voters in this House?”

So if under-represented, who caused it? WP had lots of options, but they decided to sacrifice long-serving Yaw Shin Leong, abandoning the people of Hougang to struggle without an MP. They clearly acted in the interest of their party and not in the interest of the Hougang residents who put the party in power in Hougang. The residents of Hougang are NOT casino chips to be wagered in WP’s political betting. NEITHER should Hougang residents be pawns in WP’s political chess game.

Now there is no MP for Hougang. This didn’t have to happen. Here are 5 ways WP could have done things differently:

1. “Jack Neo” style. Yaw Shin Leong could have hosted a press conference with his wife and apologize in tears, then promise to turn over a new leaf and never, ever do it again.

2. “Bill Clinton” style. Like Jack Neo, but more statesmanlike. Apologise on TV (or YouTube) with serious charisma. Speech can be scripted, video can be rehearsed until perfect. Can include Bill Clinton phrases like “This has gone on too long, cost too much and hurt too many innocent people…” (but must give credit if copying other people’s words!). Conclude by saying we should not let this distract us from the business of serving the people of Hougang.

3. COI style. WP could have accounted a Committee Of Inquiry to determine the truth of the allegations and investigate processes to see how future problems can be avoided. Can even ask a former civil servant to chair the COI, like Donald Low who deserves some payback after Chen Show Mao copied his article!

4. “Steve Jobs” style. Steve knew how to advise people without interrogating them. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he reportedly told Bill Clinton: “I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country.” Even if Yaw Shin Leong was too paiseh to discuss private parts of his life with Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim, they could still have given good advice and guidance.

5. Quiet save-face style. Whatever the truth about Yaw Shin Leong, WP could still have kept him on till the next GE and then retired him quietly, saying “Shin Leong will be stepping down to focus on career / concentrate on other interests” etc.

The people of Hougang are being kicked around in this game of political football. Problem is, WP scored an own goal and the Hougang residents are the ones suffering the loss.

first published in SGhardtruth (blog)


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