Straits Times political desk journalist Sue-Ann Chia expressed in today’s papers what any rational-minded Singaporean knew to be right: That the elected opposition MPs should be the ones managing the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in their ward, not the PAP candidates who lost in the last election.
In her article headlined “‘Adviser over MP’ raises many questions”, Ms Chia questioned the flawed reasoning of the press secretary to the National Development minister, who said last week that town councils should not be considered a local government. She deftly pointed out that over the past 12 years, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, Mr Goh Chok Tong and Mr Lee Hsien Loong had all stated in one way or another that the town council were designed for voters to choose their local representative, not just MPs to the national Parliament.
She ended by writing that the Ministry’s insistence on working only with the appointed grassroots representatives instead of the elected opposition MPs “marred” the government’s “act of goodwill” of bringing forward the LUP for Hougang and Potong Pasir. Along the way, she also recognised that all citizens, regardless of who they voted for, should benefit from national schemes like the LUP.
By Straits Times standards, this was a bold piece for the editor to allow to go print — in the Top Stories section no less. It is perhaps reflective of the overwhelming sense of indignation felt by not just Hougang and Potong Pasir residents, but Singaporeans of all political persuasions that the PAP’s antics in those two constituencies had crossed the line of common decency.