The fight for the hearts and minds of Bukit Batok residents have kicked up a notch with nomination day over on 28 Apr. When DPM Tharman and SDP’s Dr Paul Tambyah shook hands and spoke at the nomination centre, they two apparently agreed that there should be a fair fight between PAP’s Murali and SDP’s Dr Chee Soon Juan.
It seems that fair doesn’t mean clean. Because at PAP’s first rally for the by-election last night, there was quite a lot of mudslinging. In her Chinese speech, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Grace Fu said:
“We need to be wary of people who write blank cheques, otherwise you may rejoice now, only to suffer later. It’s easy to confidently make promises now, but is it really that easy to manage a Town Council? This candidate (referring to Dr Chee) hasn’t worked for the last 20 years, does he have the relevant experience in management?”
What a stupid thing to say! You mean Dr Chee doesn’t need to have excellent management skills to lead SDP? Say what you will about his political views, but you cannot deny that SDP has grown into a fairly well-organised political party.
I was at its rally last night. There were volunteers taking care of various aspects – receiving speakers, setting up tents to sell merchandise, two very capable emcees, etc etc. And then there are the many policy papers that SDP has been putting out. Some of the policy papers are quite well-researched and well-argued. They’ve also been able to organise various activities, such as health screening and food distribution events.
But more than all that, Dr Chee had been able to cement his position within SDP. At a panel discussion organised by Inconvenient Questions, Dr Derek Da Cunha, a researcher at NUS, commented that Dr Chee had absolute control of SDP and total obedience from the core group in SDP. That is a sentiment that echoes what former SDP member, Jeremy Chen had been saying.
Eh… you think doing that doesn’t need leadership and management skills ah?
In her English speech, Ms Grace Fu said something equally stupid:
“He (Chee) wants to be a full-time MP. As far as I know, he has not held a full-time job for a long time. Working experience is essential and when you want to employ someone, you will look at their experience.”
What a stupid statement to make! You mean the working experience of all the political office holders before they joined politics were relevant to the portfolio they held meh? I mean… Dr Koh Poh Koon may be familiar with dealing with shit as a colorectal surgeon, I am quite sure he didn’t have much experience that are relevant to Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Trade and Industry, where he is now the Minister of State.
There’s only one thing about experience that possibly made some sense came from a remark that I heard when I was in Bukit Batok yesterday:
“Dr Chee certainly understands the plight of being unemployed. He’s been unemployed for so long! But not sure how good he’ll be in helping people get jobs leh. He doesn’t seem to be successful in doing that for himself and his wife…”
I’m not sure whether the person who made the remark is a resident of Bukit Batok or a supporter of either parties, but that remark does raise a pertinent question: can SDP and Dr Chee give us concrete examples of them helping residents find jobs or solve their problems? Because Mr Murali can at least say that he has experience helping someone who had been unemployed get a job as a forklift driver.
So, while Mr Murali probably has more experience in serving residents solve practical problems (e.g. finding jobs, conducting legal clinics – he set one up in Bukit Batok 15 years ago), it’s stupid to say that that Dr Chee isn’t capable to be an MP for Bukit Batok simply because he hadn’t held a “normal” office job for the last 20 odd years.
[Featured image: Minister Grace Fu at the PAP rally in Bukit Batok. Image from Yahoo.com.sg]