When I read about Low Thia Kiang leaving Hougang to run for elections in Aljunied GRC, I felt fear and dismay. Low is well-known and very well-loved in Hougang, and if he had chosen to remain in Hougang, his seat in Parliament would be almost guaranteed. However, when Low comes to Aljunied GRC, it's a different ball game, especially with the PAP's gerrymandering tactics.
If Low should lose in Aljunied GRC, then this would be a disaster for Singapore. It would be a very dark day in the history of this nation.
For so many years, Low has been the (almost) lone Opposition voice in Parliament, one man standing up and bravely speaking up against a pack of 80+ PAP MPs. It takes no courage whatsoever to be a Mah Bow Tan or a Wong Kan Seng in Parliament, but it takes great courage to be a Low Thia Kiang. To his immense credit, Low has done his job and served Singaporeans well, not just for a year or two, but for the past 20 years.
If Low loses in Aljunied GRC, then even that one lone voice in Parliament might be gone, silenced for good. It is possible that parliamentary debate might then degenerate into an utter sham. Nothing but a puppet show with PAP MPs posing nice, friendly, pre-arranged questions to each other and giving nice, friendly, rehearsed answers to each other. There would be nobody to challenge them, nobody to act as a check and balance, nobody to ask the tough questions that really need, for the sake of the nation, to be asked.
Honestly, if we come to that stage, Parliament House might just as well shut down. On weekends, the PAP MPs can just gather at Hsien Loong's living room or Kuan Yew's garden to have some cakes and coffee. There they can plan their next salary increases; chit chat about golf and BMWs; and casually make a few national policies for five million citizens. So much for public accountability and transparency,
Regular readers of my blog know that I moved house a few months ago. What I didn't mention was exactly where I moved to. I now live in Tai Keng Gardens, a small quiet residential area near Paya Lebar, and I recently learned that my new address is under Aljunied GRC.
There isn't the slightest doubt in my mind who I need to vote for. After all, I am intelligent, educated, well-informed and concerned. So effectively I have no choice. I have to vote for the Workers Party. Because I can see so clearly that the PAP's performance over the past five years is just taking this country on a one-way trip into slow deterioriation and gradual collapse.
Things have already reached such a bad stage that I can sincerely say this: if you genuinely support the PAP and want them to succeed, then you must vote for the Opposition. For the PAP can improve and do better - it has that potential. What the PAP needs is to be shocked out of its own complacency.
The best thing that can happen for the PAP is that they lose 10 seats in this election. Then suddenly they will wake up, remember the people whom they are supposed to serve, and start getting their act together. The PAP does have some talented, capable people in their midst. It's just that they have lost their way, over the past five years.
I see from the newspapers that Kuan Yew has been busily making statements to create fear in the electorate. Something about how the Workers Party (if they win) will bring down the property values of Aljunied GRC.
What's that old saying about old dogs and new tricks? Fear-mongering is one of Kuan Yew's favourite tactics. Woe betide you, foolish Singaporeans, if you do not listen to me, then the sky will fall on your head. Some of his statements are so far-fetched that it's amazing he still has any credibility left.
Remember this stunning proclamation from Lee Kuan Yew, in 2007? The PAP ministers were just about to give themselves another fat pay raise, and Singaporeans were questioning this. Lee Kuan Yew's reply was that if the PAP ministers did not get their increase, the women of Singapore will become "maids in other people's countries".
Oh, come on, Kuan Yew. Can you at least try to keep your fear-mongering a little more .... rational?
Regular readers of my blog know that I am a keen watcher of the property market. I'd like to share a few personal observations on the content of Kuan Yew's latest fear.
LKY's basic point is that the WP is incompetent; that they will mismanage Aljunied; and the area will be so badly run that property values will fall sharply (relative to PAP constituencies).
But let's look at the facts. Low Thia Kiang has been MP for Hougang, for twenty years. If Low can ruin property values through his sheer incompetence, then Hougang should be a slum by now. But it is not. It is a clean, vibrant HDB town, with its own lively suburban malls, hawker centres, supermarkets, bus interchange, sport stadium, two MRT stations and more.
I can honestly tell you that, as a person who is familiar with the area. My brother lives in Hougang, my kids used to go for tuition in Hougang, and I still go there with my family quite often to eat and shop in Hougang.
Most Singaporeans wouldn't realise it, but I'll just say it straight out here. MPs do lots of important things, such as debate, discuss and shape national policies in Parliament and meet residents to help solve their personal problems. MPs and their grassroots supporters also organise community events like Plant-a-Tree Day and Chinese New Year dinners etc, and make appearances at schools' Prize-Giving Day to hand out awards and make speeches. All these types of MP work have their value and are important in their own way. But none of them has any direct bearing on the value of your property.
In other words, whoever you elect as your MP has very, very little influence on whether your property value will go up or down. May I quickly give you a big bunch of illustrations? Okay, let's go:
Your MP does not look after the roads in your neighbourhood (the LTA does that).
Your MP does not look after the parks (the National Parks Board does that).
Your MP does not look after your public library (the National Library Board does that).
Your MP does not look after your sports stadium or public swimming pool (the Singapore Sports Council does that).
Your MP does not build shopping malls for you (property developers such as Capitaland do that).
Your MP does not manage your MRT line (SMRT does that).
Your MP does not manage your SBS buses (SBS does that).
Your MP does not look after your electricity supply (SP Power does that).
Your MP does not look after your carpark (the URA does that).
Your MP does not investigate crimes (the Singapore Police Force does that).
Your MP does not put out fires (the SCDF and their NSmen do that).
Your MP does not ensure that top schools are near your home (whether a school is top or not depends on the students' efforts).
Your MP doesn't prevent mosquito breeding (the NEA does that).
Your MP does engage the cleaning contractors to clean the neighbourhood (which, in terms of level of difficulty, is not exactly rocket science and shouldn't be a challenge for any self-respecting MP, whether from the PAP or not). Apart from the cleaning contractors, your MP also builds playgrounds, fitness corners, maybe a couple of covered link ways here and there. None of these little projects require great ability or vast competence, nor will they have any significant influence on your property value.
There, hope it's all abundantly clear now. Abundantly clear that Lee Kuan Yew is mongering foolish fears. Don't be his sucker.