Singapore Election 2011

Latest news and updates about Singapore's 14th GE

ST tries to whitewash PAP’s ‘track record’ in ‘gutter politics’

Posted by singaporege2011 on April 30, 2011

After seeing their clumsy attempts to character assassinate opposition candidates backfired dramatically, the spin doctors of Straits Times are called in again to save the skin of the PAP from the PR fallout.

In a full-page editorial published on page 2 of the Straits Times today titled “GE 2011: Tough on ideas, civil on opponents?“, ex-ISD officer Chua Mui Hoong tried desperately hard to portray Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as a ‘gentleman’ whose “approach to electoral battle seems defined by a desire for fair play.”

She added that the first generation of PAP leaders like Lee Kuan Yew had to use the “sledgehammer approach” as his “opponents included ‘communists, communalists and crooks'”

It was disingenuous of Ms Chua to distort history and replace it with fairy tales in order to whitewash the PAP’s ‘track record’ in ‘gutter politics’ so as to repackage it into a more ‘palatable’ form for the younger generation of voters.

According to recently declassified documents from the British archives, the Barisan Sosialist leaders who were detained for lengthy periods of time by Lee without trial were not communists and none had any liaison with the Malayan Communist Party.

After the threat of communism and communalism receded in the 1980s, Lee still used a sledgehammer to utterly demolish the only opposition MP in parliament at that time – Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam.

“Put it this way. As long as Jeyaretnam stands for what he stands for — a thoroughly destructive force — we will knock him. There are two ways of playing this. One, a you attack the policies; two, you attack the system. Jeyaretnam was attacking the system, he brought the Chief Justice into it. If I want to fix you, do I need the Chief Justice to fix you? Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”

Character assassination, smear attacks and gutter politics are the forte of the PAP which would single out an opposition candidate for attack in every single election since 1988, assisted ably by the state media.

The former Solicitor-General of Singapore Francis Seow was painted as a CIA agent in 1988, Jufrie Mahmood a Malay chauvinist in 1991, Tan Liang Hong a Chinese chauvinist in 1997, Dr Chee Soon Juan a crankpot in 2001 and Dr James Gomez a liar in 2006.

The ‘James Gomez’ saga cast a shadow over all other issues during the 2006 elections and continued right up to the eve of polling day before the PAP realized belatedly that its smear tactics weren’t working.

And who can forget Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s ‘promise’ to fix the opposition if more of them were to get elected into parliament:

“But supposedly you have a parliament with 10, 15 or 20 opposition members out of 80, then instead of spending my time thinking of what is the right policy for Singapore, I have to spend all my time thinking of how to FIX them and how to buy my supporters over.”

The PAP has not changed a bit at all in this election. First, Dr Ng Eng Hen questioned the political motivations of WP’s Chen Show Mao after being away for many years and then Dr Vivian Balakrishnan tried unsuccessfully to paint Dr Vincent Wijeysingha as a ‘gay activist’ with a hidden agenda to pursue in parliament.

If not for the massive backlash, the PAP may well continue to harp on the two men to divert public attention from its own policy failures over the last few years.

As the saying goes, ‘the leopard never changes its spots.’ It is foolhardy to expect the PAP to change overnight. Only when it is taught a lesson it will never forget at the polls will it start to treat its opponents and Singaporeans with more respect.

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