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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Appeal against WP Disqualification

Appeal Against WP Disqualification

Those of us who have been alive over the past decade or so know that the PAP is a bunch of lying, exaggerating (to unfairly demolish Opposition arguments, typically Lee Kuan Yew and now Lee Hsien Loong, too), kiasu, corrupt, nepotic, cronyistic, untransparent, unaccountable, venal, lowdown crooks who are capable of any illegal or unethical means to win at any cost.

And the run-up to the election of the past few weeks confirms all these, in particular, yesterday's disqualification of the Workers Party from contesting Aljunied GRC on the merest of technicalities.

At issue was the tiny oversight on the Workers Party's Nomination Form on which WP members forgot to enter the name of the electoral division. The reason is probably part of the tactical play which PAP and Opposition both engage in, in which each side tries to determine which constituency is being contested by the opponent member or team, and then to field the best tactical member or team accordingly, often switching candidates at the very last minute to gain tactical advantage.

This is not the first time a little omission had happened. In past GEs, parties had had omitted filling in a blank and been allowed to make good and to go on to contest.

It is after all, a trifle matter. Just a non-material blank to be filled. Not an important omission like a false or wrong declaration of political donation (which is now greatly circumscribed, to the disadvantage of the Opposition, by the way).

Rightly, Secretary-General of the WP, Mr Low Thia Kiang, said he felt aggrieved, because the forms could have been returned to the WP team to be filled on the spot.
This time, the Election Officer refused to allow the forms to be filled, refused to allow a time extension for the correction.

In other words, the Election Officer (who reports to the Prime Minister's Department) was all out to disqualify the 5 WP candidates. Could it be because of the "watershed" nature of this GE, probably Lee Kuan Yew's last (he looked frail and sickly on TV, needing a sweater even though the weather was typically Singaporean, and having to sit down for the interview)?

Think about it and the enormity of the Election Department's act becomes clear and disgusting. What if it had been the PAP that had omitted the blank? Would the Election Officer have disqualified the 5 PAP candidates and thereby instantly returned the 5 WP candidates to Parliament? Out of the question, obviously.

Even more frightening is why the people and the media did not make an issue out of it (at least not yet, at time of writing this).

What would be the reaction of the American people if, a few months ago, either George Bush or Al Gore were disqualified on a similar, tiny fill-in-the-blank infraction and the other were declared the President, without the need for an election? Would the American people or media stand for it?

The frightening thing is that the Singapore people are very different. Kiasu, kiasi and "I'd rather not get involved, please." That kind of attitude makes for a great country, a great people who can do great things. I don't know if that is congenitally Chinese, Asian or only Singaporean, instilled into us all by harsh PAP beatings through the years.

There is some dim hope.

The PAP team leader in Aljunied GRC, Minister George Yeo, publicly, on TV, said he was disappointed his team wasn't going to be contested; that he would have welcomed the challenge and that he would not have objected to the WP's little form-filling infraction (he has the right to raise objections, as a candidate).

If so, if really so, then the WP should appeal to the Election Department or above that, the Prime Minister's Office, to be allowed to contest, on the ground that the Constitution specifically and unambiguously calls for elections as a Constitutional requirement and any thwarting of that provision should be a major one and not something as frivolous as a missing detail in a Nomination Form.

The provision of the Constitution should be set aside only on very major ground and not something as ridiculous as this. It makes the Election Officer, the Election Department, the Prime Minister's Office, the PAP, the Government and the country a veritable laughing stock of nations. Jokes must already be flying in the august chambers of the United Nations. It is one more reason for an independent Election Commission, which Dr Chee Soon Juan and other Oppositionists have been calling for, to deaf ears.

If enough of us make enough noise, we may yet be able to turn the situation round. There is still a week before Nov 3. In the interest of fair play and natural justice (as opposed to the PAP's system of court 'justice'), let the WP contest. After all, they may not win, as the PAP says. What has the PAP got to be so kiasu about?

For the PAP to win 5 seats in Parliament this way is demeaning to all, including the victors. Winning by this means is losing. It is a lose-lose-lose-lose situation in which the WP loses, the PAP loses, the voters lose and the country loses. Nobody wins.

Already, on Oct 25, we have yet another unelected PAP Government. A majority without even a contest, thanks to a deliberate, ruthless decimation of existing Opposition and prevention of potential ones. Will the PAP at least try to look like a gentleman and allow the WP to contest? Or live up to their reputation as thugs in white?
Make as much noise as you can, please.