Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PA or PAP?

You can accuse us of political apathy. But, you can never accuse Singaporeans of stupidity.

I am amazed at the Peoples' Association's response to the Workers' Party assertions about WP MPs being deprived of an opportunity to be invited guests at the 7 month festivites. It has turned out that Chen Show Mao had been invited as a guest at a couple of 'Hungry Ghost' festival dinners. But, the organisers had to withdraw the invitation because the Peoples' Association informed that they would not grant future permission if the WP MP was invited.

This first surfaced via a facebook update by Mr Chen Show Mao and subsequently a press release by Ms Sylvia Lim indicating that HDB had granted leases at several places in the Alunied GRC to the Peoples' Association and taken away management of those parts of the estate from the Town Council. This had been done after the General Elections this year. This is in iself shocking as it suggests partisan politics at play in our public institutions. There is an important value that any self-respecting democracy must uphold: the independance and neutrality of the civil service.

But, I am totally stunned at the audacity of the PA's response.

"The PA and its GROs are non-partisan and do not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA."

"This applies to all political parties and MPs, including the PAP"

There are so many things I can quibble about:
1. The Workers Party did not attempt to hold any activities on PA premises
2. The WP MPs did not attempt to hold any activities on the PA premises
3. Mr Chen was invited by civilian, non-partisan organisers to attend the function
4. Community Clubs are PA premises and PAP MPs have been invited as guests at functions held at CCs.

A simple google search reveals a wealth of information on PAP MPs attending activities or officiating as guests at events taking place on PA premises or facilities managed by the PA.
A sampling:
Eunos Heights Residents’ Committee organised a Chinese New Year Dinner on 20 February 2011 at Eunos Community Club Multipurpose Hall. MP for Aljunied GRC Mr Zainul Abidin was the guest of honour.

Passion Nite: on 31st December 2009 at Cheng San CC
Guest of Honour: Dr Balaji Sadasivan, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC

There are too many examples and they are easily available. When the PA decided to assert that they 'do not allow any political party or MP to hold activities on PA premises or other facilities managed by the PA', did they honestly believe that they can get away with that assertion?

I can imagine their response. Those events at PA premises where MPs were present involved MPs that were invited to attend and they were not activities organised by the PAP or the PAP MPs. Well, by the same token the hungry ghost event was not organised by the WP or its MPs. Mr Chen was invited to attend.

Please don't insult our intelligence.

And, by the way who is on the Board of Management in the Peoples' Association?
Lee Hsien Loong, Lim Swee Say, MG Chan Chun Sin, Grace Fu, Masagos Zulkifli, Janil Puthucheary, amongst others. (Interestingly, Mr Yam Ah Mee of GE2011 fame is also there)

Non-Partisan? My ***.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bluntness. I only have one sentense to them,"KNNBCCB"!

Anonymous said...

"As government grows, its increased power to grant favors or inflict pain attracts more people who would abuse the system."
-- John Fund

"Man is not free unless government is limited." -- Ronald Reagan: Farewell Speech, 1988

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
-- Elie Wiesel

"Freedom is not something that anybody can be given;
freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be."
-- James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name

Holistic Harmony said...

PA, PAP still think we are leaving in the stone age where information is not available and the ppl today are just as blind and deaf as they were a generation ago. Great job PA & PAP, keep it up. can't wait for GE2016!

Anonymous said...

It is an open secret that our former MM had stated that:

PAP=The Government=PA/RC/CCC.

If it had been openly stated, what is the view of the AGC/Chief Justice.

Are they independent or dont they have a view. Let the Workers' Party team of lawyers bring it up and let the Justice Dept decides on it.

The Workers' party is not interested in Singaporeans, but their own.

Anonymous said...

This is probably only the tip of the iceberg.

If PA and HDB can be bent to serve the interests of PAP, what about other areas of the civil service?

Could this also be an explanation of the behaviour of the Police Force in its handling of TPL's case? What about our Courts of Law?

Scary isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:02 pm
There is this infamous one -

You need to read it to really believe it, from non other than the AG, now CJ, upholder of justice and the law

XM said...

PA acts as the liaison between communities and the Government, which in this case, is the ruling party PAP. This is and has always been the founding charter of the People's Association.

A similar arrangement is also found in the tripartite charter of Singapore's work unions.

It is thus natural for PAP members to head these institutions.

Subra said...

I agree XM. It has always been the case that the ruling party members have headed these institutions.

I think we never had illusions about that and in fact quite clearly we never thought that PA would refuse to allow PAP MPs to hold functions or activities at PA premises.

What is a shocker and an insult to our intelligence is that the PA actually claims that it does not permit MPs from any party including the ruling party to organise activities on PA premises.

We have always assumed it to be a norm that PAP MPs have had liberal access to PA facilities. So, PA's claim was something of a surprise. Clearly they were backpaddling after WP made allegations about PA not permitting Mr Chen to be a guest at the hungry ghost event.

In their desparation to appear above board, they claimed that the same treatment is applied to PAP MPs. This is far from the truth and all of us know it.

Of course, the substance of WP's allegation was not so much the partiality of PA but the fact that it was possible for PA to coincidentally acquire sites within the Aljunied GRC soon after the General Elections. Some conversations, discussions or negotiations with HDB would have been carried out for HDB to transfer the management of the sites to PA from the Town Council.
The sore point for the WP is the way public bodies were serving partisan interests.
In an attempt to appear impartial, PA has resorted to peddling an absurdity that even PAP MPs are not permitted to have functions at PA premises.