With the nearing of the by-election in HG, attention is once again being casted on the electorates in HG since the last GE. As an observer, I’ve also pondered on the thought of who to cast the sacred vote if I was a constituent in HG.
A year ago, the long-standing WP chief, Low Thia Khiang, fielded Yaw Shin Leong to take charge and contest in his well-guarded Hougang while the chief led a team to contest in the Aljunied GRC with a vision to move towards a First World Parliament in Singapore. The watershed GE saw the WP winning the Aljunied GRC and HG SMC, a marked victory for WP which ended up with six seats as Members of Parliament and additional two seats as NCMP.
Months have passed since the last GE. While much emphasis have been placed during the last GE on the importance of providing checks and balances on the ruling party in achieving their ideology of a First World Parliament, the spate of events that follows over the past months seems to uncover many cracks within the WP itself.
The most significant event would be the news outbreak of YSL’s alleged extra-marital affairs, followed by YSL’s expulsion from WP, leading to his seat being vacant in the parliament – the first MP being casted out for “(breaking) the faith, trust and expectations of the party and people”. Despite the WP’s emphasis placed towards providing checks and balances on the ruling party, the handling of the YSL saga seems to reflect otherwise when it comes to being transparent and providing accountability for matters within their own party.
Additionally, with the recent resignations of various high profile WP members (i.e. Mohammed Fazli Bin Talip, Sanjeev Kamalasanan) and Poh’s emergence as an unexpected potential contender, it is increasingly evident that much internal discord and conflicts do exist within the party itself.
As such, should WP not come clean and provide greater accountability and transparency on the spate of issues that happen within its party, its ability as political leaders in spearheading the nation’s best interests and unifying the country going forward would continue to remain questionable and dubious.
A year later, the fielded candidate from the WP camp to be contested in the upcoming by-election continues to harp on talks of providing an alternative voice in the parliament should the electorates in HG voted him into the parliament, yet with no concrete plans being laid out in addressing the local issues within the HG community.
Conversely, Desmond Choo has essentially walked the talk through many initiatives launched to help the poor and needy from the HG community.
Despite suffering a major defeat during the last GE (with Desmond Choo garnering only 35% of the votes in HG), Desmond Choo has been gracious in the face of the defeat. Notably, he honoured his promise to HG electorates during his concession speech that he will continue his efforts stay connected with the residents in HG, as evident from his weekly coffee sessions with the residents which restarted soon after the watershed GE.
With no foresight of the YSL debacle which led to the unprecedented by-election in HG, Desmond Choo has remained committed to connect with the constituents in HG since the day after the release of GE 2011 results.
Over the past months, it is laudable that Desmond Choo sought to raise funds and initiate many projects in HG to help the poor and needy which include elderly-friendly toilets for low-income seniors, healthcare subsidies for the poor and elderly, transport concessions for needy children etc.
He has no obligations to serve the HG community, and yet the fact that Desmond Choo did stay on to help the residents (which comprises of a large majority who did not vote for him during the last GE) in HG is commendable, and as such, I personally do respect him for what he has done for HG over the past year.
Recently, a friend has posed this question to me: if I was a constituent in HG, who will I vote for? And here’s my response to the question. If I was a constituent in HG, I would want to vote for a capable, credible, trust-worthy leader, one who is truly passionate and committed about serving the residents and nation, and most importantly “always here for you”.