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Elected MP should automatically be appointed as grassroots adviser of GROs and not losing candidates

Posted by temasektimes on May 29, 2012

Two days after he was soundly rejected by Hougang voters in a by-election, PAP losing candidate Desmond Choo is back at ‘work’ again conducting his weekly ‘tea sessions’ to meet Hougang residents at Hougang Community Club.

Though Mr Choo is not the elected MP of Hougang, he still has the privilege of hosting unofficial ‘Meet the People’ sessions in an air-conditioned office paid for by taxpayers while the elected WP MP Png Eng Huat has to meet them in a make-shift office in a HDB void deck instead.

In an interview with the media after his loss, Mr Choo pledged to work together with Mr Png Eng Huat to bring improvement to Hougang:

“Any project, as long as it benefits the residents, is in their best interest, is sound, is practicable… I am more than willing to support. I will also need support from him for some of the programmes that we run, especially places which require town council support.”

With due respect to Mr Choo and his contributions to Hougang so far, his work should be undertaken by the elected MP of Hougang who should automatically be appointed as its grassroots adviser.

Having two persons holding two different positions – MP and grassroots adviser performing the same task is not only counter-productive, but leads to duplication of unnecessary work and waste of public resources.

In PAP-controlled constituencies, its MPs hold the position of grassroots advisers in their respective wards, why shouldn’t this be the case for non-PAP constituencies?

All grassroots organizations are under the ambit of the People’s Association (PA) which is supposedly a non-partisan statutory board funded by taxpayers.

As such, it should respect the choice of the voters and not make a distinction based on political affiliations. A non-PAP grassroots adviser can perform the same role equally well, if not better if he or she is given full support by the PA.

In the light of the ‘new normal’ in Singapore politics which sees Singaporeans clamoring for more alternative voices to represent their interests in parliament, the present arrangement of appointing PAP losing candidates as grassroots advisers in non-PAP wards not only runs contrary to the PA’s aim of fostering community bonding and national unity, but will potentially divide the nation along political lines in the long run.

It is also not feasible or viable should the opposition win more seats in future elections. Imagine the additional number of grassroots advisers the PA will have to appoint to ‘compete’ with the elected MPs to do the same job should the opposition wins another few SMCs and GRCs in four years’ time?

As a result of the exclusion of its MPs from the PA, the Workers Party have to set up two separate grassroots bodies – the Hougang Constituency Committee and Aljunied Constituency Committee to take charge of grassroots affairs in Hougang and Aljunied respectively.

How much public monies can be saved and put to better use had they all come under the same umbrella of the PA?

It is about time the government show some respect to the voters by appointing their elected MP as grassroots advisers regardless of which political party they come from.



26 Responses to “Elected MP should automatically be appointed as grassroots adviser of GROs and not losing candidates”

  1. spotlessleopard said

    If PA continues to be behaving as a Political Arm of PAP the day the Oposition forms the Government …it must dissolve PA…or pass a Law that PA must not be used as a Political Tool of the PAP or any Political Party….

    Shame on the PAP…it continues to BULLY the citizens of singapore…because of their shamefull behaviour I will NEVER VOTE PAP…

    • Whoever become the political ruler will do the same.

      • Sure or not said

        Tell us who?

      • Ah Keong said

        I doubt that very much.

      • DIY said

        This is what you called fair game.

        When you go campaigning during the GE hustling, you present your party’s programs. Majority mandate formed the ruling government. Winners of other constituencies where the Opposition won will represent their programs. They can debate and oppose in Parliament any issues unacceptable, but provide alternative programs.

        Meanwhile the losing party becomes a minority votes in the constituencies where Opposition has the majority votes. Since the minority party is linked to the ruling party he must serve and explain policies.

        Vacuum abhors.

        I would like to share the Greek version of democracy. The blind Socrates was championing the rights that the views of the minority must be heard. However the Senators disclaimed the rights of the minority. Their argument was that in the event for a situation where 99% majority’s view has the upper hand, the 1% minority’s view is negligible . The senators were fed up with Socrates for his stubbornness. They challenged him that if the majority were to offer a cup of poison; would he drink it? To prove a point, Socrates agreed, drank the poison and died.

        Only then that the Senators realized their mistake. The views of the minority must be taken into consideration.

        Similarly the role of PA is a linkage. When you become a lesser public figure, you cannot be simply left out. Otherwise the situation is in ‘a vacuum’.

  2. Realist said

    Seriously, if Png, as elected MP, is also grassroots adviser then nothing will be done.
    He needs Desmond Choo support to get things going.
    Both should be able to click and work well together with Desmond Choo taking the leading role as he’s the more capable one.

    • Jaded said

      Going by your logic then all PAP wards should have Opposition MPs as advisers also.

      • Seak T S said

        I fully agreed with Jaded Said. Why practice double standard? In PAP held wards, the PAP candidates are also the advisers. In WP held wards, the PAP are also advisers. It is a case of Head I win, tail also I win, you are a born loser (opposition).

    • Jack Ng said

      how do you judge that Desmind is the more capable one?

    • Daft realist said

      The elected MP of HG SMC should take the lead as he is legitimate MP.
      Only 145 swing voters and 37% PAP supporters think that DC is more capable one…

    • sweetbean said

      Realist…not very realistic la!

  3. x12831 said

    This offer of help from the PAP candidate is an entrapment. PAP will claim good ideas as theirs and claims credit when implemented. PAP MPs and ministers have forked tongues.

  4. CKMPD said

    Shame on the PAP and PA

  5. Goondu said

    @Realist, Holy Shit! How did you come to the conclusion that Desmond Choo is the more capable one? Have you worked with both of them before? I am really curious to know how you arrived at that conclusion.

  6. LY said

    This is Singpore Kaisu spirirt. PAP die die will stay put

  7. Anon said

    This is exactly what Eugene Tan mentioned in his article in Today (

    “…there is also the need (for PAP) to rethink the current policy of not appointing Opposition MPs as the advisers to the grassroots organisations (GROs) of their constituencies”

  8. Absolute power corrupts! said

    If there is such things as justice or equality, SGs would not be in this predicament. PAP has played GOD for too long, it’s about time karma catches up with them.
    They had taken the voters for granted for too long. They have no respect for voters. Voters are the masters who can decide their fate. We all can learn from HG voters. They are the true blue SGs who can be trusted to protect SG.
    How can voters protest for their high-handness?

  9. Ray said

    Is it me or is Temasek Times suddenly against Desmond Choo after he lost the elections. I noticed a change in tone very soon….
    Wind blow what direction, you sway what direction.
    Si beh smart.

  10. Observer said

    Let me quote Mr Png.

    “Political discrimination has no place in our inclusive society”

    What PAP is doing with upgrading and PA is political discrimination. How to believe they will pursue a inclusive society if they can’t even be honest here.

  11. Uncle Mama said

    Png will never be invited to visit Hougang C C….

  12. Rahim said

    I used to live in Potong Pasir when Chiam See Tong took over and actually saw how it was prejudiced against (eg cuttiing bus services, no proper meeting office etc). This act of cowardice only strenghten the support for CST as the residents develop a “Kampong” spirit which was slowly eroding in Singapore as that time. Kudos to Hougang residents who I must say are truly Singaporeans who wants to stand up to bullies.

    • What a joke said

      Who say S’pore is a “first world country”? Elected opp MPs in S’pore dun even have a proper office to meet their residents.
      What WP has said in GE2011 is correct, S’pore seriously needs a first world parliament. Without it, S’pore can never have a true democracy, no political rights will have no financial rights for the people.

  13. SGporeanXXX said

    Ayo yo yo…yo yo….!!!
    SGporean are really not learning is it…??? We know that’s what the PAP are doing all this while and making use of the oarliament as it is their fathers company…!!! We complain n complain until cock cannot crow oso won’t change their pattern of governing us.
    We have to make a stand that enuf is enuf….and GO for a CHANGE…..only then they will learn after we have learned and change for the betterment of our country…SINGAPORE.
    GOD BLESS SINGAPORE…majulah Singapura.

  14. Devilish Satan said

    In actual fact, DC votes did not increase, it’s WP votes decrease due to the en bloc. 2 blocks were demolished to make way for en bloc project & 1000 residents evacuated from the 2 blocks are WP supporters. The easiest way to win back Hougang is to draft the entire Hougang under en bloc project so govt can evacuate all WP supporters.

    • Not a big prob now said

      Usually new HDB blocks for en bloc residents are constructed and located not too far away from their original old HDB blocks unless it is a special case since HG has been a very special ward to PAP since 1991.
      Yes, they may be out of HG SMC now and cannot vote in BE2012 but highly likely that they will end up in Aljunied GRC and these 1500 strong WP supporters will continue to give their steadfast support to their newly adopted GRC won by WP in GE2011 which is coincidentally helm by WP chief, LTK.
      WP’s spilled over strategy was correct in GE2006 and GE2011 to contest in Aljunied GRC, it was politically the right thing to do by expanding and contesting in Aljunied after being in its HG stronghold for 20 yrs and after PAP claimed that LTK would never dare to walk out of HG SMC to contest elsewhere.
      This spilled over effect will naturally be spreading to the East side as informed by SL of WP recently before BE2012, other smaller and weaker opp parties should seriously take note.

  15. Aiyo yo yo ….. Hougang and Aljunied residents are the smartest of all SIngaporean. If you all want 2 mps in your SMC or 2 sets of mps in your GRC, next election you know what to do lor …. Just like going to the hawker centre, if they got 1 stall selling chicken rice, queue will be longer, if there are 2 stores, queue will be shorten liao…hahaha

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