Less than a month after attacking WP MP Chen Show Mao ferociously in Parliament during a heated exchange on the Budget, newbie PAP MP Vikram Nair now did an abrupt U-turn and admitted that he was too ‘harsh’ on his political opponent in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to salvage his battered image among some young Singaporeans.
Mr Chen’s call to the government to invest more money in Singaporeans was challenged by Mr Nair who asked him to ‘show’ the money, comparing his ideas to a ‘Nigerian scam’.
”Let’s do more, let’s spend more,’ (they say), and, of course, they never talk of where this money is going to come from…I think many of us here have been working year in, year out, helping the vulnerable groups, and it is pretty hurtful coming from Mr Chen because he might have held this belief for a long time, but he came back only quite recently to help in this,” Mr Nair said then.
Mr Nair was severely criticized by netizens for his remarks after which he threatened to sue socio-political blog The Online Citizen (TOC) for defamation in an interview with inSing news:
“I hope not to take legal action but if there’s lingering damage I might have to consider it. It also depends on what they (The Online Citizen) do and how they respond to the matter. I just want to clear my name.”
Not only did Mr Nair ‘chicken out’ in the end and let TOC off the hook without taking legal action against the site as promised, he is now offering an ‘olive branch’ to Mr Chen to placate him and supporters of the Workers Party.
In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao which was coincidentally conducted by his schoolmate from Raffles Junior College class of 1995/1996 Ms Yew Lun Tian, Mr Nair said:
“The tone I used during the Budget debate was too sarcastic which caused me to be misunderstood. If there is a repeat, I will be more direct.”
He tried desperately hard to explain that though he was ‘mocking’ Mr Chen at that time, he was hoping Mr Chen would explain how the government can improve on the Budget.
“I initially thought that since Mr Chen is a lawyer and an economist at the same time, he would be able to explain himself clearly. But he didn’t bother to do so.”
Mr Nair’s repeated flip-flops like flipping a roti-prata is not only going to win him new fans from the opposition camp, but will cost him supporters from the PAP camp as well who are not used to seeing their leaders making capitulating to populist sentiments and making ‘concessions’ to the opposition so easily.