The Workers Party’s growing popularity among Singaporeans is being felt even by the PAP MPs who now have to take the feelings of its supporters into consideration when sparring with WP MPs in Parliament.
Heated and fierce exchanges between MPs in Parliament are common in many First World countries such as the United Kingdom when ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was literally ‘torn apart’ by the Conservative MPs during an inquiry on the Iraq War two years ago.
While ministers from the ruling party are usually subjected to intense questioning from the opposition MPs, the situation is quite the opposite in Singapore where the opposition MPs are now becoming ‘shielded’ from the usual criticisms, sarcasms and attacks commonly encountered in parliamentary debates by their legions of hardcore vocal supporters in cyberspace as PAP MP for Sembawang GRC Vikram Nair discovered recently.
Before he became a MP, Mr Nair was one of the top debaters in the country and during a parliamentary session two weeks ago, he criticized a call by WP MP Chen Show Mao to the government to invest more money in Singaporeans without explaining where the additional funds to do so will come from.
Mr Nair’s criticisms of Mr Chen were relatively mild, but it still sparked an outcry in cyberspace from WP supporters forcing him to do an abrupt U-turn and hand an ‘olive branch’ to Mr Chen to appease them.
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.”
Unfortunately, Mr Nair’s goodwill was not reciprocated by netizens as they continue to lampoon him for daring to question and criticize their beloved WP MPs who are so ‘perfect’ and without flaws that even committing adultery with other married women is acceptable to them.
Some responses from netizens on Facebook:
“Chen Show Mao is a class of his own. He did not stoop low for the childish challenges from V Nair. V Nair probably was trying to show to his bosses that he got some stuff. Unfortunately he ended up being shown as a small time irrelevant thinker.” – Rodney Tan
“Next time, filter thru your tiny little brain before your shoot your mouth. Then it can saved you from embarassment and explanation!” – Raymond Hay
“Nair’s pointed personal remarks against CSM not only was unwarranted, condecending and mocking, it carries no water nor substance. If the government can find $$$ for the sudden ballooned budget for the Youth Olympics and their own salary increases, they cannot find $$$ for the poor and needy? Maybe it is time the citizens ponder whether who are really representing them?” – Min Chew