Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The Contest in Tampines against Mah Bow Tan and ...
The above picture shows a major event coming up in Tampines on 21 Nov 2010. Tree planting, Neighbourhood Renewal Programme and free Dinner etc. The intriguing thing about this poster is on the left bottom corner where it states Guest of Honour as Mr. Masagos, the newly promoted minister of state for Education and Home Affairs. The distinguished guests include all other MPs of Tampines except Minister Mah Bow Tan, the anchor minister of Tampines GRC.
As there is a hint here that MBT may not be standing in Tampines, I have told a ST reporter that PAP or Minister Mah should make clear whether he is still standing in Tampines or any other place else because I will follow him. PAP has claimed that they take GE as the "contest of ideas" and I would like to contest MBT's or PAP's idea of public housing as investment.
If MBT is to retire from politics, which is more probable than moving to other GRC or SMC, then such intentions should be made known so that I could contest such idea of Public Housing against future Minister of National Development.
Of course, I hope that it is just coincidental that MBT is out of town and unable to attend the above mentioned event on 21 Nov 2010.
Many people tend to think that Tampines is a "sweet ground" to contest for the next GE. However, in reality, Tampines is traditionally a "hard ground" for opposition parties. The main reason is that more than 32% of Tampines flats are 5 room flats, executive flats, condominium or landed properties. (refer to data released by Department of Statistics in 2000).
Although Mah Bow Tan is one of the rare PAP members/ministers who have lost an election before (in Potong Pasir 1984) but he is definitely not a pushover. It is precisely the fact that he has tasted bitter defeat that he is exceptional careful in cultivating his own turf in Tampines. Choosing one of the hardest ground in Singapore is one of the first step to ensure better chances of defence against challengers. A typical HDB estate would have only 9%-15% of 5 room flats/ condominium. (eg. Ang Mo Kio estate has about 9%) Tampines is one of the very few HDB estates with such high percentage of 5 room or higher flats.
Intriguingly, a couple of opposition parties begin to be interested in Tampines GRC or rather, contesting against Mah Bow Tan AFTER NSP has set the fire on the HDB issues since 2008/9. I was tasked by my party to take over the responsibility to form a team to contest in Tampines and I have formulated the Minister-specific strategy since then. Most people in opposition parties are not very keen in contesting in Tampines basically because of the higher middle-upper class mix in Tampines, which is traditionally viewed as more supportive of PAP generally. Truly so, Tampines has NEVER been a "hot spot" since its inception.
NSP has been contesting in Tampines GRC for the past elections. NSP has been contesting in Tampines GRC since its inception in 1988, except for 1997 GE whereby it was a walkover for PAP. In 2001 and 2006 GEs, NSP candidates stood in Tampines GRC under the SDA banner.
Thus, while I am not surprised at SDA declaration on Berita Harian as well as SDP's assertion of interests that they want to contest in Tampines GRC, I am sadden by the fact that they have disregarded NSP's continuous political effort in Tampines GRC for the past two decades. Especially so when NSP has successfully turned Tampines GRC from a "traditionally cold spot" into a "hot spot" via various deliberate strategic moves made in the past two years. Unfortunately the bees will definitely be attracted to the honey.
I sincerely hope that SDA and SDP should reconsider their position so to avoid multi-corner fight in Tampines GRC. I think in general, Singaporeans do not wish to see multi-corner fights at this instance. However, if all rational reasoning fails, I am prepared for the worst scenario as well.
Goh Meng Seng