Friday, May 27, 2011

Rule of Law - Justice and Equality

All of us remember how "efficient" the police was when they reacted to the police report filed against James Gomez by the Elections Department over that "criminal intimidation" charges. This happened in 2006, right after the General Elections.

Even Opposition MP Mr. Low Thia Khiang was interviewed within days after James Gomez was prevented from leaving the country and brought back to Cantonment Police Headquarters for investigations.

Fast forward to 2011. New electoral rules were added by the ruling party, People's Action Party (PAP). Particularly, the cooling off period ruling was implemented, initially perceived by many to give PAP the advantage. However, what we have witnessed is a series of possible breach of these rules by PAP itself.

We have seen how grassroot leaders sending out SMS messages to its network of members to mobilize them to go out all force on cooling off day to talk to people on the ground, trying to canvass votes for PAP.

We have seen how PAP's own candidate breaching the rule and indirectly admitting to the act when she tries to put the blame on someone else.

We have residents from various constituencies complaining about PAP's foot soldiers and contractors distributing pamphlets, booklets, flyers and even PAP's party publication Petir during cooling off day. Some of these acts happened in the wee hours of cooling off day! PAP's response to reporters' enquiries were that Petir was printed before cooling off day! Here again, they have indirectly admitted that such acts were committed during cooling off day but the excuse given was that the publication distributed was printed before hand. It seems that even PAP members don't really know nor understand about the cooling off day's rule. But wait, isn't these rules written and implemented by PAP itself?

Some Singaporeans have reported police about the breaching of these rules by PAP. Notably, the police report filed on the breach of the rules by Tin Pei Ling's FB administrator (well, we don't even know if she has nominated an administrator or not) was done on 12 May 2011. The case was allocated to an Investigation Officer from the Commercial Crime Division (well,they don't have Political Crime Division). It has been almost two weeks but nothing has been heard of. Well, at the very least, there isn't any report on MP Tin being interviewed by any police officer.

I was a bit puzzled on the deterioration of the police's efficiency after these 5 years. Back in 2006, a speedy investigation was carried out right after GE. But now, after two weeks, there is still no news about any investigation being launched.

I could empathize with the police department which was tasked to investigate this case as well as other cases involving PAP's breach of electoral laws. But I believe, as civil servants, these policeman would carry out their duties without fear or favor.

It is obvious to many people, especially those who are active on Social Network on the internet, that a law has been breached. There are also public records of what Ms Tin has said which could well be submitted as evidence on such breach of law. The comments on her FB was deleted after 20 minutes but that doesn't change the fact that the law has been breached. In fact, strictly speaking, it could be viewed as a deliberate effort to destroy critical evidence. Luckily (or unluckily?), a screen shot of this evidence was recorded in public domain as well. I believe that the with all these evidences available on public domain, it should not be a very difficult case to investigate at all.

NSP has lodged a complaint to Elections Department on polling day with regards to two breaches of law by PAP. The Elections Department has brushed off the complaint by asking us to make police reports. At that point of time, I found it pretty absurd that the Elections Department didn't react to the breach of electoral laws which they were supposed to enforce. I would expect them to make the police report instead. I decided not to report police at that point of time because the issue might be painted into a case of petty politicking.

However, now that police reports have been made by the members of public, we should follow up with these cases to make sure that the Rule of Law applies. These cases will also become the first precedences of such breaches of the cooling-off day rule and it is important for us to see how such rules can be enforced.

If we want to build a Democratic Society based on Justice and Equality (National Pledge), we must make sure that the Rule of Law is applied across the board.

I have absolutely nothing against Ms Tin personally. Unfortunately, it is in the Nation's interests to make sure that the law (set by PAP itself) is being enforced fairly. Ms Tin just happened to be implicated in one of these cases.

I hope that the police could act on this case with the same efficiency that they have shown in 2006 against James Gomez. Whether the police will take action or the AG chambers will press charges, the authorities should at least give us a reasonable explanation on whatever actions they intend to take. Such actions will form the basis of precedent case for future enforcement of the Cooling Off Day rule.

Goh Meng Seng

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nicole Seah's fund raising

Dear All,

Thank you for all the concerns raised here. I apologize for the great confusion and anxiety caused by this episode.

Under the Political Donation Act, it is LEGAL for candidates to solicit donations under their names. Thus what Nicole has done is legal. The main concern is why personal bank account has been used instead of Party bank account. First of all, Nicole is soliciting funds for her candidacy in Marine Parade. She is also trying to get funding for her whole Marine Parade Team. Thus, it would be technically tedious for us to differentiate between funding meant for Marine Parade Team if donations are made to the Party bank account. Besides, financial reporting for the Party will be very complex if every Teams or individual candidates utilize the Party bank account for their fund raising activities.

I believe that those who have donated to Nicole or any other opposition members would have full confidence and trust in them to utilize the funds solely for the GE only. Having said that, I also understand the demand for transparency from the public on the fund raised. Rest be assured that due diligence will be carried out by the whole Marine Parade Team since the fund raised is intended to defray the cost of its election campaign.

As I have mentioned before to the press, young people are using the New Media more often and it will become a trend for them to utilize New Media for their political work and engagement which will include soliciting political donations. It is unfortunate that this present issue was blown out of proportion due to the utilization of the New Media. On hindsight, it could have been managed better.

Nevertheless, I have full confidence in Nicole and her Marine Parade Team in managing public funding properly. The stakeholders who have contributed money to their funds have the right to know how the funds have been utilized. This is a matter of transparency. This can be done by sending them the details via emails.

However, I think it is totally inappropriate for the members of public to insinuate corrupt practices, intent or misconduct with regards to this issue. It would be unfair to Nicole and her team to suggest that because they have acted within the legal limits. Unless there is any proof of misappropriation of funds, I think such slander is totally unwarranted. I hope the members of public should refrain from making such insinuations.

I think that this issue would be a good public education process for both politicians as well as Singaporeans. Singaporeans may not be used to politicians soliciting funds under their names but this is perfectly legal for candidates to do so, just as any other democratic countries in the world (US, Europe countries etc). On the other hand, politicians have to be mindful about perceptions of the public as well as the transparency of the whole fund raising exercise.

To conclude, I hope that Singaporeans could bear with us while we move on to a more open society. It is perfectly healthy for Singaporeans to raise their concerns on transparency and accountability when such public donations are involved. But I hope that my explanations and clarifications here could address their concerns adequately.

Yours Sincerely ,

Goh Meng Seng

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The People's Action Party lost its first battle after 15 years of monopoly of power since independence in 1981 Anson by-election. Mr. JB Jeyaratnam has dented PAP's strong hold of power back then. In 1984 General Elections, PAP lost two seats in total: Mr. JBJ retained his Anson seat while Mr. Chiam See Tong won Potong Pasir beating Mah Bow Tan hands down with a respectable 60% of valid votes.

Ever since then, PAP was worried about losing more seats in the years to come. They squeezed every drops of brain juice they have, from suggesting some people may have two votes instead of one to tweaking the electoral system. Eventually, they came up with this BRILLIANT idea of GRC. Basically, the GRC system literally up the stakes for every electoral contest.

They have succeeded in preventing losing more seats in 1988 GE with a close shave of winning Eunos GRC with Workers Party's Team losing by merely 1%. Predictably, they are so dependent and addicted to the GRC system that they subsequently increased the size from 3 to 4 and eventually created the giant 6 man GRCs. It basically up the stake further just like a gambler who thinks he will sure win all.

Of course, PAP has very thick skin to ignore all logical criticism of its "kiasuism" (mentality of being afraid to lose). At one point of time, the Prime Minister even proudly joke openly about Singaporeans being "Kiasu" (afraid to lose), "Kiasi" (afraid to die) "Kiabo" (afraid of wife). However, ironically PAP has become like a gambling addict who keep increasing its stake in electoral contests.

It is indeed a paradox. While PAP is afraid to lose, it thought that it could prevent losing by increasing the stake for all. The most ironic argument I heard during this GE 2011 is that PAP has actually accuse Workers Party of making things difficult for Aljunied voters by "forcing them to make difficult choice". It could even be interpreted that WP is "holding voters at ransom" by fielding Mr. Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim together in Aljunied GRC.

It is PAP who is trying to hold Singaporeans at ransom by setting up the GRC system. Not only did it try to use HDB upgrading as the carrot ransom, it also uses subtle threats of depriving voters funding for various services. The ultimate ransom is the argument that the Nation will lose two ministers plus one Speaker of Parliament along with one potential ministerial candidate.

But wait, isn't this PAP's own doing? It tries to gamble big by putting TWO ministers in Aljunied GRC. In fact, it is gambling away its "ministerial talents" by putting ministers in each and every GRCs! It just thinks that Singaporeans will not "sacrifice" its ministers and thus those who contest along with these ministers will have a safe passage way to parliament.

PAP's high stake gambling habits has cost it dearly. If you think the cost of this gambling is merely two or three ministers, think again. The implications of this lost in Aljunied GRC is much wider and deeper.

First of all, which PAP minister would be willing to risk their million dollar pay to contest in Aljunied GRC next round in the bid to win it back? Even George Yeo and Lim Hwee Hwa have bowed out of the game! Would it mean that once a GRC is lost, PAP will never be able to win it back again?

Secondly, after this defeat, how could PAP convince "high flyers" to quit their jobs like BG or superscale civil service positions to join them and promise them a safe passage way to become ministers? There is no longer SAFE Passage to parliament. BG Tan should understand this very well!

Thirdly, even the recruitment of backbenchers for PAP will face problem! No more hiding behind heavy weights so to walk into parliament safely!

Last but not least, there are several GRCs in "danger zones" which opposition parties have achieved more than 40%. These include East Coast GRC, Bishan Toa Payoh GRC, Marine Parade GRC, Tampines GRC, Moulmein Kallang GRC and Nee Soon GRC. There are two GRCs which are near 40%: Holland Bukit Timah GRC and Choa Chu Kang GRC.

It basically means that PAP will be fire fighting in all these places next round and I do not think it has enough ministers to have two ministers fielded in each of these GRCs. If PAP is not careful enough, it may face the possibility of losing more ministers.

It will be double whammy for PAP. On one hand, it will not be able to attract and convince talents to join its rank while on the other hand, it will keep losing ministerial talents.

PAP will do the same thing they did in the mid-1980s: think of some genius way to prevent the tide of losing more. They may try to raise the stake again (well, maybe turn Singapore into only 5 GRCs, North South East West and Central GRCs) or implement the one man two votes system for people who reach certain age. Else the only option is to go for some kind proportional representation.

Implementing proportional representation system may see PAP's percentage of seats dropping in parliament but it will help to prevent any further loss of ministers.

It seems that the implementation of proportional representation system would benefit Singapore. It will make sure that our parliament will maintain diversity of views for better debates on policy issues and at the same time, secure enough ministerial candidates to serve the nation.

The PAP has lost big time for GE 2011 and I hope that it will wake up in time to carry out the necessary electoral reforms to embrace diversity and cater to Singaporeans' urge of having more opposition voices in parliament.

Goh Meng Seng

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reflections on GE 2011

Many people tend to believe that Internet, New Media or Social Media have played the critical role in GE2011 but I think otherwise. Among the highest scoring teams, most of them enjoyed significant spotlight by the main stream media.

Workers Party (WP) is the biggest winner in terms of media coverage. Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)also enjoys significant media coverage on their two main GRC teams. As for NSP, the best performing team, Marine Parade Team, enjoys the most media coverage as well.

Many people have talked about the strategic failure of NSP Tampines Team. To put on record, NSP Tampines Team is quite a decent team with passionate people on board. Nevertheless, there are many factors to make a team win. My failure to convince people like Tony Tan, Hazel Poa or even Nicole Seah to join the Tampines Team has cost us a lost opportunity of punching through.

There are many other factors which will determine the results:

The Ground
1) Class Types: In comparison, Tampines is definitely a hard ground in terms of housing types. 32% of flats are 5 room and above, presumably middle class. This is the highest percentage among all other GRCs. From GE 2006 and further confirmation in this GE 2011, surprisingly those who lives in landed properties are more supportive of opposition as a whole.

2) Pass electoral records: Tampines result in GE 2006 was only slightly more than 30%. Tampines is a fortress and doesn't have any changes to its boundaries. Though we do not have fair comparison of Marine Parade, but Marine Parade has the worse ground. Prior to nomination day, my estimate is for NSP to get about 35% to 40%. This is based on past electoral records of Braddel Heights (48%, Sin Kek Tong time), Eunos-Ubi (49%, Francis Seow's time) and the swollen ground from Chai Chee, part of Joo Chiat. On top of that, better ground like Mountbatten was cut out.

The People

3) Demographics & Race composition: Tampines has a pretty high percentage of Malay as well as young voters. The swing in Malay and young votes have actually helped us to get much better result, though falling short of a win.

4) Candidates play an important part in winning votes. Apparently Nicole Seah has managed to win quite a substantial number of votes in Marine Parade. Uncle Chiam also played an important role in getting votes for both Potong Pasir and Bishan Toa Payoh. Needless to say, WP's three stars, Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim and Chen Show Mao are the pillars of WP's branding which helped to raise the votes and profiles of all other teams and candidates. As mentioned, the failure to convince Tony and Hazel to join my Tampines Team has cost us dearly.

5) Opponent's profile is also an important factor to determine whether we could get better results or even a win. Minister Mah and Tin PL are just two prime examples.

The Issues

6) Marine Parade has issues in Joo Chiat area as well as local issues in other places. Tampines has less local issues but national issue like high HDB Housing prices was the main thrust.

Party Branding

7) Apparently Party Branding plays a very important role in WP's campaign while NSP has to depend on other factors which I have mentioned above.

Failure of Minister-Specific Strategy?

Contrary to news report, I think the Minister-Specific Strategy has worked, though not to its fuller extend. Both Tampines and Marine Parade teams have applied minister-specific strategy and they have yielded better results as compared to other NSP teams.

However issue-based minister-specific strategy is just necessary but insufficient strategy for parties without STRONG branding to win the elections.

Although overall NSP has done better than the National Vote swing of 6% (we have gotten about 8% against the setting of 31% in GE 2006) but anything falling short of a win is still regrettable.

Goh Meng Seng

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Response to Mah Bow Tan

I am very disappointed with Mr. Mah Bow Tan's "rebuttal" on the Housing Issues.

First of all, he has chosen to do so at the very last rally while refusing to take up the challenge of having a Live TV Debate. I could understand why because his so call rebuttals cannot hold water at all.

First of all, we are not saying that Singaporeans cannot use their CPF money to buy HDB flats. We are just saying with a 30 year mortgage, there will be little money left for retirement! It seems that Mr. Mah Bow Tan either chooses to side step this problem or deliberately mislead voters about our manifesto.

Secondly, he claims that our flats sold at Cost Plus will have to be sold at the same amount and all units will look the same. This is the most uncreative way of thinking and rebuttals. We could still build very different flats with different costings but yet, selling at Cost Plus. Yes, the sales price will be different but still, it is Cost Price system.

Thirdly, he still insists that such flats cannot increase in value. I do not understand how he come to that conclusion since the resale market will still be there.

I am totally disappointed with such rebuttals as I was expecting something much better. Anyway, it is up for Voters of Tampines to decide.

Goh Meng Seng

Goh Meng Seng Speech on 4 May 2011 Tampines

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rally Speech on 2 May 2011 Moutbatten

The elections are getting HOT. Someone just torn off our posters put on our trucks and some of our supporters have been throwing stones at PAP posters in Tampines. I would like to urge our supporters to keep calm. We can afford to lose this elections but not our dignity.

BG Tan Chuan Jin (陈川仁), PAP candidate of Marine Parade has said many things lately. Before Nomination Day, he has challenged opposition party not just talk or wayang but go and contest in MP. Now, after NSP sent a team to contest in MP, he is saying that NSP is wayang!

I believe that a General like Tan Chuan Jin would not want to be just PAPER GENERAL and definitely he won’t want to HIDE behind a so-call HEAVY WEIGHT in MP GRC. IF he is really dying for a good fight, he should have offered himself to stand in a SMC! Regrettably he is now hiding in MP GRC. I really don’t know who is wayang!

As I have stated in our first MP rally, the STRATEGIC reason is to extract ACCOUNTABILITY from SM Goh Chok Tong for his past bad policies which are turning Singapore from a country to a COMPANY. Do you want accountability from Goh Chok Tong?

BG Tan also said that NSP doesn’t know the people in MP. I have to ask our dear general, as a ROOKIE candidate in MP, how much does he know about MP voters? Has he knocked every door? I guess most of the incumbent PAP MPs who are paid more than $14,000 a month didn’t even knock every door!

Alright, let’s not be distracted by our General Tan from the real issues at hand.

We are having a PAP system which is SUCKING every drop of blood we have in the name of AFFORDABILITY. Right from Healthcare, Transport to Housing. Especially for housing which is the most expensive item that Singaporeans have to buy.

Mah Bow Tan says that the length of your mortgage doesn’t really matter. If you can have the FALSE SENSE of affordability of having 30 years mortgage as it is “cheaper” to pay each month, please go ahead.

BUT, my Dear Minister, do you know that by having 30 years mortgage instead of 5, 10 or 20 years, we are going to be paying more COMPOUNDED interests?

Do you know that WE will not be able to RETIRE 30 years later if ALL our CPF money is used to pay for your EXPENSIVE HDB flat? 1 Our WHOLE GENERAL will be ENSLAVED by your 30 years mortgage!

If Mah Bow Tan continues his pricing mechanism pegging NEW HDB flats to resale market prices, we will definitely end up with 40, 50 or even 100 years mortgage! Why?

Anyone with just that bit of common sense will know that ASSET INFLATION is always MUCH HIGHER than NORMAL INFLATION. It is also a fact that as compared to 1990, our income has only increased by 2 times BUT HDB resale prices have increased by FOUR TIMES!

Moreover, according to some reports, prices for NEW HDB flats have increased almost 70% for the pass 6 years but median income has only grown by 37.7% and worse, the lower income group only grows only at 22.6% for the whole decade of 2000 to 2010!

Pegging prices of NEW HDB FLATS to resale market prices will definitely erode the ability of our younger and future generations to own their home!

NSP has come up with a more viable pricing mechanism for NEW HDB FLATS. We are advocating pegging the prices of New HDB FLATS to the COST of building the flat plus a hefty discount on the land prices. This will eradicate the UNFAIR impact of ASSET INFLATION RATE while taking into account of the Normal Inflation rate through the cost of building the flats.

Only by adopting NSP pricing mechanism for new HDB flats, the REAL affordability for any generations of Singaporeans will be secured.

Our forefathers have made sacrifices by giving up their lands to PAP government at DIRT CHEAP PRICES. Don’t you think that the PAP has the SOCIAL OBLIGATION to ensure Singaporeans, generations after generations, should have a CHEAP ROOF over their heads?

If you want to secure the future of your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children, You will have to make your stand clearly on 7 May.

If you don’t want to be ENSLAVED by PAP’s 30 or even 40 years mortgage in time to come, please vote NSP.

If you don’t want your future generations to SELL their flats for retirement, you will have to vote NSP.

And IF you do not want your future generations to continue to be THREATEN by PAP, which is fast becoming GOD which we need to repent to, VOTE more opposition members into parliament.

Our FUTURE lies in your hands my fellow Singaporeans. VOTE NSP, YOUR VOICE, YOUR CHOICE, YOUR FUTURE.