The Temasek Policy Review

A critical review of Singapore's policies from the ground

Hougang by-election is about Hougang residents and not national politics

Posted by temasektimes on May 11, 2012

For more than twenty years, long-suffering Hougang residents have shouldered the national ‘burden’ of ensuring an opposition presence in Parliament during every election especially last year when their long-term MP Low Thia Kiang left his stronghold to contest in neighboring Aljunied GRC.

With the opposition having an unprecedented five seats in Parliament and eight if we include the three NCMPs this time, the result of the coming by-election in Hougang will have no impact on Singapore.

One extra seat will not affect the PAP which will still be the government and neither will it make the opposition more influential in parliament.

As such, it is time for national politics to take a back seat and allow Hougang residents to vote for a candidate who will best serve their municipal interests after being neglected for so long a period of time.

In his statement on the by-election, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong encouraged “Hougang voters to use this opportunity wisely, to elect the best candidate with commitment and integrity: someone they can rely upon to express their hopes and concerns, address their needs, and make a real difference to their lives.”

What improvements do Hougang residents want to see in their estate? What other amenities do they need? What more can be done to help the needy residents? And who is in a better position to serve them better?

These are the questions that Hougang residents will be pondering over carefully and they should vote for the most suitable candidate to take care of them in the next four years regardless of party affiliations.

There are some people who want to hijack the by-election to pursue their own selfish agenda and to turn it into a national referendum for the PAP’s performance in the past one year.

They made grandiose proclamations and all kinds of motherhood statements on why it is important to ensure Hougang remains in the hands of the opposition and that the by-election is a showcase of opposition unity which show scant respect to Hougang voters.

Did they ask Hougang residents what they want exactly? Have they even stepped foot into Hougang?

Some netizens have started digging up the past speeches of one of the candidate’s uncle who was a MP and using them to smear his character to cast doubt on his integrity.

Will such vicious mudslinging help Hougang residents or promote national unity in anyway? Will it make a difference to the lives of those concerned?

After two hotly contested elections last year, Singapore does not need another one to divide the nation. The Hougang by-election is simply an election for its residents to select the best candidate to serve them in their ward and not about national issues and politics which can be left till four years later.

Let us give Hougang residents the time, space and peace of mind they need to make an informed, correct and wise decision on 26 May for they truly deserve it after all the sacrifices they have made for the nation over the years.


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