In a letter published in the Straits Times Forum today, PAP Education Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen questioned the commitment of Mr Chen to enter politics after being away for the last few decades.
“From available information, Mr Chen has spent 40 of his 50 years out of Singapore. His entire career has been as a corporate lawyer in the United States and China. His wife and children do not live in Singapore. He now turns up and asks Singaporeans to elect him as a Member of Parliament. Surely, voters have a right to know from the Workers’ Party if such a candidate can identify with the aspirations of Singaporeans and has a stake in our future? These questions should not be brushed aside and deserve a direct answer,” he wrote.
Most netizens do not support Dr Ng’s absurd accusation and defended Mr Mao.
Sonny Peireira wrote on TR Facebook:
“I guess this time Singaporeans are mature enough to know the truth. No more dirty politics and no more fear tactics… Just one on one. We the people of Singapore shall choose who is the better candidate. PAP shouldn’t smear anyone from opp…y. The PAP themselves are already smeared with cow dung, pig shit and list goes on. So lets be gentleman. One thing the government loves to hire are the ‘yes’ man… especially those they picked from the defence ministry.”
Sam Lim opined it’s the usual dirty tactics employed by the PAP which it used on previous candidates like Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong and James Gomez.
“Back to the same old tactics by PAP. Strangely, no opposition party has come out in the open to question the commitment and motivation of PAP candidates. Yet, the PAP has to resort to smear campaign instead of debating with the opposition on issues that are of more concern to singaporeans .She added that Mr Chen’s parents have been here since 1972, and he has kept in touch with Singapore, coming back four to five times a year.”
In a reply to Dr Ng’s letter, Workers’ Party Chairman Sylvia Lim defended Mr Chen’s commitment and dedication to Singapore:
“For example, (Chen) he’s serving on the SMU Law School advisory board. So since 2007, four years ago till now, he’s been in touch with WP, our activities and also coming back and learning more about how he can contribute. He’s also made known to the public that his wife and children will be moving back permanently to Singapore with him and that he intends to carry on his political work in Singapore regardless of the outcome of the GE.”
Unlike previous elections, the PAP’s usual character assassination tactics will backfire on them as voters are getting more educated and astute coupled with the online news portals with high readership such as The Temasek Review to provide an alternative perspective to the state media, a fact acknowledged by political analyst Derek da Cunha:
“It may backfire, particularly if the other side has not done anything wrong. If the electorate perceives they have not done anything wrong, then the PAP attacks come across as being gratuitous,” he was quoted as saying in the Straits Times.
The PAP will always select an opposition candidate for ‘smearing’ purposes to divert public attention from important issues and policy errors. Singaporeans should stay focused on the three key issues which have come to define the last five years of PAP rule – relentless influx of foreigners, rising cost of living and ballooning HDB flat prices.