Three Times Unlucky

From the sharp Parliamentary debates, we can now see that

1. Both WP and PAP were in a classic prisoner’s dilemma.

WP awarded town council contracts to companies owned by its supporters; PAP awarded contracts to its own companies. If WP hadn’t raised the AIM issue, PAP would not have raised FMSS as a counterpoint.

Unfortunately, WP did raise it and PAP had to hit back. Now the world can see that both parties have had dealings with their own supporters, and neither can claim to be 清白.

2. PAP punches hard

Instead of defending itself, PAP went on a counterattack, criticising WP town council charges and also pointing out that WP has awarded town council contracts without public tender, to companies owned by its supporters. Brilliant soundbites, even if they are out of context.

3. Town Councils are inherently political

If it wasn’t obvious before, when PAP threatened voters with delays in HDB upgrading for voting ‘opposition’, when its MP’s take every opportunity to criticise the performance of opposition town councils at every MND Annual Report, it must be perfectly clear now.

PAP put in a poison pill clause in its AIM contract. It had no qualms about setting up its own company to run town council operations. And the way the two parties locked horns over this shows very clearly the risks of over-politicking.

4. WP suffers another blow

This is the third time WP appears to have come off worse in a Parliamentary debate. It lost the Ministerial Salary debate; it lost the Woffles Wu debate; and now this.

This is not good.


About politicalwritings

Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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9 Responses to Three Times Unlucky

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 14 May 2013 | The Singapore Daily

  2. theonion says:


    The comments are in context as WP had stated that it was political in nature so likewise the same applies for their own does it not

    • Comparing town council charges without examining the context is irresponsible but great soundbites politically.

      Comparing charges from George Yeo’s time vs charges after WP takeover is like comparing HDB prices five years ago with today’s HDB flat prices. Did you factor in inflation? Can you see that the price agreed five years ago was an average prices for the last five years, while the current price is an average forward-looking price for the next five years?

      Comparing Tampines Town Council charges with AHTC town council charges also ignores context. PAP has economies of scale, no? It has 14 town councils under a combined contract, no? How much is the savings due to the bulk purchase and the negotiating power of 14 town councils?


      And in any case, the question is not the pricing, it is the poison pill clause in AIM’s contract which I find abhorrent. So Khaw went on a rampage by citing price differences without context and by bringing in FMSS.

      Great soundbites politically, which is why I think he won the debate. But very unfair comparisons when one examines it critically.

      • Asim says:

        It is not who won the debate. I don’t think people should judge WP as the losers. It is about the manner of how well the debate went and the direction it took. It now appears that PAP is put to task by the opposition in the true context of democracy. So how transparent is PAP? Slowly and slowly, we are seeing the true colors and the caliber of MPs we put in parliament in turn commensurate with top wages…….this is really eye openers for people to cast their vote in the next GE.

      • People can make their own judgements. I don’t think we can tell people how they ‘should’ judge.

  3. The says:

    PAP deals with AIM – a PAP company.
    WP deals with FMSS – a company owned by a supporter – there’s a world of difference.

    • Yes. A world of difference. But it does show that PAP could dig up something to counter attack with, especially as it found that the company was appointed without tender, without competitive bidding.

      I said that context is all lacking. FMSS may have been appointed in this way due to a lack of time, or maybe other companies didn’t want to associate themselves with an opposition town council. I’m sure there are reasons.

      But a soundbite is a soundbite and this is a good one, because all the justifications and explanations cannot fit in to the 15s of a soundbite. Thus voters only hear that WP appointed its supporters’ companies without competitive tender or bidding.

      That’s why PAP was so shrewd in this case. They mastered the art of the soundbite.

  4. Pingback: Three Times Unlucky  |  The Temasek Review - Temasek Review Emeritus - The Temasek Review - The Online citizen - The Real Singapore

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