In one of his most recent Facebook posts, defeated People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Victor Lye Thiam Fatt bragged about how he has been serving in Aljunied GRC “even if they did not vote for us.” His comment comes as the next General Election nears.
Asserting that he knows in his heart that “many would NOT want to walk in our shoes,” Mr Lye said: “We don’t fight when the next GE comes. We have been volunteering for our people every day since our last. We do it for our people, even if they did not vote for us. They’re our people, our Singaporeans.”
Mr Lye’s Facebook post, which was published a day after the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) judgment was released, ended with the question: “We have stayed faithful to our people, and in Aljunied. Does it count?”
Aljunied GRC is represented by parliamentarians and town councillors from the Workers’ Party (WP). Even though the opposition party won the ward in the 2011 and 2015 General Elections, some of the defeated PAP candidates have been installed in the ward as grassroots advisers.
One of the PAP candidates who faced off with the WP in the polls and lost was Victor Lye Thiam Fatt. Mr Lye and his teammates who lost the election have been driving the ruling party’s activities in the ward and have the authority to approve or reject community improvement and upgrading projects proposed by the elected WP parliamentarians.
WP secretary-general and Aljunied GRC MP, Pritam Singh, recently spoke about how unfair the practice of installing defeated PAP candidates as grassroots advisers in opposition wards in.
Mr Singh that this practice makes defeated ruling party members “relevant for residents” and allows them to “campaign for votes well before the General Elections” since their appointments as grassroots leaders gives them the authority to dispense “large sums of taxpayer dollars.”
Noting that the WP has to go through these defeated PAP candidates to raise projects and gain approval on spending the S$40 million that is made available to all town councils for community upgrading projects, Mr Pritam asserted that these grassroots advisers are able to delay community improvement projects in opposition wards for years or ignore proposals altogether.
Curiously, none of the opposition parties that have been defeated in other wards have had the opportunity to place their representatives and branch chairmen to run grassroots activities in the wards they hope to contest, in between election terms.