'ITE and Poly education is "bad rubbish"' – Did Tony Tan say that?

Last Saturday (16 Jul), the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held a public Forum titled, “Stealing My Lunch – Keep Calm and Get Organised”. One of the panelist in the Forum was Mr tay Kheng Soon. Mr Tay is an adjunct professor at NUS Department of Architecture School of Design and Environment and is also the founding member of the independent think-tank, Future of Singapore.

Dr Chee Soon Juan, the secretary-general of SDP shared a snippet of what Mr Tay said at the Forum on 16 Jul. According to Dr Chee, this is what was said:

“As you all know my brother, the late Tay Eng Soon, was the Minister of State for Education, he fought for ten years within the cabinet to increase the funding for the ITEs and Polytechnics, and his career prospect within the party was actually truncated by it. The reason was – he never told me what actually happened, loyalty to the party, right? After he died, his wife told me the real story. All the time, Tony Tan, that’s why I have no respect for Tony Tan at all. Tony Tan said to him all the time, all through the ten years, ‘Why do you want to throw good money after bad rubbish?’ I cannot stand this. This is the inherent elitism. You have to break that.”

Commenting on Mr Tay’s views expressed at the Forum on Saturday, Dr Chee said: “As long as the PAP retains this mindset and masquerades elitism as meritocracy, no tweaking of our school system will change anything. And its not just in education, this notion that they are the aristocrats and therefore entitled to power, privilege and prestige pervades our entire system. For the sake of our nation’s future, this must change.”