PM-in-waiting Heng Swee Keat has sportingly accepted artwork on his “East Coast Plan” gaffe on Nomination Day.
Mr Heng surprised observers by turning up at the Nomination Centre for East Coast GRC 30 minutes before nominations closed, revealing that he would be running in the hotly-contested ward instead of his Tampines GRC stronghold. His speech to voters post nominations also raised eyebrows – but for not all the right reasons.
The former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance stuttered and stumbled over words as he delivered his first message to East Coast voters. In his speech, Mr Heng said that he has a “plan for East Coast residents. Also a plan for the East Coast. We have a East Coast, Singapore, we have a together and East Coast plan. We care at East Coast.”
Mr Heng’s speech went viral and provided fodder for meme after meme. Even his ruling party colleagues, from recently unseated Sengkang GRC candidate Amrin Amin to Jurong GRC MP Tan Wu Meng, made allusions to his ‘East Coast Plan’.
Mr Heng, however, seems to be taking the criticism in stride and does not seem to be offended by the jokes aimed at him.
He even poked fun at himself during an e-rally during the campaign period. East Coast teammate Maliki Osman opened the rally saying: “Many of you must be very familiar with this quote — ‘We also have a plan. We have an East Coast Singapore. Indeed…” Mr Heng quipped, “But Maliki, you forgot — ‘a together, an East Coast plan!'”
The ruling party heavyweight also said that he is happy about the merchandise ideas that his ‘East Coast Plan’ has given rise to. Mr Heng said, “Our merchants are creative. I’m happy that we started a small business going.” Dr Maliki added, “I hope the merchandise sells well, so more people will be interested in our East Coast plan,” as the pair chuckled.
Mr Heng has now said that an art piece made by three young brothers made his day even though it alludes to his gaffe. Sharing a photo of the tribute, Mr Heng wrote on social media: “Made my day to receive this beautiful hand-drawn card from the Teo brothers, Lucas, Jonas and Titus!”
The politician, whose East Coast team narrowly returned to Parliament with just over 53 per cent of the vote, added: “Besides the Teo brothers, I have also received many heartwarming messages from residents and on social media. They mean a lot to me — it keeps me going and drives me to do better for Singapore and Singaporeans. I may not be able to respond to every one of you but I want to thank you all sincerely for your support, encouragement, trust and good wishes.”
Made my day to receive this beautiful hand-drawn card from the Teo brothers, Lucas, Jonas and Titus! 🌈I met the trio…