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Straight Talk: PAP’s comment about WP’s manifesto — A snub or a compliment?

GE speak, seasoned journalists PN Balji and Tan Bah Bah talk about what's being said

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By Aretha Chinnaphongse, Jillian Colombo, Misaki Tan and AJ Jennevieve

TISG interns get some perspective from two veteran journalists, PN Balji and Tan Bah Bah on the GE.

Question: If Mr Vivian Balakrishnan said PAP could have written the same manifesto as WP, why didn’t they?

PN Balji: I have seen a young Vivian Balakrishnan taking part in junior college debates. Very articulate and very intelligent.

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Fast forward to today. He has retained those qualities. But today he is a government minister, not a student anymore.

During the TV debate he was behaving like a smart aleck. With his charming smile, he was trying to put down the WP. It was like trying to give a backhanded compliment. I don’t think it worked.

Tan Bah Bah: The Foreign Minister wanted to stress that it’s the PAP who have all the best ideas. And that the WP took some of these and simply gave them a more populist vote-winning slant.  So what was he trying to say? That PAP has all the answers, others don’t. Cannot be, right? Also, if you keep all the data to yourself (and concoct all sorts of reasons why you won’t release them or you don’t even want to answer questions in Parliament), you show you are not that confident, you can’t debate issues competently on an equal footing. Or you may actually believe Singaporeans are not smart or mature enough to receive hard facts and must forever be protected.

 

This is part of a GE series, Straight Talk, that will be published daily up till Cooling Off Day on Jul 9.

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