Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Dennis Tan on Monday (Aug 31) accused the People’s Action Party (PAP) of “petty” and “bad politics” during July’s General Election.
During the first day of Parliamentary debates on Monday (Aug 31) where MPs debated the President’s Address, Mr Tan made reference to good politics in Singapore and said: “I myself had some experience with petty and bad politics in this election, which makes me wonder whether the ruling party has gone backwards in time in the way its campaign has been conducted in Hougang”.
Mr Tan cited how the incumbent had complained to the authorities about the WP’s placement of posters in Hougang Single Member Constituency (SMC). He also added that the PAP team itself had planted its flags in front of WP’s banners in Hougang.
Mr Tan said that a complaint had been made with 13 allegations of WP’s election posters being below the requisite 2.2m, despite his volunteers having taken care to follow the Elections Department’s (ELD) regulations.
The PAP team had planted the party’s flags in front of WP’s banners in Hougang SMC, “blocking a clean sighting of the contents” of his banners, and planted many flags around coffee shops in the estate, Mr Tan also alleged.
He added that a resident informed him that she had seen PAP representatives pulling his posters lower than they had originally been.
He questioned if the PAP’s recent actions in Hougang meant that the WP could do likewise in constituencies where the PAP was incumbent.
Mr Murali, MP for Bukit Batok SMC, then asked if Mr Tan would accept that the ELD had dealt with his complaints in “an even-handed way”. Mr Murali also asked Mr Tan to explain his basis for suggesting that the PAP was using its power of incumbency against opponents in an unfair way.
Mr Tan repeated the issue of PAP flags around Hougang coffee shops. Upon further prompting to answer Mr Murali’s question directly, Mr Tan said: “I’m not suggesting the PAP is using its power of incumbency. But I have raised various incidents that have happened as a result of the actions of certain people.
“My point really is that these are all very petty and bad politics and we shouldn’t encourage it”, he added.
“My point is that… if this is going to be a precedent set by the PAP, perhaps the team in Hougang maybe, then it raises the question of where do you want to draw the line with this kind of behaviour, because certainly for me, we have to move beyond this,” Mr Tan said.
In Hougang SMC, Mr Tan won 61.19 per cent of the vote against the PAP’s Lee Hong Chuang.
TISG has reached out to Mr Tan and Mr Murali for comment. /TISG