Defence Minister and People's Action Party (PAP) Organising Secretary Ng Eng Hen told the media yesterday (July 27) that the party decided to deploy its new faces in their constituencies as early as possible, so that the electorate have time to assess the candidates for themselves.
Ng added that the PAP introduced their candidates early because they think it is "a better type of politics that the PAP wants for Singapore".
But he couldn't resist a jibe at someone when he elaborated about new candidates and succession planning:
"We want to handle the retirement of our MPs more smoothly and I would prefer a more deliberate and a dignified manner. You can post your retirement on Facebook (laughs), but I think as an MP who has served 15, 20, even 30 years - that's not the best way to do it [Emphasis ours].
For many of them, they will have to prepare the ground, assure them of continuity and say goodbyes. It assures your residents of continuity of care; you've put in so many years in the estate, you're going to hand it over to the new PAP candidate. We put them on the ground and gotten feedback from the MP himself. Because if the next person doesn't do a good job as you, all your efforts may be wasted.
So they had a big say in who is coming in, they gave us direct feedback, we asked them for their assessment. 'Do you think this person that we're sending to you can be an MP, can they take care of your residents needs?', and they gave very constructive comments."
Last we checked, only one MP, and none of the Opposition, has indicated that he is retiring from politics.
Ng did not name names, but both Lianhe Zaobao and TODAY got the hint and juxtoposed Ng's statement with the name of the MP below.
He is none other than outspoken veteran MP Inderjit Singh, who announced on his Facebook that he will be stepping down at the coming GE, just a few hours following the release of the Electoral Boundaries Report last Friday (July 25).
While we can understand why PAP would have preferred MP Inderjit to handle his retirement more smoothly, it is another matter for a high-ranking member of the PAP Central Executive Committee to criticise a veteran MP so publicly.
Inderjit, the four-term MP for Kebun Bahru in Ang Mo Kio GRC, has devoted 19 years to public service and the PAP. You would have thought that his length of service would have prevented such a public rebuke, despite his criticisms about certain policies.
And isn't it more prudent for the PAP higher echelon to contact Inderjit personally?
How about a Whatsapp group perhaps?
What's Inderjit Singh's response?
Anyway, Inderjit responded to TODAY and said that new format proposed by Ng is “not a bad idea, especially if the new candidates had spent enough time with the older MPs”, adding that food-supply company Foodtraco Supplies executive director Henry Kwek, who has been assisting him for the past one year, would be his “ideal successor”.
Now that's a classy response to the media.
In a recent interview with The Straits Times, Ng highlighted how the PAP has made changes to the polices and ties with Singaporeans since the last polls.
Let's hope the ruling party can treat Singaporeans better than how they treat their retiring veteran MP.