EBRC Report – Response to SM Goh Chok Tong

We refer to the remarks by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (SM Goh) as reported in the Straits Times today, 28 Feb 2011.

In attempting to re-cast the boundary changes to Aljunied GRC as more disadvantageous to the ruling party than the opposition, he stated that opposition candidates “have no roots, they can go anywhere” whereas the ruling party candidates would need to cover areas which might be new to them.

It is well-known that the Workers’ Party’s (WP) roots are anchored in the Hougang area and the Party has been working consistently for many years on the ground there and in the contiguous areas. The precincts in Hougang Ave 8 cut out of Aljunied into Ang Mo Kio GRC are in the heart of WP’s root area.

In contrast, the adjustments to be made by the People’s Action Party (PAP) are minimal, as they can leverage on the vast grassroots network of Residents Committees and Citizens’ Consultative Committees under the People’s Association in every part of Singapore, funded by taxpayers’ monies. By comparison, the Workers’ Party works on more limited resources and roots itself in more localised areas.

The shift in the Aljunied GRC boundaries is significant, given the fact that 29,307 voters from WP’s root area next to Hougang Constituency have been largely drawn into Ang Mo Kio GRC, and replaced by 19,549 voters from Marine Parade GRC.

As regards his chilli crab stall analogy, SM Goh must be aware that he is one of the 3 most well-known chilli crab stall operators, besides Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, operating chain stalls all over Singapore in the form of the GRCs (Group Representation Constituencies). WP admits that it is no match for the PAP in this chain-stall setting. The use of the analogy is therefore a red herring to confuse voters that the changes to the boundaries are fair and even “actually disadvantage the PAP more than the opposition candidates”.

The Workers’ Party believes that Singaporeans can judge for themselves.


28 Feb 2011