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5/06/2006

A final assessment

One week of campaigning is finally over and voters are marching to the polling stations to decide their own fate. I am just wondering whether they know what they are in for? Are they casting their votes for their own good or for their own doom? Whoever they vote for, they will have to live with their choices for the next 5 years. Will they be voting for a party to look after them or to boss over them? The democratic process is a funny thing. It gives you a choice to choose. To choose what? To choose someone to look after your interest or someone to carry a cane to whip you. So far it has been like that. The people are there to choose their master, and happily doing so. In this election it is not to vote for a new govt. The key issue is whether to have more voices to restrain the govt or to confirm that there is no need to restrain the govt. For the former, it is an indication that the people wanted some change, that they are not totally happy with what had happened over the last few years. In the later case, the people will be saying yes, we like what the govt has been doing and the govt can continue to do what it thinks best for the people. The bread and butter issues, a better tomorrow where jobs are aplenty, people can make a living easier, lower cost of living etc will thus be the key decider on who to vote for. Both the opposition parties and ruling parties have addressed these issues to some extent. The rest of the issues raised like quality of candidates, their commitments, upgradings etc were side issues. Then the Gomez incident however, has taken centre stage and could really become the key factor that really tips the scale. PAP has rightly saw an opportunity to discredit the WP's team in Aljunied by creating a big doubt in Gomez. Initially they scored big. But after opening a big wound they got carried away and made themselves into a wolf pack devouring the carcass. The sight turned ugly and nauseating to many people. It shows the ugly side of the PAP at its worst. Even the NKF and Chee Soon Juan saga faded to the background. Chee was silenced and the NKF issue sidelined. In a way this turned out to favour the opposition as they distanced away from Chee and appeared very reasonable. It was a personal vendetta or family feud between the Chees and Lees. Nobody wants to get involved. And without Chee making fiery and reckless speeches, the rally was what it should be with the opposition parties saying what they should be saying and PAP trying to sell their plans for the people. Then things took a plunge for the PAP on the last two days of campaigning. The word 'fix' took on a new meaning. Earlier it was Gomez trying to fix the Elections Dept and the whole government. Now it has a different angle. Gomez made his slip. Now PAP has its slip as well. And this may prove very costly. Though the PMO quickly came out with an apology that it was a slip, the negative thought has already been planted in people's mind. My gut feel of the outcome. Aljunied will go to WP. The WP put up a credible team but got derailed by Gomez. I thought that was the end of WP in Aljunied. But the subsequent barrage of persistent attacks against his blunder levelled the ground again. Then came the PAP slip at Raffles Place and this could be what the WP needs. On the single constituency, Steve Chia has come out quite strongly, very flamboyant and charming in his own ways. His little flirtation with the law seems to be totally forgiven and forgotten. And compare to a goody and clean but dull Gan Kim Yong, Steve Chia comes out a more popular guy. Ho Peng Kee tried his very best but there seems to be a gap. It was quite obvious that he could not bridge and connect with the people in his rally speeches. His attempt to speak the voters lingo was a big effort that did not seem to get through. Ong Ah Heng, the veteran, may lose out to the youthfulness of Lian Chin Way. This is a refreshing face of a young professional, a serious young man who is equal to the PAP's slate of candidates. The voters will have no problem voting for him. Seng Han Thong may find Yip Weng Kee too good a match for him despite his advantage as a current MP. Yip could match him in every area and that should be good enough to carry him to Parliament. Tan Bin Seng would be a close call for Chan Soo Sen. Not that Tan Bin Seng is more superior. But if the people are looking for a decent and credible candidate, they might just give their votes to Bin Seng. As for Hougang and Potong Pasir, it was a gallant attempt by the PAP. But the truth will be repeated and the PAP would have to try harder another time. The PAP's waving of millions of dollars of upgrading programmes did not really draw the right responses they want from the people. Everyone knows that it is the taxpayers' money they are throwing back at the people. Nothing to crow about. In fact Steve Chia's challenge of using his own money, though not much, created more positive impact than the millions being promised by the PAP. The above is just my take. I could be totally wrong.

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