There are many views on the merits or demerits of the dismissal of Yaw Shin Leong. Some argue that politically it is unwise to risk a hard fought seat in Hougang only to deliver it to the enemy on a platter. A better game is to hold on to the seat, keep it warm and safe till the next GE. This is just another way to play the game. It would also be an option that gives the ruling party the moral high ground, to question the moral standards of the WP and the quality of their MPs. It would be an Achilles heel to be rubbed at the pleasure of the ruling party.
The spread of comments and criticism in the main media and social media is raising the temperature. The WP will be put on the defensive from now on till the next GE and would be ridiculed all over and over again. And they would look very sheepish if they just remain reticent, and looking very helpless.
By dismissing Yaw now, it will take the sting from the attack. They will have a temporary set back of losing a hill but could possibly fight to win it back. What the WP is looking at is further down the road. It is positioning itself as a morally upright party with integrity and respect to challenge the ruling party on high moral grounds. They have won the first battle with Chen Show Mao proving that money is not in their mind. This is a big victory so far.
Holding on to Yaw would greatly compromise their carefully guarded position of high moral and high ethics. In fact they could use this strong position to challenge the ruling party to maintain the same level of moral righteousness which they know would be a tough act to follow. From a defensive position, the WP is now on the attack. And the ball is now back in the PAP’s court. Who is more morally correct? Who can stand tall with heads held high when personal conduct is in question?
The critique will be muted and frustrated that the target for taking pot shots has been removed and nothing to hit at anymore. And the WP’s camp could be lining up targets instead.
Hougang is just a battle, but there is a war to be won in 2016.