The speech by Bedok Reservoir-Punggol Branch Chairman Victor Lye as reported in the media is most interesting. What he said were important. What he did not say were even more enlightening. I will adopt a ‘read between the lines’ approach to understand the gist of his speech.
The title as reported, A need to ensure PAP does not ‘harden hearts’ is as good as confirming that hearts have been hardened. He referred to the Hougang voters as a case in point. How and what did the PAP do to harden the hearts of the Hougang kias is interesting though no one is talking about it. This is the first admission of this fact.
His recommendation to win back Aljunied is to go with the flow, knowing that it is the national desire for alternative voices in Parliament. How is he going to do it? ‘In Aljunied, we must be prepared to argue for policies that are different from the Govt, even if they are somewhat similar to the Oppositions’. This is simply genius. The Aljunied voters will get an opposition in Parliament no matter who they voted. And this opposition will speak against the PAP policies, right or wrong, because the people want an opposition to do just that.
He also addressed the issue of transport and housing which he said was a perception that these policies were aimed at maximising profits. Really, if it is just a perception then it should not be a problem. Just communicate and explain and the perception will change and the problems will go away.
His other recommendation on transport is that Singaporeans should be put ‘at the heart of the policy while achieving operating efficiency’. Read between the lines, Singaporeans were not put at the heart of the policy while achieving operating efficiency. Is that the case?
His concluding statement for winning back Aljunied, ‘we need to make clear that we have candidates with the right party values’. What are these values? I am sure, very sure, that George Yeo had all these values. But he still lost. Now I am not sure who the PAP is going to put up that is better than George Yeo, that have understood PAP values better, to win back Aljunied.
Anyway, it was an amazing speech with a lot of revelations. It is good that the media reported the speech almost in full. Good speech, and good understanding of the problems or perceptions of the problems PAP is facing.