"There is no need for all this bluster. There's no need to begrudge the PAP for having already done its work in consulting residents and making plans," said DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the press conference on Apr 26 where Mr. Murali Pillai, the PAP's candidate for Bukit Batok by-election revealed his election manifesto.
DPM Tharman was responding to SDP's comments of the $1.9m upgrading 'carrot'. (link to DPM Tharman's response video here)
In fact, the 'carrot' seems to be the mode of attack by SDP and its Internet Brigade with SDP going so far as to say that Mr. Murali could have broken the law by dangling it.
Dr Paul Tambyah, SDP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) member said in the political party’s statement that, “to say that major improvements will come only if the PAP candidate is elected is unethical and could even be a contravention of the Parliamentary Elections Act (Section 59) which prohibits parties or persons from bringing undue influence on voters.” (link to full post by SDP here)
Even the Workers' Party MP Pritam Singh jumped at the opportunity to attack the carrot, in a facebook post where he cast the asperation that the carrot is used for political reasons to favour the PAP candidate. However, to his credit he did explain that the funds for upgrading (i.e. the 1.9m carrot) is accessible to all as its part of the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) and regardless of who runs the town council, HDB would not withold the funds, HDB would just be funding a different program proposed by the different management of the town council.
This is the brilliant deception that we are writing about - the bluster (loud empty protest) that I hope you the discerning reader will see. SDP and their IB are trying to give the impression that PAP is using the upgrading carrot by misquoting him and painting the picture that they would not get the 'carrot' if they do not vote him in, and that evil pappie is using the carrot trick to make you vote them in yet again.
In fact, what Mr. Murali is saying is simply part of his sincere nature - if he is not voted in, he cannot run the town council and hence cannot implement the NRP vision that he proposed (i.e. the 1.9m carrot). What the SDP is NOT saying is that they too have the same carrot and could propose and get funding for their own version of the NRP program.
Clever right? So who is making upgrading into an election issue?
Then there is the issue of timing - why choose now to talk about upgrading? But what would you do if you were running for a by-election? You would need to sell yourself and tell your residents what you would do for them right? Your plans for their estate (which of course includes the renewal/upgrading). I do not see anything wrong with these being a part of the campaigning. Do you?