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Who is afraid of voting against PAP?

Among the issues the participants raised was the perennial question on whether there is a climate of fear in Singapore

Kor Kian Beng: Mr Lee, what good does it do for PAP to win all 84 seats? It will probably just increase the dissatisfaction on the part of the Singaporeans.

Lee Ching Wern: I think all I want to ask is whether you think the complete elimination of the opposition is really what you think is best for Singapore?

MM Lee: You will never completely eliminate the opposition.

Ching Wern: Why not? It seems like you almost have done that!

MM Lee: You may eliminate them temporarily from Parliament. I eliminated or they eliminated themselves in 1965 when Barisan had 13 out of 51 seats and they said bogus Independence, fake – we leave. So we fielded in all the by-elections. And from 55 to 81, in three elections we swept the polls with opposition.

(Background: The Barisan Sosialis MPs, who held 13 out of 51 seats, boycotted the first parliamentary session after separation from Malaysia in August 1965, then resigned from Parliament in 1966, and refused to participate in the 1968 polls. This helped the PAP make a clean sweep at the polls, a record it maintained right up until 1981.)

Mabel Lee: But is that the state that you really want Singapore politics to have… bearing in mind that your GRC system results in walkovers. You have a young generation of people who really don’t care about politics. Or, they’re even fearful if they do get to vote. So is this the system that we really want?

MM Lee: Are you fearful to vote against the PAP?

Mabel: Perhaps, yes. Honestly – a little bit.

MM Lee: (Laughs) Why? Tell me why. What will happen to you? How will we know that you voted against us?

(Group laughs)

MM Lee: No, no – let’s pursue this ‘Because I’m afraid!’. You tell me you’ve gone through O levels, A levels, university, working in 93.8 Live and you’re afraid that if you vote against the PAP, something will happen to you?

Ching Wern: I think this is the impression that the PAP has created.

MM Lee: (Laughs) No, you’re spreading that impression.

Ching Wern: No – you can ask every one of us here…

Pearl: Add to that effect that there isn’t a level playing field for the opposition in the terms of upgrading.

MM Lee: There is no level playing field of any government helping opposition to win votes.

Ching Wern: I think going back to the point when you say how will the PAP know who we voted for? What SM said just yesterday about the area at Realty Park – 60 per cent – if more than 60 per cent of them vote for the PAP, they will get the upgrading. So how does the PAP know it’s 60 per cent? So how can the residents not be fearful?

MM Lee: We can guess from our campaigning and our house-to-house visits. But we won’t know who comprises that 60 per cent right?

Ken: You don’t need to know that to strike fear though.

MM Lee: Come off it. You mean to tell me – you’re one of the 40 per cent that voted against the PAP and something happens to you?

Ken: Well, I’ve never voted for that matter. But I mean, we talk to 100 of voters in the course of our work and it seems – no comment or if I vote against the PAP, I may…

MM Lee: Let’s get down. What are the 100 of voters? You name the 100 of voters – a few of them. Tell me.

Ken: Well I mean, I can’t name them by name but…

MM Lee: No, no. You tell me who you’ve spoken to and they say we’re afraid to vote against the PAP.

Ken: Well, a few weeks ago, The Straits Times did a report. We polled 100 voters…

MM Lee: No, no, never mind the Straits Times poll. You made a statement just now, look, I started life as a cross-examiner right? You made a statement just now that ‘I spoke to 100 people and they’re all afraid’. I say name them, tell me who.

Ken: Why should I name them on national television?

MM Lee: No. Therefore you tell me – it’s not ‘I who spoke to them – Straits Times carried the poll’. And you carried out the poll?

Ken: I was one of the reporters who…

MM Lee: No, did you carry out the poll?

Ken: Yes I did.

MM Lee: How did you carry out the poll?

Ken: We went out and we asked 100 voters what they thought.

MM Lee: How many voters did you ask?

Ken: Well, we have to get more than 100…

MM Lee: No, how many voters did you ask?

Ken: About 120.

MM Lee: You yourself personally?

Ken: I spoke to about 40.

MM Lee: You spoke to 40. And did they tell you, you noted down, grievances?

Ken: Ya. I do have most of their names – ya. Some of them didn’t want to identify themselves.

MM Lee: What did they tell you?

Ken: Well they said, well we ask them, you know – who do you think will win? We were not asking what your vote is but, you know, who you think will win in this coming election. And some of them say: ‘Oh it’s hard to say.’ Some of them say: ‘Oh I think Low Thia Khiang still has enough to hang on.’ And some just say: ‘Oh I better not say otherwise…’

MM Lee: So when you say some of the 40 – ‘I better not say’ – you assume that they’re scared to tell you?

Ken: Yes, because it’s not something that you can prove to a court of law, but it’s something you can…

MM Lee: But that’s the point I’m saying. You’re in the media, you’re in The Straits Times – you’re purveying an unnecessary falsehood. We have said categorically – the vote is secret. This started off with Jeyaretnam saying ‘Oh, they’re afraid’. So we said, ‘Right – here’re the boxes – count, finish the count – lock up.’ Go to Supreme Court – it’s locked up, time’s up, incinerator, you can see. All election agents watched – it’s burnt. And you’re going out as The Straits Times man – how many said we’re afraid. They don’t tell you we’re afraid. They just said, ‘No, no I don’t want to say something’. And on that you started off with a statement – 100 told you they were afraid.

Ken: No, I didn’t say that.

MM Lee: You said that – it’s on… please. I haven’t lost my memory. We can go back on the tape.

As I told you I allow my grandchildren to speak back to me. But from time to time when they’re out of bounds, I put them down. And when you make that statement without any evidence I have to put it to you, get to the bottom of it and you interviewed not 100 but 40. And a few of them said ‘Oh I’d rather not say’ and therefore you assumed that they were afraid. How are they afraid because we terrified them? Isn’t it your job to say that it’s nothing to be afraid? Are you afraid? Surely you’re not?

Fearful?

MM Lee: Are you fearful to vote against the PAP?

Mabel Lee: Perhaps, yes. Honestly – a little bit.

MM Lee: (Laughs) Why? Tell me why. What will happen to you? How will we know that you voted against us?… No, let’s pursue this ‘Because I’m afraid!’. You tell me you’ve gone through O levels, A levels, university, working in 93.8 Live and you’re afraid that if you vote against the PAP, something will happen to you?

Lee Ching Wern: I think this is the impression that the PAP has created.

(via straitstimes)

5 Responses to “Who is afraid of voting against PAP?”

  1. TKH Says:

    I just saw your top picture and realised it was from Deutsche Bahn.

  2. leach Says:

    i missed this show as I don’t live in Singapore. Is there anyway to find the whole show online?

  3. Justina Says:

    The video can be found in this entry, under “Why My Vote Matters”.

  4. leach Says:

    Thanks a bunch!

  5. Aaron Says:

    I am sorry to say that there is no opposition at all if MM keeps out all of them. There is no talent except PAP talents. It is said that some opposition members work for PAP to ensure their winnings. I don’t know if this is true but there are many signs pointing to that.

    There can never be a opposition in Singapore politics. PAP is the best in Singapore, JB and some say Batam.

    The only thing PAP members has to be wary is GOD or Allah and his Angels.

    When he comes, PAP will disappear and Singapore will be submerged into water. There will not be a Singapore.I repeat, there will not be a Singapore. If there is, it shall be shrunk to a size bearly inhabitable.

    Thank you,

    I have made my point.

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