Speaking to the media on 31st Jan (reports here), Minister Shanmugam weighed in on the WP’s stance on the Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) scheme. After WP’s Lee Li Lian rejected her NCMP seat, WP filed a motion in Parliament to replace her with its other candidate Daniel Goh. At the same time, WP Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said that the party opposes the NCMP scheme.
Minister Shanmugam said that WP should be honest in rejecting the scheme instead of “trying to speak with both ends of the mouth”.
He said that the NCMP scheme ensures “you vote for the PAP and you still get opposition candidates. By opposing it, the WP effectively wants to limit voters to a “direct choice” between the PAP and the Workers Party, or other opposition parties. However, they did not reveal this reasoning to the public because it knew voters may want this additional choice.
At the same time, they also want to fill the seat with their preferred candidate because they will benefit from it.
He urged the WP to “just be direct, open and clear”.
Minister Shanmugam also said that for Singapore’s democracy to succeed, politicians need to have both honesty in Parliament and financial integrity. But the WP has not had a good track record on both counts.
He referred to a court case about the financial integrity of the WP town council. During the case, High Court judge Quentin Loh said of Ms Sylvia Lim’s conduct during the relevant Parliamentary debates that “the suppression of the truth is equivalent to the suggestion of what is false”.
Separately, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon had said in January that “there remain concerns as to whether the court has been apprised of all the facts in a candid and forthright manner” by the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, including their chairman Mr Pritam Singh.