3 May 2006

PAP Character Assassination 101

From the YoungRepublic mailing list, Sammyboymod regular donoghue comments on this subject:

Background

To anyone who actually believes that James Gomez is dishonest and a liar etc.. I suggest that you attend the WP rallies and listen to what they have to say, instead of relying on the media for information. Please do remember that this is the media ranked 140th out of 167 in the world.

I have followed every election keely since 1997 and I have also read extensively about the incidents in 1988 with regards to Francis Seow. While I am not so foolish as to take what the opposition says at face value, I urge everyone here not to do the same for the PAP. Read factual accounts, based on past trends and make your own judgement.

The Defamation Suit Trap

To me, it is clear what the PAP is trying to do. They are trying to round on Gomez and assassinate his character. He is in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't situation. Watch what happens. It is perfectly conceivable now that he says "I am not the liar, Wong Kan Seng in the liar" and I assure you that defamation suits galore will immediately start pouring in. This is based on the "doctrine of innuendo" that the Singapore courts have evolved, to which there is completely no objective test. I have provided 3 examples of precedents for this:

1. Tang Liang Hong


In 1997, they labelled Tang Liang Hong "a dangerous man", a "racist", "Chinese chauvinist" etc, allegations which were all untrue. The fact is that Teo Chee Hean had heard Tang speak at a dinner function in 1994, where the latter urged more members from the Chinese community to step forward, as the number of English educated in the Cabinet was disproportionate to their actual number in society. Strange then that they waited 3 years to bring this up. Just like Inderjit Singh in this case, Teo was the 'whistle blower' whose intention was to warn Singaporeans of this so-called dangerous man.

Tang refuted their claims by calling them 'lies', and this invited 13 defamation suits, with damages totalling some $6+ million, because this implied 'by innuendo' that the Ministers were morally bereft, dishonest and therefore unfit for office. Tang's assets were frozen BEFORE the court had reached a verdict, and his wife (who had nothing to do with it at all) was made a co-defendant in the case.

2. J.B. Jeyaretnam

At a rally during the same election, J.B. Jeyaretnam held up a police report which Tang had made against the PAP leaders for slandering him and tarnishing his reputation. Police reports are supposed to be confidential. However, Wong Kan Seng retrieved the police report (so much for the separation of powers) and passed it on to Lee Kuan Yew, who released it to the press. Then 13 PAP leaders sued both Tang and Jeyaretnam for defaming them, by insinuating that the leaders were guilty of a criminal offence and therefore unfit for office.

Jeyaretnam was also sued for saying "I have a police report which Mr Tang has made against Mr Goh Chok Tong.." because this was implying that Goh was a criminal and therefore unfit for office. In the first instance, the court awarded "derisory damages" to Goh because it held that the lawsuit had been brought frivolously. "Derisory damages" amounted to $20,000 - hardly "derisory". This was largely due to Goh admitting, under cross examination from Charles Gray QC (now Mr Justice Gray) that he had had "an excellent year", in contrast to his claims in his affidavit that his reputation, both locally and internationally, had been severely impugned by Jeyaretnam's words. Interesting then that the trial judge, Rajendran J, was subsequently removed, and Mr Justice Gray is now barred from appearing as counsel in Singapore courts because he is a person of 'questionable moral character'. Goh appealed against the judgement of Rajendran J on the basis that the damages awarded were "manifestly inadequate", and the Court of Appeal duly increased the sum ten-fold, to $200,000. Jeyaretnam, who had already paid off millions in damages, still remains an undischarged bankrupt to this day.

3. Chee Soon Juan

During the 2001 elections, Chee Soon Juan asked Goh Chok Tong during a community walkabout, using a loudhailer, "Prime Minister, where is the money?" This was held to be an insinuation that Goh was corrupt, dishonest and unfit for office. Duly, Chee was made to pay $500,000 in damages, and, as the court held in a 'summary judgement' earlier this year, was subsequently made a bankrupt. How convenient that the elections were to be held this year, eh?

Can you not notice the trend here?

I am not anti-PAP in my personal political outlook, but I believe that their politics of slander and character assassination are most unbecoming of a Government who has accomplished so much. There is no doubt in my mind that Wong Kan Seng, Lee Kuan Yew and George Yeo et al are trying to bait Gomez into making one of those "implicitly" defamatory remarks so that they can destroy him once and for all, because thus far, all of the Workers' Party leaders have been very astute in terms of making their public comments. What good is Lee's "dare" to Gomez to sue him, when it is unequivocally clear that Lee effectively owns the courts? The incident involving the Cheng San polling centres in 1997 and then-AG Chan Sek Keong has been given sufficient consideration in another thread, and shall not be discussed further. Wong Kan Seng noted that Gomez's apology "had been drafted by a lawyer" and was therefore "insincere". He means that Gomez's apology is overly tactful, and as a result, the PAP has little room with which to rub further salt in his wounds. I believe Gomez has, given the cirumstances, acted very prudently in doing so.

Now, they are trying to bait Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang. If you read their latest response, again they have been very careful. Low merely says that he never planned to field Gomez in Ang Mo Kio. He never expressly accused anyone of lying, nor did he even go so far as to say that "what the PAP says is untrue". What else do you expect him to do, with the threat of the cripping defamation suits loomimg over his head?

Refusal to Engage Policy Points

It is also telling that the PAP has steadfastly refused to debate the WP's policy points. They refuted the WP's manifesto saying it was "dangerous" but without giving any specific details of why this would be so, save the same old rhetorical arguments as to why GRCs are important, why government-led unions are important. In fact, in response to WP's suggestion that the PAP gets out of the unions, Lee Hsien Loong merely gave examples of other parties in other countries that are linked to the unions, and took a humourous jibe at the fact that the WP was not befitting of its name "Workers' Party". They also did not respond to Perry Tong's points about healthcare, I have had the privilege of listening to sound clips of his speech, and I think they are very sound policy suggestions.

They said that the policy of free healthcare has been proven to be disastrous overseas due to long queues (I presume they are referring to the NHS, and they are right) but that was never Perry Tong's point. They failed to respond to his suggestions to lower GST on medical supplies and to set up a medicine manufacturing hub in Singapore to both lower the costs of medicine and to create more jobs. And they repeatedly accuse the WP of failing to suggest ways to create more jobs. Their response to other points in relation to public transport have also been dealt with only in passing, in a dismissive manner rather than substantively. Unsurprisingly, the proposals made by Perry Tong (who is a Berkeley grad and a management consultant) and Tan Wui-Hua (who is CFO of a billion dollar company) have been given almost no airtime, with the media instead choosing to focus on the Gomez "scandal".

Question of Intention

As to those who believe that Gomez is truly dishonest, an electioneering rat, and a person of dubious moral character, I have this question to ask. Where is the evidence that this is so? Because Inderjit Singh and Wong Kan Seng say so? If you were to watch the video recordings, what do they actually show? Nothing, other than the fact that Gomez indeed placed the forms in his bag, and questioned the Elections Department about the submission of his forms.

Now, why do you think the PAP has come out and 'exposed' Gomez? In order to warn Singaporeans of this dangerous man who is out to harm them at his own expense?

Has it never occurred to you that the PAP is a politicial party trying to win an election, and that there is a realistic chance that they may lose Aljunied GRC?
Has it never occurred to you that this outcome would be unfavourable to them?

I cannot believe, for the life of me, how some people actually believe that the PAP is 'exposing' Gomez out of altruism and goodwill. So, when Gomez does something, it is serving his own selfish ends, but no PAP member would ever do such a thing? Please stop believing the 140th ranked Singapore media, and have a look at the rallies, the independent political blogs, and internet forums to get the true 'feel of the ground'. The media has lionised the PAP leaders and made them appear to be larger than life, but at the end of the day, we musn't forget that Wong Kan Seng and George Yeo are as much politicians as James Gomez is . At this point, it is their word against his, and I am choosing to believe his account, not because I am biased against the PAP, nor because I am outraged at the sheer disgracefulness of what they are doing, but because I have seen this happen many times before, and based on track record, past evidence and trends, I am inclined to believe that they are assassinating Gomez's character in order to gain political mileage, or rather, to destroy the WP's political mileage (which has become rather significant in recent months).

Objective Test

If we were to apply the 'Objective Test' to this incident, that is, what would a reasonable-thinking, objective third party think -

1. Is Gomez trying to orchestrate an elaborate and deceitful plot in order to discredit the entire elections department in order to gain political mileage?

OR

2. Did he genuinely forget to submit his forms?

I believe most reasonable thinking people would go with the latter. The former is hard to believe because so far in this election, the WP's main issues have been policy ones, unlike the SDP who have been focusing their efforts on disparaging the PAP's underhand tactics. The WP has taken jibes at these underhand tactics, primarily the use of upgrading to entice voters, but they have not made it their main election platform. I don't think Gomez would 'break ranks' with the party's stand, I think it appears that the WP is actually taking a very united stand this time round, and they seem determined to focus on 'bread and butter issues' as opposed to liberal ideals etc.

Of course, Wong Kan Seng would tell you that the ENTIRE WP created this impression so as to deceive Singaporeans, and lull them into believing that they were genuinely concerned about their well-being, when in fact they are actually opportunists who are trying to get into Parliament by any means necessary. Even though Low has already said that ALL the WP candidates are prepared to lose.

Now, to consider the second possibility. Is this even remotely as far-fetched as the scenario above?

Have you never seen anyone insist to a teacher that "I am sure I have handed my assignment in" only to realise that the assignment was actually in his bag?

I think that comparison is much more apt than George Yeo's far-fetched and tenuous 'shoplifting' analogy, where the subject-matter is concerning theft, i.e. removing something, as opposed to failing to submit something.

Burden of Proof

Lastly, why has the burden of proof now shifted on Low, Gomez and the WP to disprove the PAP's allegations? Whatever happened to the rule that a person was innocent until found guilty? So far, what conclusive evidence do we have that Gomez is guilty? A video which suggests nothing by way of wrongdoing, and a bunch of opinions from Wong Kan Seng, Lee Kuan Yew and Inderjit Singh, who are all PAP members, and who can all be presumed to have a conflict of interests with the subject-matter here.

Just because a bunch of PAP politicians say so, does it mean Gomez is guilty?

Look at Wong Kan Seng's "statement", upon more careful scrutiny I think you will find that he draws very tenuous links and fails to substantiate most of them. It is laced with self-righteous rhetoric, and fails to convince me that Gomez was indeed trying to orchestrate a plot to discredit the Elections Department and the PAP. One must realise that this is a very serious allegation to be making, so it needs to be well substantiated. I do not think the standard of proof has been at all satisfied here.

So why has the burden of proof shifted to Gomez? Are you telling me that in Singapore law, there is a doctrine of "presumed" immorality/dishonesty just because someone is from a party other than the PAP?

Conclusion

For voters who are in Aljunied and any other WP-contested constituencies, I must urge you to consider your vote very carefully. Do not be taken in by what the PAP and the sycophantic 140th ranked media says, research the facts and the precedents yourself, and if you arrive at the conclusion that you should indeed be voting for George Yeo, then so be it.

But please do not distract yourselves from the main issues here. Please also familiarise yourself with what George Yeo et al stand for, and compare this with what Sylvia Lim and the WP stand for.

"If you are not of a certain economic class, then you shouldn't even be thinking about going to [the casino].. you should stick to 4D, Toto and Horseracing"

This is what George Yeo said about whether Singaporeans would be allowed to visit the casino. In my honest opinion, it smacks of arrogance, haughtiness and elitism.

As I've said, I am not a WP supporter nor am I anti-PAP, I personally take a more holistic view, that whatever benefits Singapore as a whole, ought to be done. I think Ngiam Tong Dow's interview posted in the other thread was spot-on. Singapore needs to be bigger than the PAP, and people need to accept that. I just think that it's dangerous for us media consumers to accept, at face value, whatever we are told.

The PAP talks about making an informed choice, debating the bigger issues, "clean and fair elections", etc. Well, suffice to say that whoever has made those promises, has gone down more than a notch in my estimation.


35 comments:

jean said...

hi akiko

An excellent piece of article.

Calvin aka Yamada Shun 山田駿 said...

Did you read today's ST main page?

MM Lee calls Gomez a liar. Wow..what a word. Defamation suits coming up any?

Anonymous said...

PAP should learn about Science.

What is Ockham's Razor?

When a new set of facts requires the creation of a new theory the process is far from the orderly picture often presented in books. Many hypothses are proposed, studied, rejected. Researchers discuss their validity (sometimes quite heatedly) proposing experiments which will determine the validity of one or the other, exposing flaws in their least favorite ones, etc. Yet, even when the unfit hypotheses are discarded, several options may remain, in some cases making the exact same predictions, but having very different underlying assumptions. In order to choose among these possible theories a very useful tool is what is called Ockham's razor.

Ockham's Razor is the principle proposed by William of Ockham in the fourteenth century: ``Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate'', which translates as ``entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily''.

In many cases this is interpreted as ``keep it simple'', but in reality the Razor has a more subtle and interesting meaning. Suppose that you have two competing theories which describe the same system, if these theories have different predictions than it is a relatively simple matter to find which one is better: one does experiments with the required sensitivity and determines which one give the most accurate predictions.

A more straightforward application of the Razor is when we are face with two theories which have the same predictions and the available data cannot distinguish between them. In this case the Razor directs us to study in depth the simplest of the theories.

Which in this case is James Gomez genuinely forgot to submit his forms.

Anonymous said...

well-written
thumbs-up!
Clap Clap!

Anonymous said...

Well-written. Sad that articles like this do not appear in the mainstream media. That is why I refuse to read the Straits Times, Zao Bao coverage.

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

You should have seen the daily Election Campaign Report on the news. It seems more like a PAP Camapign Update than anything else.

ck said...

Even the blind can see the PAP can't withstand a decent election without resorting to lawsuits and threats. Didn't know they were so fucking insecure.

Anonymous said...

extremely well-written.

Anonymous said...

Hey, ur blogging is well written, but i would like to ask, in ur blog u mentioned voters to search for the facts, the real facts. so where and how can i search for the real facts?
i'm a voter as well and is definitely veri interested in knowing the whole facts before casting my vote.

Anonymous said...

If someone can take this entire document and photocopy 100K copies in one A4 paper with Chinese translation, and send it around to Aijunied GRC voters, it would be most helpful. Otherwise, only a group of you who are whining here will not help matters. If you still have not learnt from the last two elections, then you should be reminded that internet blogging, over-attendances in rallly are not going to determine whether you can win the votes. Everything is on the ground and not on this virtual ground.

Anonymous said...

If someone can take this entire document and photocopy 100K copies in one A4 paper with Chinese translation, and send it around to Aijunied GRC voters, it would be most helpful. Otherwise, only a group of you who are whining here will not help matters. If you still have not learnt from the last two elections, then you should be reminded that internet blogging, over-attendances in rallly are not going to determine whether you can win the votes. Everything is on the ground and not on this virtual ground.

Anonymous said...

MM Lee calling Gomez a liar and dare him to sue is just a great demonstration of how PAP is a political gangster. They call CSJ and JBJ hooligans, and yet they acted much worse!

Talking about the first world govt. Does that sound like an action of a first world govt?

Anonymous said...

I wish that more Singaporeans can think like you.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Martyn See, get those cameras ready. It would seem another opportunity for a documentary is coming your way.

I'm not at all surprised Mr Gomez is a target. Many people actually like him, and he's been active since his student days. He's also criticised the PAP in print and been energetic at the Think Centre - the political think-tank he formed.

The man is highly productive, energetic and therefore a "threat" to PAP hegemony. He's done a lot under his own steam, as one determined rugged individual and been fairly adroit (or perhaps just lucky) keeping the wolves at bay.

Until now.

The best the PAP can do is to make something out of a non-issue in a desperate attempt to browbeat yet another dissenting voice of reason.

MATILAH SINGAPURA!

Jevon Louis said...

I found your article to be well-written and rather balanced. Personally, I share your sentiments. I support and am appreciative of several PAP policies but find their recent rhetoric with regard to the Gomez saga to reek of arrogance and to be self-serving. I hope voters see through it and pick their candidate based on who really will serve their interests best.

Anonymous said...

Empty vessels make the most noise. All this noise about Gomez confirms what I have been feeling about the PEANUTS AND more PEANUTS PARTY.

Anonymous said...

truly, what a man with small heart!
don't deserve any merit nor respect.

Anonymous said...

Well done, this is a fantastic piece of politcal comment.
Do hope this piece gets to the Aljunied GRC residents to help them in their Wise decision.

Mickell said...

Poor Gomez. What was he distracted by anyway? In the video footage, there appeared to be nothing distracting him while he was filling out the form. Distractions he claimed must be noises inside his head.

Anonymous said...

i think in sg, u are guilty till you prove your innocence. Not the other way round as mentioned.

Anonymous said...

"Even the blind can see the PAP can't withstand a decent election without resorting to lawsuits and threats. Didn't know they were so fucking insecure. "

Believe me, there are many BLIND singaporeans around.

Anonymous said...

theres still plenty of foolish ppl around who still choose to believe the PAP... what can be said?

kt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

finally there is some waking up! *hoots* and can PAP stop harping on that matter. get a life.

Anonymous said...

Good one!

What's more important? Fixing the Election Department issue or policies to improve the future of fellow Singaporean? Let's move on ....


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. - Edmund Burke

simonsezblog said...

If PAP feels that WP should come clean about the Gomez incident, then it should also be said that PAP should come clean on a number of incidences, eg. Suzhou Industrial Park, Dhanabalan happy-slappy, etc.

For instance, then PM Goh Chok Tong when announcing LHS's pending succession, referred to the rumour of LHS slapping Dhana in full view of the Cabinet. Goh laughed it off, saying that he must have "amnesia", as he could recall such an incident.

Would such a statement stand up in court? Why confuse the public? Goh should have categorically said "No, such a thing never happened", and asked all cabinet members to say likewise. That should have been the PAP gold standard for such an important issue regarding the character of the future PM. Why the double standards? Let’s face it – politics is dirty, simply that.

While the caliber of WP is still wanting, my question is, will the opposition ever grow if it gets decimated at every election by the PAP juggernaut? A strong and credible opposition may grow from a weak opposition, but never from a non-existent opposition.

But why the need for opposition? Simply this – no empire lasts forever. Even with PAP in power for a long time, Singapore can never be at its peak for long. That is the law of nature and atrophy. Who knows, maybe a renewed WP, SDA or even SDP will be the equivalent of PAP 30, 50 years from now.

On 6 May, vote wisely for the long term future of Singapore.

Anonymous said...

A very well written piece of article. Thank you.
Unfortunately, it is in the nature of man , especially those holding positions of authority and power, to always believe that they are in those positions because they are the best in society. As a result, they sincerely believe that they therefore have exclusive monopoly on the best ideas and know what is best for everyone else. By virtue of their self perceived intellect and intelligience, those in power sees themselves as leaders and everyone else mere followers whose voices need not be paid heed to unless it serves their interest to do so. Like in days of feudal societies, the "mandarins' are what count in society, the rest being mere peasants whose preoccupation must be to make ends meet on a daily basis and leave it to those in government to decide what is good for them (peasants).
Western societies have emerged from this feudal mode, which they too were once in long ago, but at some point in time the enlighthened human mind realises that human being are sinful creatures and given to uninhibited natural leanings, will tend to lean toward evil then to good. As such, those in power cannot be given absolute power as absolute and unchecked powers will corrupt absolutely, if not immediately, then it will over time. It is therefore futile and suicidal for a society and its people to believe that we can ever find a sinless man, let alone a group of sinless men, who is / are beyond reproach and temptations. If not for anything else, and for this purpose alone, having an alternative party voice in parliament will provide check and balances against any temptations toward abuse of power. Yes, it will make governing a little more tedious and we may lose a percentage or two of growth in the short term but, in the long run, we will avoid having to, like many feudal societies of the past, resort to physically violent and damaging revolution to enforced a change of government by which time, we would have lost all that we worked for. I hope the ruling PAP will realise that, and their own expereinces would have thought them this lesson, no matter how stringent their recruitment campaign is for suitably qualified individuals, and no matter how sincere they are in working for the good of Singapore, they can never see through the human heart and that they do not hold the monopoly to knowledge to all things and that they too can be sincerly wrong in the end.
As a responsible ruling party, the PAP must therefore see it in the longer term interest of the people of Singapore to foster and encourage greater partcipation of the people in the political process through freedom of expressions, associations, development of alternative responsible political party as an alternative voice representing the people and also as check and balance to its own ideas. I would consider the ruling party as not a responsible party and not one working for the interest of Singapore if they make themselves as indispensable and that the fate and survival of the party and country are linked as one. As an analogy, to me, if an employee were to make himself indispensable to the organization, regardless of how capable, hardworking and sincere he is, and is therefore able to hold the organization to ransom, he will be someone I will want to quickly find ways to minimise his "arbitrary powers". No one individual or group of individuals should ever be allowed to make themselves so indispensable as to be allowed to hold the survival of a country to ransom.
Unfortunately, as I said earlier, those in powers will always believe that they are there because they are the best and therefore will not see the necessity for accountability and check and balances on their exercise of powers. It is therefore left to the people to ensure that such checks and balances are put in place through the electoral process. I hope therefore that voters who have the privilege of voting will exercise their rights wisely and not be swayed by lift upgrading, estate upgrading etc.
Concerned Citizen, PRC

Guangwei said...

if your post is not anti-PAP, then what is it?

Anonymous said...

The PAP is incompetent. It is not the same PAP it was 40 years ago, so they do not know what's best for us.

serenedit said...

you are spot on.
You tell the truth
Even if you lie, which I assure you I don't believe it to be,
i dare not say so.
Who knows I can be sued.
I worry we will reach a stage where
even if I postulate it
i can be sued.
I shall be on safer ground if
i say nobody lies
but that does not say anything about
saying the truth?
i lie
i mean lie low
how low can i go

peter loh

leopsyche said...

Perhaps Messrs. Wong and Yeo would deign to listen to some Asian words of wisdom:

"He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good." -- Confucius, Analects.

Anonymous said...

The PAP has always adopted this attitude of "Mightier than thou! Holier than thou! and Whiter than thou!". If the PM feels so strongly that his party consists of candidates full of integrity, let him reveal to the nation how Mrs Ho Geok Choo, an MP of West Coast GRC was recently forced to quietly resign from her position as Vice President Human Resource in SIA Engineering Co. over a corruption case and the case was hushed up! WE SINGAPOREANS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN KEPT IN THE DARK, LIKE THE NKF CASE UNTIL IT CANNOT BE CONTAINED AND MADE SUCKERS OF THEIR POLICIES!

Anoonymous said...

Awesome and insightful articles :)

GE2006 has again credit the subterranean powerful WHITE TERMITES AND THEIR COLONIES out to destroy and devour every innocent being. Psycho you and think you are an idiot.

Is Singapore truly a democratic country or more like a Communist?

S A D S A D

Anonymous said...

way to go... i can only say i'm impressed.. keep up the good work.. it's only stuff like this that makes the alternative media robust and worth the effort.. traditional media, quoting from rockson.. mediacock..