3 May 2006

Singapore opposition candidate a 'liar' Lee says

From the Bangkok Post. MM Lee seems to be trying to gaud Gomez into an argument about who the 'liar' is. Ultimately resulting in yet another successful defamation suit on behalf of the Lee family. Don't take the bait.

" … These are an educated man's dirty tricks. It's a higher level of trickery. As long as we have this kind of opposition, Singapore opposition politics will always be at that low level," he added.

Every word in the statement made by Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng is "justified and can be defended in any court", said Mr Lee.

"So we say Gomez is a liar and dishonest. He can say its libel. He can sue Wong Kan Seng. He can sue me. But he's got to go to the witness box," said Mr Lee.CNA

Defending and winning a position which is contrary to the whim of the PAP is unheard of in a Singaporean court.

Singapore (dpa) - Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew called an opposition candidate a "liar" and accused him of stage-managing an incident involving an election form, but on Wednesday James Gomez was still in this week's general election race.

Acknowledging he was aware he had become "the candidate under fire," the Workers' Party (WP) candidate said he was focused on fighting for a parliamentary seat in the body dominated by the ruling People's Action Party (PAP).

In his first rally speech ahead of Saturday's polls, Minister Mentor Lee accused the ethnic Indian Gomez on Tuesday night of trying to damage the Singapore government and the Elections Department by falsely making it seem as if he had been deprived of a minority candidate certificate when he claimed to have filed a form when in fact he had not.

Turning to Workers' Party chief Low Thia Khiang, who has stood by Gomez and vouched for the sincerity of the candidate's weekend apology to the department, Lee said Low is "still trying to cover up, shield James Gomez."

PAP leaders, including Lee, called for the 41-year-old researcher to withdraw noting the government's evidence proved his "blatant dishonesty."

Gomez said on April 26 that he had submitted his minority race candidacy form to the department and threatened consequences if it was not found, but a security camera recording showed that Gomez had put the document back in his briefcase while at the department.

Supporters have launched an online petition drive to keep him in the race.

Analysts said the issue is theatening to hijack the hustings.

"I don't think if it drags on, it will do either party any benefit," said Eugene Tan, an assistant law professor at Singapore Management University.

"In the end the voters will probably stand to lose because the real issues that matter from the PAP and opposition's perspective don't get aired."

Lee's remarks followed the release of an 11-page statement by Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng on the saga. Putting together data from closed-circuit television footage, taped phone calls at the department and a conversation between Gomez and PAP candidate Inderjit Singh, Wong said there had clearly been blatant dishonesty on Gomez's part.

Gomez said at another rally that he expected to remain the target of the PAP and predicted the attacks would intensify.

He urged voters to use calls or cellphone messages to tell others to keep focused on the election, regardless of PAP efforts to break down the opposition.

Low, one of the two opposition legislators in the 84-seat parliament, said it was more important to focus on election issues. "The party has moved on," he said.

Singapore requires parties to assemble ethnically balanced tickets, including Malays, Indians and other minorities in the predominately Chinese city-state.

The WP, Singapore Democratic Alliance and other opposition parties are trying to thwart the PAP's aim of a clean slate in parliament. The opposition managed to stop the PAP from catapulting back into power on Nomination Day for the first time in 18 years, with other parties fielding candidates in 47 of the 84 seats.

Lee Hsien Loong, in his first election since becoming premier in August 2004 after Goh Chok Tong stepped down, dispatched the senior minister to the two opposition wards in hopes of swinging voters to the PAP and removing Low and and Chiam See Tong.

Low, 54, has been in parliament for 15 years, and Chiam, 71, for 22 years.


Anonymous said...

aiyo... PAP needs to get a life... trying to trap Gomez into a lawsuit game. What kind of dirty politics they are playing... still challenge opposition about being first world.... really funny games they are playing!

Foxy said...

this is so childish...

it is seems that some members of PAP are always 'so busy' doing 'more important' stuff, wonder if they really got time to do walk-about.

the worse thing is that this issue is getting so much media coverage, taking away the coverage of the more important news and happening... want to have some quality TV time also cannot

Anonymous said...

aljunied pap mps even stationed at serangoon mrt station to receive workers coming back from work.

sick of listening to all these news, repeating the humming story

Anonymous said...

I think that OLD MAN is a LIAR himself...liar dictator who will do anything to win the election!

What to do, it might be his LAST ELECTION...then he will be JUDGED by GOD in heaven or Hell???

Anonymous said...

I have a terrible feeling, that the old man will like ex british priminister margaret thatcher go down in history as politicians who have killed their own parties.
look at the tory party in the UK today. Within the next ten years look at the PAP party, with luck the Singapore voter will have grown some balls and begin to fight for his rites, that is is course if they are not all in jail because they could not pay the punative libel fees because they dared to fight the government.

Anonymous said...

I think if the govt is so sure that there is a crime, charge Gomez, lah. Why call people names ?

Anonymous said...

According to the PAP, Gomez would have claimed that the Elections Department deliberately lost his form and he would have accused the ED of colluding with the PAP to deprive him of his Indian Minority Certificate....which....Gomez did not require to contest in Aljunied GRC (Aljunied GRC requires a Malay candidate). Doesn't make sense, right?

The WP has declared that Gomez was never considered for contesting Ang Mo Kio GRC which requires an Indian candidate. This explanation makes PERFECT SENSE: it would be highly unlikely for Gomez to enter parliament by defeating the PM in AMK GRC. Furthermore, the WP team fielded in AMK GRC is obviously the weakest WP team with the least chance of winning. So I believe that all along, Gomez planned to contest Aljunied GRC (Gomez has been courting Aljunied since 2001) where he, along with the strongest WP team, would stand the best chance of winning.

This begs the question: Why did Gomez bother to apply for an Indian Minority Cert? I think Gomez really wanted to keep PAP guessing whether he was going to lead the WP in AMK GRC. It was a 'wayang' for the media and the PAP so as to hamper PAP’s preparation for the election. There is nothing wrong with a bit of deception to keep your enemy guessing what your strategy is.

The real question is: Do you believe that Gomez wanted to submit his Minority Form and he forgot about his non-submission due to too much distraction? If this explanation sounds reasonable and possible, you must also accept that when Gomez showed up to collect his form, he was genuinely upset about the form being misplaced (hence his irritated reaction) but he was NOT trying to frame anyone.

Do you believe that Gomez is trying to FRAME the PAP and Elections Department for losing his form? Can you recall who started the media controversy and the name calling?

What does Gomez have to gain out of framing the Election Department? PAP says Gomez would have made the integrity of the ED and PAP an election issue; where is the proof? The WP does not have the track record of SDP when it comes to questioning PAP integrity. Even if we assume Gomez was going to frame the ED and the PAP, who has the immense resources to convince the public otherwise? Who is the public likely to believe?

Did Gomez really expect to get away with framing the ED? Gomez was in a closely monitored environment with multiple CCTV cameras which PAP claims Gomez was not aware of. Even from the CNA video footage of the Gomez incident (go to the CNA website), I can clearly see the CCTV cameras and they are not concealed. Moreover, every opposition politician knows that the ISD monitors your every move, especially during elections! It would have been a suicide mission for Gomez to attempt framing the ED.

There are a lot of speculative "Gomez-would-have-accused-PAP/Elections Department-of-collusion" accusations being made by the PAP. The PAP has an excuse to attack Gomez because of the lack of independence of the Elections Department. The WP Manifesto is right: the Elections Department should be a neutral and independent office and not under the direct control of the PAP. Why must every public service in Singapore, from the LTA (fixing flooded roads) to the Election Departments be linked to the PAP?

All this self-righteous sound and fury is very distasteful and not becoming of a first world government.

Anonymous said...

Well, maybe Gomez is just acting blur to cover up a silly mistake. Or maybe, he's trying to reclaim some credibility, at the expense of ED, after that funny debacle 5 years ago. Or hmm.. trying a foolhardy protest against the minority system?

But whether this or that, the incidents don't look good on him - comes across tty dis-organised fellow there. Talk talk gift-of-gab type. Mistake or can't do task, humtum others through talk talk. Not a nice impression.

Anonymous said...

he is careless, both in what he did (or did not do) and in what he said about it; it would have been more effective to criticize him just for that, but someone wanted to enlarge the issue and junior guys have to follow - some of them look quite strained making the effort