Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Barbeque and molehill

Make a Mountain out of a MolehillWho would have thought that these two words would characterise the early part of the Singapore GE 2006? But it has, with the PAP hammering the WP (no pun intended) incessantly for the last few days over Mr Gomez's oversight at the Elections Department and his threat of action against the Elections officials before he discovered that he, Mr Gomez, was the one who had made the mistake.

The WP's Mr Low Thia Khiang has very wisely got Mr Gomez to apologise publicly over the incident, throwing in a translated version in Chinese for completeness. But the PAP would not relent, insinuating some bigger issues around what Mr Low calls a molehill. So the skewering of Mr Gomez in public goes on and on. To me, Mr Gomez is proving to be a disaster for the WP. It now puts into jeopardy whatever chance the WP had of winning the Aljunied GRC, it being its strongest team in these elections. It would be such as pity if the WP lost on this incident alone.

If you ask me, I tend to agree with Mr Low. The PAP is building a mountain, and it is making sure this mountain is overarchingly high. So high that it will bury the WP. The PAP is milking this incident for what it is worth. But this is politics.

However, if you reflect on it, this oversight could have happened to anybody. In fact, the PAP's own MP, Mr Gan Kim Yong, who is also a Minister of State to boot, had a similar encounter on Nomination Day. He thought that he had forgotten to submit a document on Nomination Day. He rushed back to the Nomination Centre only to discover that it was a false alarm. So the PAP should not make too much of the issue lest the mountain comes crashing down on them instead.

The lesson to learn is: Everybody makes mistakes. Just don't push your mistake to somebody else, and worse, threaten them. People do not take kindly to threats, especially when they know they have done nothing wrong.

SM Goh Chok Tong wisely said 'Move on'. The point has been made. Don't have to continue the witch-hunt and psycho-analyse this thing to death. The PAP should listen to its party elder and move on to more substantive issues.

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