I received an email query from a state media journalist:
Hello Reform Party Team,
I’m Eugenia from CNA and am working on a story on the Ang Mo Kio Masterplan which was recently launched. (https://www.amktc.org.sg/ot_masterplan.aspx)
Seeing that the Reform Party contested in Ang Mo Kio GRC in the last election, I’d like to get your party’s thoughts on the plans set out for the area.
Also, I’d like to understand how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected your outreach efforts.
This will be a recorded TV interview, which will be part of a story that will likely air this Saturday.
Please feel free to drop me a call if you’d like to discuss this further. I look forward to hearing from you!
As the state media never print our responses or only print what suits them I have reproduced below my response on behalf of the Reform Party:
Thank you for informing me that CNA, a subsidiary of Mediacorp which is wholly owned by Temasek which is run by Ho Ching is going to be putting out a programme glorifying her husband the PM, in the run up to the polls.
You mentioned that Reform Party contested AMK in the last elections. In fact we also contested in 2011 when otherwise the PM would have enjoyed a walkover. We will be contesting AMK again in this election.
In a democracy the PM’s wife does not use state ownership and control of the media to do a puff piece on her husband which in turn will ensure her continued employment as head of Temasek. A position the salary for which in a democracy would be public information.
The pamphlet advertising his “master plan” has the PM’s face on it and his colleagues are clearly in PAP uniform. That pamphlet, which has gone or is going to every resident’s household, and the programme, which will be aired on CNA, is just a mechanism for the PM to avoid the limits on campaign spending and campaigning outside the 9 days legally allowed. The Reform Party cannot put out a leaflet to every household In this period using taxpayers’ money. Nor is it able to use the state monopoly TV channel. In every election we have contested we have been denied the right of reply. When we are asked for our responses or put out a press release the state media have either not published them or else published a single line or a few words, often cut to make what we say appear nonsensical.
Clearly the PM is insecure. As we saw in 2011 and again in 2015 when he spent more than 10 times what we spent per resident on defending his seat ($1.69 to $0.14). This figure of course does not include all the extra free promotion he enjoys by virtue of his control of print, TV and digital media. This is because the PM believes he has a divine right to rule and views himself as “natural aristocracy” and has never had to work for anything in his life and feels incredibly threatened by actual opposition. He is so afraid that he is already using his control of the media and state resources to try and fix this election.
Lee Hsien Loong may have been sheltered from real life for the last few decades because of his family name but that era is coming to an end. The day will come when Singaporeans will realise that a share of the freehold means a share in the enormous rise in value of the land on which their HDB is built. This is worth far more than a so-called Home Improvement Programme which brings shoddily constructed HDB blocks from the 1960s and 1970s up to the 20th century standards of other developed countries, let alone the 21st century. To add insult to injury the upgrades are paid for by the leaseholder and not the HDB. And at the end of the lease ownership of the upgraded property reverts to the Government.
You asked us what the Reform Party plan for AMK is. Firstly we ask that the PM and the Finance Minister finally answer my questions on the value of the reserves, the fake Budget framework, where the money goes that his Finance Minister socks away into long term funds, where the $3.5 billion that has been put into the Productivity Fund has been spent, whether the Government’s obligations to CPF savers are still covered by GIC’s assets, and how much the PM pays his wife. If the PM is able to answer these questions, I will then be able to produce a plan that without raising taxes gives not only AMK residents but all Singaporeans not just new toilets and tiles paid for with their own money but a share of the freehold and a gold Mercedes. Unless of course the black holes in the budget are there because the money has already gone.
Our outreach efforts have been suspended because during what is a rapidly evolving situation, where a second wave of infections is already happening and a third is likely on the way, to do anything else would be highly irresponsible. To us, the safety of residents and our activists comes first. The PM needs to lead like a man and stop trying to take advantage of the situation by holding an election during the worst global public health and economic crisis since 1945.
Regards Kenneth Jeyaretnam