RONALD LEE: Usually it’s the PAP that shoots itself in the foot, and the best example of that is old Goh putting down Tin Pei Ling during GE2011 (drumroll) when she was still a member of his own GRC team. THAT was simply astounding.
But in the case of Bukit Batok, it looks like Paul Tambyah has done it for Dr Chee Soon Juan. His statement about judging a man by what he can do and not by his character was, well, pretty uncharacteristic of a SDP strongman.
He was trying to defend Dr Chee when he said in an interview that “a person is not defined by his or her actions or words”. Later on, Paul qualified that “A person is not solely defined by his or her actions or words although they might reflect his or her values. We are not one-dimensional people as Mr Heng seems to think we are.”
He was referring to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who said that its “astounding” that you don’t judge a person by their actions because they could turn out to be total rogues.
I tried hard to understand what Paul was trying to say, but for the life of me I couldn’t make sense of it even after he tried to put his statement in context. He probably meant that Dr Chee is a different man now than he was before, or something along those lines, but it was poorly-worded and possibly a slip of the tongue.
I’m afraid that whatever hope of the SDP of winning in Bukit Batok has been destroyed. It’s difficult to swing 30 percent of the votes your way, but Paul’s statement has possibly shrunk that margin. He gave the PAP a chance to make a meal of it, and they did with very big grins. It gave Mr Heng the chance to open the door to Dr Chee’s past, with his choice of words to remind voters they could be voting for someone who could “lie, cheat or betray someone with impunity”.
As it is, Dr Chee’s standing is already fragile. You can be sure the PAP are going to latch on to this and come back to it again nearer to polling day. Seeing the way they attacked right from the first rally, the white team are out for blood, and it’s unfortunate that they’ve been given another opportunity to sharpen the knives further.