For the third time in four days, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean has kept up pressure on the Workers’ Party (WP), questioning the integrity of WP Hougang candidate Png Eng Huat.
“Mr Png was not truthful when he tried to explain away why the WP did not select him as an NCMP,” Mr Teo said in a statement to the media.
He was responding to WP’s explanation on the selection process of Non-Constituency MPs (NCMP) at their by-election rally on Tuesday, which was sparked by DPM Teo’s questions to the WP over their choice of NCMP following the 2011 poll.
Mr Teo had wondered why WP selected Gerald Giam instead of Mr Png for the NCMP post, as both of whom had contested the East Coast GRC together. Their team finished as best performing losing Opposition candidates and were thus eligible for the NCMP post.
The DPM then suggested that that the WP is not sending their “best man” to contest in Hougang.
Following the DPM’s questions, Mr Png said on Monday that he “took (Mr Png’s) name out of the ballot” for the post because he was against the scheme.
Confusion over his statement began, however, after an anonymous source sent the details of WP’s central executive council meeting to the media. It showed that Mr Png had gotten just one vote in the ballot. Mr Giam received seven votes.
This prompted the WP chief Low Thia Khiang to clarify the balloting process on Tuesday (22 May). He said everyone in the East Coast GRC team were considered for the NCMP post.
Mr Low added that the leak of the CEC meeting minutes was “calculated” to discredit the party and Mr Png.
Responding on Wednesday (23 May), DPM Teo launched a fresh attack on the WP, saying that Mr Low explanation was “opposite of the picture that Mr Png first tried to paint”, referring to Mr Png’s statement on Monday that he had taken his name out of the ballot because of personal opposition to NCMP scheme.
“Thus, Mr Low confirmed that Mr Png had not been telling the truth, and had indeed been rejected by the WP CEC as an NCMP,” Mr Teo said. “This is the real damage to the WP and Mr Png’s reputations.”
DPM Teo also repeated his earlier question about why the WP decide to send Mr Png to contest in Hougang given that their CEC deemed him not good enough to send to Parliament as NCMP.
“Voters should re-consider whether the WP is just tugging at their emotions but actually taking voters for granted,” he said.
Taking a swipe at WP’s slogan for the the 2011 General Elections, ‘Towards a First World Parliament’, he concluded in his statement: “For a first world Parliament, the basic pre-requisite is that parliamentarians must be honest and truthful.”