Do the right thing and say sorry

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Politics
Tags: , , ,

Just when this blog published a piece on how hard it was to get the prime minister to say sorry, the People’s Action Party team in Aljunied Group Representative Contituency wrote a Facebook note which ought to have been an apology but instead turned out to be a denial.

The note titled “Response to Online Slander that Aljunied PAP team is not compassionate” is republished below:

We wish to clarify on the slander that has been viralling online, particularly on the accusation that we had pressed charges on a helpless, mentally handicapped resident who came to MPS (Meet the People Session) in Serangoon North and slammed a chair on the door.

We were wrongly accused that not only that we had not been compassionate, also that we had pressed charges against the poor boy. We didn’t press charges. The mother and son have been coming to MPS regularly and we had been helping them to get financial aids. We had continued to help after the incident and we will continue doing so.

We would like to urge residents and grassroots leaders to look out for those who require assistance but are hesitating to come forward to ask for help.

Facebook users have been quick to provide evidence that the PAP team in Aljunied GRC did indeed make a police report against the “helpless, mentally handicapped resident” mentioned in the note, posting a link to a news story published by The New Paper in May 2009.

According to the news story, the teen who slammed a chair on a door during a MPS wrote a note to apologise but the apology was not accepted. One of the PAP members of parliament in Aljunied GRC, Lim Hwee Hua, was quoted as saying, “I made it very clear to (the mother of the teen) that this is unacceptable behaviour. It is not justifiable in any circumstance. There’s no excuse to be violent.”

If the news report was untrue, why did the PAP Aljunied GRC team not sue The New Paper? The news story clearly showed that the Aljunied GRC team made a police report and did not appear to make any effort to have the police drop the charge after the teen, who was reported to have low IQ, apologised. Lim’s statement to The New Paper appeared to suggest that the police report was justified.

The PAP team in Aljunied GRC is already facing an uphill battle, and instead of apologising for their poor handling of the case, the team is denying its actions, handing valuable political ammunition to the Workers’ Party. One can imagine the kinds of political points the Workers’ Party will score if the party makes a show of seeking out this resident and promising to redress his grievance.

The PAP team in Aljunied should take a leaf from the book of their secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong and say sorry before it is too late.

  1. twasher says:

    As Mr Wang pointed out, it is trivially true that they did not press charges because only the AGC and the police can press charges against people. They are making use of people’s ignorance of the terminology ‘press charges’ to appear innocent.

  2. Aaron Ng says:

    Yup.. this was what I was trying to say when I wrote that they could have asked the police to drop the charges but they didn’t. They were trying to get all legalistic and technical with the point about them not pressing charges, and that is morally repulsive.

  3. Aljunied Resident says:

    This Lim Hua Hua woman has sounded so strict and unforgiving. As a mother herself, she should be able to understand another mother’s love for her child. Why serving the people has become “helping” the people? Why did she said that there is no excuse for violence? Even in the court of law, many judges tend to excuse a violent act if the circumstances and facts of the case lead to the need for exercising discretion and compassion instead of going by the letters of the Law. It is the spirit of the Law that the society should uphold, not the technicalities and the legalities. Humans are not computerised robots.

    I understand that she has been working with top echelon people, especially in Temasek Holding under Lee Hsien Loong’s wife, before she was parachuted into the political areana. That could be why she cannot empathise nor understand the hardship of the people.

    Worst still, it could be that political power and status have clouded her exercise of discretion, and become heartless, robotical, and legalistically officious.

    What Mr Chiam See Tong has observed and said seems to be true: “If you give a person a title, he changes …. but if he has humility and idealism, he is not so likely to change.”

    Many of their talks about taking care of the people look like advertising cosmetics, if not ineffective. Even the so-called schemes that aimed at helping the poor and needy are so strict, restrictive and full of technicalities that many of those who seriously need help have been disqualified by these for-show schemes.

    Such incidents simply suggest to us, that PAP leaders love to pull wool over the people’s eyes, thereby insulting the intelligence of the people. This kind of approach is the most self-defeating. That could be why more and more people are turning against the PAPies. That could also be why decent grass-roots leaders are now switching to support the Opposition Cause.

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