Home > PAP candidates > Goh Chok Tong – Poor Old Mentor desperately tries to save face

Goh Chok Tong – Poor Old Mentor desperately tries to save face

SINGAPORE : Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong has defended the quality of candidates put up by the ruling PAP for the upcoming election.

Speaking to the Singapore media delegation at the end of his visit to China, he said the PAP had, in the past, put up high-flyers, but then it was accused of being elitist.

“This time, the party has decided to select people who comprise a range of Singaporeans who can serve our future better. So in this slate of 24 candidates, we would have some people who will become office holders, then amongst them, some will become ministers, and hopefully among the new ministers will be a core team which can lead Singapore into the future,” he said.

He added: “Very interestingly, this time we have a large number of people very familiar with grassroots activities. They have served for many years in the grassroots. They are known to the PAP MPs, and they are fielded for that reason.

“They key is, have they got the dedication, the commitment, the conviction, the sincerity to serve the people? That’s the test for us – the character issue, the ability to serve the people.”

Mr Goh also offered a spirited response to critics of new PAP candidate, Tin Pei Ling.

He described Tin as being able to stand up to scrutiny, as well as being strong enough not to melt in the face of criticisms.

He said: “Tin Pei Ling was offered to me by PM as a candidate for Marine Parade GRC. I took her in quite happily knowing that she’s young, because I was thinking of her serving in MacPherson.

“MacPherson is an estate with a large number of old people, so I believe that she can reach out to the young, and the not so young and in particular, I would like her to do more to help the old people in MacPherson.

“I believe that for a young person to visit the rental blocks, the very old women stuck in the homes, a rapport can be forged between them. So that was my interest, so I has no difficulty accepting Tin Pei Ling into Marine Parade GRC, and there’s no reason to change my mind, having watched her.”

But Mr Goh concurred that the PAP took feedback very seriously. He said perceptions were important, and could cause a candidate to lose the election.

Mr Goh added that Tin Pei Ling was a strong person, who had taken valid criticisms well.

He said that if she was weak, he would not want her on the team, because if one goes into battle, one would want to have a strong person.

Tin, who had served for seven years in the grassroots, was recommended by two PAP MPs, and deemed suitable as a candidate.

“Unfortunately for her, YouTube – people have put it on, and then it’s a complete distortion and of course some sound bites of her which pitted her as a rather light-weight person. Well, that’s a superficial view of her,” Mr Goh added.

As to whether she would be an asset or a liability to his team, Mr Goh said he would not know until the election results are out. However, he believes she would make a good Member of Parliament.

Mr Goh also said the general election was not about Tin, but about the future of Singapore.

He said: “The key is to fight as a team and in the elections, I would hope that the voters will look at my team against the other team. So it’s team against team. And Tin Pei Ling should not be a distraction.

“I think you must know the opposition is going to find the weakest link and make her the red herring, turn her into a distraction so that the voters begin to chase after her.

“But is this election about Tin Pei Ling? No, this election is more than just Marine Parade GRC. It’s about the future of Singapore.”

– CNA/al


I thought it might be better to jump straight into conclusion.


  • SM dared not confirm whether Ms Tin is an asset or liability and yet he paradoxically said that Ms Tin would make a good MP. If she’s a good MP, then shouldn’t she be an asset? This spells no confidence.
  • SM defended the candidates especially Ms Tin without any concrete reference to her capability except her 7 years involvement with grassroots. Walking around the estate for 7 years is hardly proof someone sincerely wants to serve the community. I have walked around my current estate for more than 14 years.
  • I agree that there is a distortion of Ms Tin’s ability. But unless she’s showing something concrete instead of showing more fluff such as the post she posted on facebook (click here), she’s inviting more criticism and skepticism on her capability.
  • Does the SM even knows the new candidates well? But because they belong to the same party, he can’t criticize.
  • Can the SM reject the PM’s recommendation?
  • Another vote of no confidence comes when SM called voters to overlook Ms Tin and look at the team instead. If Ms Tin can be overlooked, then why vote her in? It only means she’s not significant. Why waste that $15,000 a month on someone insignificant? Unless of course you want to increase the numbers of PAP members in Parliament so that the party can dominate solely base on proxy of numbers. 
  • It’s true the election is not about Ms Tin. But if she is going to be one of the main figures that determines policy, there is a direct link to our country’s future. So why should not every candidate be scrutinized?
  • Overall, it shows desperation (not that the poor SM has much power to change anything), vagueness (again) and not connecting with the ground.

Lastly, does anyone understand what the heck SM is talking about regarding Ms Tin’s youth and serving the old? After reading multiple times I still don’t understand what is the point he is trying to bring across. More ambiguity? Or maybe that’s elite speech that is too elite to be understood by me as a common citizen.

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