Opposition party leader Yaw Shin Leong draws online flak for revelation in his blog
BY SUE-ANN CHIA
HOW should an opposition leader vote in a general election (GE), especially one who is contesting the polls?
Workers’ Party leader Yaw Shin Leong voted for the ruling People’s Action Party candidate in the 2006 GE – and has now found himself in the eye of an online storm.
Mr Yaw, a Bukit Panjang resident, had revealed in his blog that he voted for the PAP’s Teo Ho Pin who was contesting the single-member constituency (SMC) against Singapore Democratic Party chairman and former opposition MP Ling How Doong.
The disclosure was just a one-liner: Teo Ho Pin (MP) – Good MP. I voted for him in GE06.
And it was hyperlinked to Dr Teo’s blog.
However, it soon appeared on a popular online forum and sparked a furore among netizens who registered more than 100 postings.
Many attacked him for voting for the other side and making public his vote. One posting called him a “political opportunist and hypocrite” for doing so.
They also criticised him for sending conflicting signals.
Mr Yaw, the WP’s organising secretary, had led a team in 2006 to contest against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his team of five in Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Said a netizen: “He was a candidate contesting against PAP and rallying for voters to vote against PAP in one constituency, but himself voting for PAP in another.”
But Mr Yaw, 33, in defending his actions, said he voted for the better candidate.
His latest blog entry, posted on Monday, said: “I do not believe in opposition for opposition’s sake.
“There is nothing inherently wrong for me to vote for an MP, regardless of his/her partisan background, whom in my opinion is the better man who can better serve the interests of Singapore and my community (Bukit Panjang SMC).”
He also said, in reply to comments made on his blog, that “in view of Mr Ling’s past performance and antics, I just could not bring myself to vote for him”.
When contacted yesterday, Dr Teo said he appreciated Mr Yaw’s support. “It is his personal choice,” he added.
Political observer and law lecturer Eugene Tan believed Mr Yaw did what was right.
“It is a responsible and principled approach to voting that entrenches democracy and ensures that Singapore will continue to have good leaders,” he said.
THE RIGHT TO DECIDE
“We respect that our members have the right to decide how to exercise their vote. However, we would expect that if they live in a constituency which WP is contesting, they would vote for the WP candidate.”
WP CHAIRMAN SYLVIA LIM, on Mr Yaw (above) voting for PAP’s Dr Teo rather than SDP’s Mr Ling