It’s the election season, and what does it mean? Lots of people knocking on your door asking if you’ve eaten, lots of people coming out of nowhere to ask if your meal is goody when you’re drinking coffee at the hawker centre and lots of people praying to you like this:
These are all fine and if you’re old enough, you’d know it’s an affair that happens every five years.
But giving money every five years to buy your vote?
That’s not normal because—
Reader Bao: But I really received—
—that would be considered “buying votes”, and the decision to vote for your leader should be from your heart and not your empty wallet.
Which is why when an allegation of a PAP candidate “buying votes” surfaced, he had to address them.
PAP Candidate Addresses Allegations That He’s ‘Buying Votes’ With One-Time $500 Help Scheme
Edwin Tong is the Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Law and the Ministry of Health. You might remember him as the man who was in the select committee set up to look into tackling the issue of online falsehoods, which has now led to the formation of POFMA.
He’s also an MP for the short-lived Moulmein–Kallang GRC from 2011 to 2015, and an MP for Marine Parade GRC since 2015. This election, he’s running in the same GRC he was previously from.
The man who looks like your friendly Science teacher became the next politician to be called out online after former opposition member Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss posted this:
It’s a flyer with two sides: one with Edwin Tong’s big smiling face that seems to be just one sentence away from asking, “Can I have your order, please?”, and the other side with information pertaining to something known as “Joo Chiat Care & Share Fund” which comprises a one-time assistance of $500 for the needy elderly in the area.
That post has garnered over 350 shares.
Chong-Aruldoss said in her post, “Curious as to why the PAP Candidate decided to mention this assistance sum of $500 as a subheadline in his election flyer. Won’t voters be led to believe that voting for him in the coming GE2020 would come with such a benefit? Where does this money actually come from?”
Last night (4 July), the man himself went to the exact same platform to address the allegations.
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Funds from Donations
Last night, at about 11:40pm, Edwin Tong posted this on Facebook:
While he didn’t mention that it’s a response to Chong-Aruldoss’ Facebook post, he did claim that “have been various allegations that the Joo Chiat Care & Share Scheme is aimed at ‘buying votes’, and only valid during the election.”
He wrote, “These are false, entirely unfounded, and clearly intended to mislead.”
“The Care & Share Scheme is aimed at helping elderly residents of Joo Chiat who might be in financial difficulties, to help tide over the difficult Covid period. No funds from the Government, PA or PAP were used to do this. The funds for the Scheme were raised entirely from well-wishers who made donations to help our residents. The Scheme was conceptualised before the Circuit Breaker, and the funds were raised some months ago. The Scheme was launched even before the GE was called.
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“The background to the Scheme, and the source of its funds, were explained when it was launched. Residents would also have received flyers, explaining the Scheme, well before the GE was called.
“The Scheme is available to Joo Chiat residents who meet the criteria, regardless of how they vote. The criteria for the programme is clearly stated, including in the latest materials, again. Further, it is not only valid during the elections, as claimed. It is in fact valid regardless of any elections.
“The allegations made are cynical and scurrilous attacks, calculated to undermine the good work done at Joo Chiat.
“I will continue to help those in need, even as we go through the election. This is the kind of community we have sought to foster in Joo Chiat over the years – a community of people who cares for one another, looks out for one another.”
He then posted an infographic about the scheme.
In this election, Edwin Tong is joined by Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, Seah Kian Peng, Tan See Leng and Mohd Fahmi Aliman to represent PAP.
They’re up against the Workers’ Party team which fielded Ron Tan Jun Yen, Yee Jenn Jong, Nathaniel Koh Kim Kui, Muhammad Fadli Bin Mohammed Fawzi and Muhammad Azhar Bin Abdul Latip.
In the last election, whereby the PAP team was led by veteran Goh Chok Tong, PAP won the constituency with 64.07% of the votes against a WP team.
Not The First Time PAP Candidate Has to Address Accusations
A few days back, a PAP candidate for Aljunied GRC was accused of…erm, “buying votes” with 2-piece chicken meals.
He, too, has come out to address the claims, saying that it was a programme for the needy that was planned before GE was announced.
The programme was then postponed.
Lest you’ve forgotten, polling day will be on next Friday (10 July). So what happens if you didn’t vote? Would you be jailed? Would you be barred from buying bubble tea for the next five years? Watch this video and you’ll know the consequences:
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