Even though the dust has settled after the 2011 General Elections, there continues to be a chorus of dissent and dissatisfaction over the election of Miss Tin Pei Ling into Parliament. From the conclusion of Polling Day, a plethora of FaceBook pages have sprung up, and have respectively gained tremendous popularity on varied calls asking or petitioning for the removal or resignation of Miss Tin.
On a personal note, I do agree that her performance to date – from an assortment of press conferences, media interviews, and campaign assertions – leaves much to be desired: beyond her grassroots experience, she has not exhibited constructive traits as a parliamentarian; she has under-delivered rhetorically; and has not displayed the independence and maturity expected of politicians.
Nonetheless, it is a matter of choosing the lesser of the two evils. Many Singaporeans have expressed their dissatisfaction with her incoming Member of Parliament (MP) allowance – affectionately termed as her “tuition fees” – even though Miss Tin has not proven herself to be fully competent. Though overly-demanding for some, individuals should take that leap of faith to trust that her learning processes would be accelerated considerably. Continued squabbles and open expressions of firm opposition would only be disproportionately detrimental for the residents in the constituency; for they simply require a conduit to articulate their woes and correspondingly seek assistance. The aforementioned propositions for removal or resignation would also not be well-received by voters who had genuinely supported her for her personality or potential.
Naturally, given Miss Tin’s relative inexperience, constituents do have the right to expect more from her performance, as well as for additional manpower and resources to be dedicated to bolster her purported shortcomings. But, at the very least, instead of engaging in fruitless debate about her abilities, credentials and qualifications, she should be given a chance to show what she can do in office.
In the bigger picture, her election and the following articulations of disagreements do send out strong signals in two areas: first, whether the People’s Action Party (PAP) should be more judicious in its candidate selection process, so as to field more capable and well-received individuals for future General Elections. Second, it is then worth contemplating whether the group representation constituency (GRC) system continues to be justified, especially since it has been perceived as a mere political tool to allow weaker candidates to ride on the coattails of prominent ministers.