PAP Members Say Rising Vitriol On Social Media Is Hindering Recruitment Of Potential PAP Candidates

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PAP Leaders Say That Potential Party Candidates Are Concerned That The Political Climate For PAP MP’s Is Becoming Tougher

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” — Alan Moore

If you are a fan of Moore’s V for Vendetta, then this phrase needs no introduction. However, what needs introduction is the fact that our country’s longest-ruling political party may be encountering some difficulties in recruitment for the first time ever.

The People’s Action Party (PAP)’s search for future general election candidates has begun, as the political party reaches the mid-point of its current five-year term. However, it seems that the ruling party has met with a few hiccups in their recruitment drive, according to mainstream media reports at least.

In an article on 3 Dec, The Straits Times published a scoop on potential candidates for the upcoming 2021 General Elections. While the newspaper claimed that at least 200 individuals have been identified, it seems that the search for potential candidates is more difficult this time round.

The reason? Well, the malicious comments by social media users.

People are more afraid to step up into government?

With three more years left till the 2012 General Elections, existing PAP leaders, party activists and supporters have started to nominate individuals to be earmarked as potential election candidates. The search is currently headed by PAP’s organising secretary Gan Kim Yong.

Mr Gan will be assisted by younger potential fourth-generation PAP leaders such as Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat and Senior Minister for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Sim Ann.

However, it seems like the search for new faces is more difficult this year. ST listed some potential PAP candidates such as Mr Charles Lim, Mr Alvin Tan, Ms Jaclyn Seow and Ms Asyifah Rashid to name a few.

But, these potential candidates declined to comment on their situation. While this may be understandable given that the PAP is currently in the early stages of scouting candidates, there may be another reason why candidates have been keeping mum.

According to some of the MPs that ST talked to, potential candidates have turned down opportunities to represent the PAP. These unnamed candidates argued that the reason why they declined was because of the “more difficult electorate and rising vitriol on social media”.

Pasir Ris-Punggol MP Teo Ser Luck added that candidates he approached were concerned about this tough political climate.

What this essentially means is that Singaporeans’ keyboard warrior game is so fierce that it has deterred some candidates from stepping into the firing-zone. You would need to look no further than Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who has been requested by the public to commit hara-kiri on numerous occasions due to the disruption of train services.

There’s still time to persuade them

However, PAP MPs are pressing on in the search to find the leaders for the next generation. Marine Parade MP Seah Kian Peng shared that he has been asking candidates “to keep and open mind and to attend tea sessions first” before making a decision. This would give both parties a chance to assess each other.

With 15 out of the 21 Cabinet Ministers reaching the twilight of their political careers soon, it is evident that replenishment of talent and leaders are of utmost priority to the incumbent Government.

However, it seems that for the first time in a long while, the government may be afraid of Singaporeans and their harsh criticism.

Featured image from Facebook

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Trained in the dark arts as a keyboard warrior. The author is a firm believer that the pen is mighty.

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