Cleaning saga: Serious accusation shouldn't be brushed aside

SINGAPORE - Worker's Party (WP) chief Low Thia Khiang clearly stated in Parliament last Tuesday that he would find out who had asked the contractor to give a quotation for the Bedok hawker centre cleaning.

But a day later, he told reporters there was no need for further investigations ("Low: No need for further probe into hawker centre cleaning row"; last Thursday).

Days later, he said it was unproductive to continue arguing, and that his MPs' consciences were clear ("WP: Unproductive to continue arguing"; Sunday).

Former United States president Abraham Lincoln once said: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Obviously, Mr Low knew he had made a blunder. He is a shrewd politician and plays his political card dexterously.

In 2011, when I questioned Mr Chen Show Mao's decision to participate in local politics after his long absence from Singapore ("About Chen: Time will tell"; April 14, 2011),

Mr Low was quick to rebut the "aspersions" I had cast ("About Chen: WP rebuts Forum writer"; April 15, 2011).

Thus, it is unlike the party not to disprove a serious allegation made by a minister against its MPs' integrity.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan's accusation that two WP MPs were untruthful ("WP MPs 'untruthful', says Vivian"; last Wednesday) is not something to be brushed aside with the excuse that it is unproductive to continue arguing.

-Benjamin Chow Kok Fai

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