Photo of Heng Swee Keat from thestraitstimes

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat joined in the fray to support Bukit Batok by-election PAP candidate Murali by openly misleading the public and defaming the Opposition’s rally speaker, Dr Paul Tambyah. Minister Heng Swee Keat said that he was astounded when he heard Dr Paul said character does not matter:

“I read with dismay Prof Paul Tambyah’s statement yesterday claiming that character doesn’t matter.

This means a person can lie, cheat or betray someone with impunity. Prof Tambyah and his colleagues believe character doesn’t matter, a person’s words are irrelevant and we should ignore their actions. They believe they should be allowed to do or say anything and not be held responsible for their actions or words.

How are voters to believe what such politicians say or hold them accountable for their actions if they were running a town council?”

However, the SDP’s Dr Paul did not make statements saying “character doesn’t matter” or anything to the effect as the Finance Minister claimed. Below is the actual quote from Dr Paul Tambyah:

“We believe you can criticise what a person says or what a person does, but don’t attack the person … It’s not right to question his character … Attacking his character is uncalled for. A person is not defined by his or her actions or words.”

This is the second defamatory remark by the ruling party, with the first defamatory attack by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who accused the Opposition candidate, Dr Chee Soon Juan, of being “crazy” and “unrepentant”. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman, Senior Minister of State Grace Fu and Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob also weighed in to support their candidate Murali.

In the meantime, while all the dirty work is being carried out by the Ministers, the PAP candidate Murali played the angel role by claiming that he is “only interested in helping the unemployed”. The PAP candidate has no comment to the defamatory remarks made by his bosses.

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