It’s still a gentleman’s fight: Choo

Deborah Choo

With things between both Hougang by-election candidates heating up, PAP’s Desmond Choo insists the battle for votes remains a gentlemen’s fight.

Over the weekend, both the PAP and Workers’ Party went into overdrive at their respective rallies, taking calibrated potshots at each other.

[see slideshow: Hougang by-election: PAP rally]

The WP had on Saturday declared that the single-member constituency is “not for sale” at any price, despite PAP’s repeated carrot-dangling upgrading promises. The party also dismissed Choo’s “free Teochew porridge” handouts, saying that voters would not be swayed by such freebies.

On Sunday, it was the PAP’s turn to hit back at their rally, with Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean questioning  the calibre and quality of WP candidate Png Eng Huat. When the WP had a chance to put the 50-year-old businessman into parliament under the non-constituency member of parliament (NCMP) scheme, Teo said the party instead chose fellow East Coast GRC running mate Gerald Giam.

Speaking to reporters on Monday at at Hougang’s PAP branch, Choo sought to defuse the mounting tension between both candidates.

“Those were the facts that he [Teo] said. I don’t think he interpreted it otherwise. It was true that that happened. He [Png] wasn’t asked to become an NCMP. It was the choice of the Workers’ Party. I think he [Teo] laid down the facts for the residents to decide,” said Choo matter-of-factly.

“It’s still a gentlemen’s fight. I think in a gentlemen’s fight we must present the facts to the residents. Do not add more to it; do not discount from it. Lay it out on the table for people to decide,” he added.

The 34-year-old also continued to insist he is “still his own man”.

Over the weekend, PAP heavyweights Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, DPM Teo and fellow members such as Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport, Josephine Teo, and Moulmein-Kallang GRC Denise Phua all threw their support behind the young Choo.

Choo readily added that nothing has changed, that his focus remains improving the lives of residents, and that policies he crafts are rolled out on a two-way communication basis with residents.

“So decide based on the candidate you see. Decide based on the facts that DPM Teo has presented, and then decide. I think that’s the way it has been,” Choo urged voters.