Revelations about NDP Marching Contingent

The Workers’ Party’s (WP) 60th anniversary exhibit did reveal some interesting information, one of which should be of particular interest is a letter concerning the WP’s involvement in the NDP marching contingent for the parade segment in the National Day Parades.

In the letter, then secretary-general and WP MP J.B Jeyaretnam queried if the WP would be allowed to participate in the NDP’s parade segment through a marching contingent, given that it has one MP in parliament. The answer by the government, through senior parliamentary secretary for MINDEF, Phua Bah Lee, is no, there will be no participation by the WP although it has a seat in parliament (and therefore also a legitimate representative of the people) with the reason given that there are many political parties in Singapore, the minimum threshold for a party to be represented during NDP via a marching contingent is that the party must win at least 15% of the seats in parliament. Of course, the senior parliamentary secretary for MINDEF at that time was a PAP MP and records showed that Phua Bah Lee was the PAP MP for Tampines until he stepped down in 1988.

Now, this correspondence raises a few questions.

The annual NDP parade is an event is an event funded by taxpayers’ dollars. And certainly it is an event that would consume more taxpayers’ dollars then any other project in a financial year. Case in point, in a parliamentary reply to questions on NDP costs, defense minister Dr Ng Eng Hen revealed that at the Marina Bay floating platform, it would cost $15.7 million to $17.9 million. If it is held at the Padang, it would cost $20.6 million and the SG 50 parade itself cost $40.5 million. The sole parade at the sports hub cost the state $39.4 million (Link).

At the same time, the government knew and still knows that it is a herculean task for the Opposition to win a single seat in parliament, what more a near impossible feat to win 15% of the seats available, with laws closing down all forms of press except for those that toes the government’s line, and the mass arrests of dissidents which spread fear among anyone who would dare to go one up against the PAP. (That said, some of those detained were legitimately Communist sympathisers and supporters, though there were some who had nothing to do with the Communists who were also arrested and detained without trial. Nonetheless, whether it was done for purposes for security or not, the arrests and detentions without trial did strike an atmosphere of fear as mentioned by Chiam See Tong’s biographer Loke Hoe Yeong which dissuaded many from standing against the PAP).

Surely the government knows this and to say that there was an oversight in the decision making process in excluding the WP would be ludicrous. NDP parades are often planned with meticulousness and even if there was an oversight in the decision making process no oversight would entail the exclusion of the SDP, SPP and WP from participating in the parade segment for more than 30 years and running. It can as such be safely said that the exclusion of Opposition parties from the parade segment is deliberate and calculated.

And so these are the questions that should rightfully be asked regarding the correspondence between J.B Jeyaretnam and the state. The presence of the PAP in the marching contingent year after year has one purpose in mind – to entrench the message that at the end of the day Singapore and the PAP are inseperable, in short a political message to serve the interests of the ruling party, a narrow clique of people whilst sidelining the rest, as if they did not play any role in Singapore’s nation building. Given that millions of taxpayers’ dollars gets pumped into the NDP, is it appropriate for it to be spent as a propaganda project to serve the partisan ends of the PAP by entrenching themselves as the gods of Singapore when the NDP is supposed to be about Singapore, transcending above politics and a celebration of the contributions of Singaporeans? Wouldn’t spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars on projects with partisan agendas instead of nation building a form of misappropriation of money?

If the PAP government knows that given the rules and the culture it set in place it would be impossible for any Opposition party to be represented in the parade segment of NDP, why does it still allow themselves to be represented with a marching contingent? How is the principle of fairness as advocated in the national pledge upheld through this practice? And shouldn’t the parade be about Singapore instead of it being about any one political party?

And lastly, why is the person responding the senior parliamentary secretary for MINDEF instead of a MINDEF official such such as the permanent secretary for instance? Or is the government blurring the lines between state and parliament? Shouldn’t a parliamentarian’s job be to represent the people? And if an MP is just another bureaucratic arm of the government to rubber stamp their decisions shouldn’t he/she be paid much less than the $25k they are drawing from taxpayers?



N Chan




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8 Responses to “Revelations about NDP Marching Contingent”

  • pap selected INDIAN president:

    we believe expecting pap to make sense, the right sense, is to expect the pap pig to climb trees, even though they call the pap pig a goat.

    to say it in another way, to expect pap to change is to be stupid. because pap is never going to change. with the CPF hole dug so steep, pap shall do all it can to continue to rule. can even say inside is not within 200m just to continue to rule. can even say an INDIAN is a malay just to continue to rule.

    because the CPF hole is dug too deep. even stop digging is not going to help as the CPF hole is dug too deep.

    things are brightening up. today injuries in mrt. 70% sheep unlikely to tolerate when injuries turn into permanent kaput.

    inside is not within 200m? an INDIAN is a malay? WTF.

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  • bgkl:

    Papaya is garmen and garmen is papaya, never mind who the FARK the majority or minority is!

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  • Amos exposed PAP hypocrisy:

    Smart move by JB for asking formally even if he knew what the answer was going to be. Now WP has written proof of bias and abuse by PAP. This is consistent with US Court findings (twice) that is why it gave Amos Yee asylum. Also the same reasons why LiShengwu should seek asylum in US. He cannot lose. Moreover, he can get US Court to agree to his view that the courts in Singapore are indeed “pliant”.

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  • Only in SG - Indian = Malay:

    Through bumbling actions, the pappy forced SG to accept an Indian as SG Malay Prez.
    That is raw, dominant “we know best” power.
    70% should understand that they will not stop there.
    70% wake up !

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  • PAP is BEST:

    PAP best one, National Day is big event, cannot show opposition on TV. This is bad thing, TV is good thing cannot show bad thing. Want to appear on TV must wear white, no white no TV.

    If you keep show opposition on TV, next time they will win then PAP no more. Must treat them like invisible one nobody know who is opposition. PAP is stupid help all opposition become famous like JBJ, Dr Chee, Roy, Amos, if not they get 90% vote already. WP is nobody hear before one wont get vote one.

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  • Change We Must:

    So the NDP is for the PAP and its members only but not for Singaporeans. So why border to celebrate the ND with them, since it is their party. Let’s us celebrate outside Singapore.

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  • Patriot of Temesak:

    They had or have the fa…g audacity to give free tickets and seats to opposition to WATCH but NOT participate leh!!!

    AND…the OPPOSITION lan-2 accepted leh!!!

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