SINGAPORE - A past candidate for the People's Action Party (PAP) in Aljunied GRC has apologised for covering up a Workers' Party (WP) banner with his own.
Mr Victor Lye, now branch chairman of the PAP Bedok Reservoir-Punggol division and an active grassroots leader, said on Facebook on Friday that he has asked his volunteers to correct the mistake
This was after Facebook user Ong Yu Shan posted a photo of the banners on his Facebook page. It showed Mr Lye's Hari Raya banner, which showcased activities by the People's Association Bedok Reservoir-Punggol grassroots division, placed over a WP banner.
Mr Lye was a member of the PAP' Aljunied GRC team in the last General Election in 2015. It lost to the WP team led by Mr Low Thia Khiang.
Both banners also covered a third banner, which could not be identified.
When The Straits Times visited the banner site on Sunday night (June 24), only one banner remained – a WP Hari Raya banner.
Ms Ong wrote that she saw the banners when she passed by the spot within Aljunied GRC.
In response, Mr Lye confirmed that the incident did happen and apologised.
"Indeed, the banner should not have been placed this way. I have checked and asked our volunteers to rectify. Apologies. Thank you for highlighting."
The exchange took place in the comments section of a post by Mr Lye.
Replying to questions from ST later, Mr Lye said the incident should never have happened.
“I would never consider covering other banners. It should not have happened. An isolated incident and nothing sinister,” he said.
He added: “Once I was aware, I posted my reply (on Facebook). It’s a simple matter of verifying what happened, setting it right, and sincerely apologising."
He recounted how a young resident had asked if he was paid for his community work within the WP constituency.
"The answer is 'not a cent'. I told him we as volunteers even spend our own money doing community work," wrote Mr Lye.
He also wrote that another resident had asked if Non-Constituency MPs "are paid for their unelected seats in Parliament".
Said Mr Lye: "To this, I answered, 'yes'. Then, he laughed, 'but actually, you guys in Aljunied GRC lost by the smallest margin (of less than one per cent). Yet, opposition losers gets paid and sit in Parliament while you still walk the ground with no pay and no Parliament seat? Better you join opposition! Le siow ah!" (translated as "are you crazy?")."
The constitution allows for up to nine NCMPs from the opposition political parties to be appointed, to ensure a minimum number of opposition representatives. There are currently three - all from the WP.
In response to a question by another Facebook user, Mr Lye later acknowledged that volunteers in other political parties also do not receive any payment.
"I respect them for that and do not decry what they do from the heart. It is not about credit. It is about doing it because we care. We still do our best even if people say we will lose. And we did lose, but we are still here," he said.
The Straits Times has reached out to Mr Lye and WP for comment.