Hmmm. Not sure what this is really all about. Is Gomez trying to play some funny games here? Most other Singaporeans might have short memories, but I still remember how Gomez's team effectively self-sabotaged themselves on Nomination Day in the last elections and disqualified themselves. Intentionally? That's what the conspiracy theorist in me suspected the last time round. Now it seems that we might be looking at a repeat kind of incident.Channel NewsAsia
Saturday April 29, 6:17 AM
Elections Dept releases CCTV pictures on encounter with James Gomez
SINGAPORE : Did Workers' Party candidate James Gomez submit his minority certificate application form on April 24?
He claims he did, but according to the Elections Department, he did not.
The department felt it had to put the record straight, and has released a copy of the security camera recording and the transcript of a telephone conversation of what had transpired between Mr Gomez and the department's staff.
The department says this has to be done to leave no doubt in the minds of voters about the integrity of Singapore's electoral process.
On April 26, Mr Gomez went to the Elections Department and spoke to its staff Ricky Tan to enquire about his minority certificate.
Mr Gomez claimed he had submitted an application for the certificate two days earlier.
After checking, the department's staff informed Mr Gomez that he had not done so. But the Workers' Party candidate insisted he had filled the form and handed it over to Mr Tan, and demanded he checked again.
Mr Gomez then warned Mr Tan of the consequences and left his mobile phone number behind, asking that he be informed before lunch.
At 1pm the same day, Ms Florence Tan, another official of the department, called Mr Gomez.
In the telephone transcript, Ms Tan says: "Actually according to our CCTV, you did not submit the application form for the Indian and other minorities."
Ms Tan also told Mr Gomez that the security camera recording showed him filling up the minority certificate form.
But he kept it in his bag and went off for an interview.
When he returned to the counter, he did not take out the form and then left with a lady colleague.
Upon hearing this, Mr Gomez immediately abandoned his original account of what had happened.
In a telephone transcript with an official of the Elections Department, Mr Gomez says: "Oh I see, I'm very happy to hear your version of the story. I will just go back and check my bag because I'm outside now. I'm dealing with the administrative part. If there's any further information or if I need some information, I'll get back to you."
The official says: "But I have to let you know that the application for this certificate closed on Monday."
Mr Gomez says: "Yeah, yeah, of course. I'm very well (aware) on that. That's not a problem."
The official says: "Okay?"
Mr Gomez says: "Yeah, that's not a problem. Don't worry."
To date, Mr Gomez has yet to call back, according to the Elections Department.
Still I can't help thinking that Singapore is an over-stickler for rules. All too frequently, the Singapore authorities fuss so much over the technicalities of rules and completely miss the real substance.
Remember when Singapore was ranked 140th out of 167 countries for press freedom? Our ministers harped over the detailed mechanics of the rankings methodology as if Singapore was ranked No. 2 or 3 and they felt that Singapore deserved to be ranked No. 1. Please lah, 140th place is already in the bottom boondocks; even if the researchers changed their methodology the way you wanted and Singapore moved up 20 spots to 120th position, you still won't be winning any prizes.
Now the same kind of over-stickling is probably about to occur in James Gomez's case. Okay, he was supposed to file some application form to prove that he belongs to a minority race. Can't the Election Department just check his NRIC? Take note of his surname? Or maybe look at the colour of his skin, and his face? Do you really need a certificate to know that this man:
....... is not Chinese? Duh.