Chee's family: He'll just keep going

Dr Chee's family continues to rally behind him after SDP's less-than-satisfactory showing

FAMILY: (From left) Dr Chee Soon Juan's two daughters, An Lyn and E Lyn with his son Shaw Hur.

When Dr Chee Soon Juan's daughter E Lyn returned home one day with a poor score in her mathematics test, she was afraid to show her father the results.

E Lyn, now 13, says she was fearful her father would scold her.

On Friday, the tables were turned.

It was Dr Chee, the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), who had returned with a less-than-satisfactory report card.

The SDP candidates, led by Dr Chee, lost to the People's Action Party (PAP) team in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

The margin of defeat - 33.38 per cent of valid votes won - was well below the 39.92 per cent obtained in the 2011 General Election.

This despite great expectations from pundits and indications on the ground.

Sitting in a room with other candidates at the SDP office in Ang Mo Kio, E Lyn and her sister An Lyn, 16, and brother Shaw Hur, 11, sensed their father's disappointment.

"Maybe it's not the time. (But) there will be a time in the future," An Lyn told The New Paper on Sunday early yesterday morning.


The defeat is a minor setback, adds E Lyn, reflecting a maturity beyond her years.

So no, you are not likely to see the last of Dr Chee.

"Just keep going and don't give up," she says of the future.

"This time it doesn't matter because next time he can work harder."

Recently, the siblings and their mother made a video clip to wish Dr Chee, 53, luck in the General Election.

In that video, E Lyn says that despite her poor maths results, her father comforted her and told her not to care about the results as long as she had put in the effort.

Son Shaw Hur had tried to comfort his father during those tense moments when the bad news filtered into the room at the SDP office.

A tired-looking Dr Chee, a former psychology lecturer at the National University of Singapore, sat at the end of a table staring at a laptop screen.

Shaw Hur, a cherubic teen who occasionally stepped outside the room with E Lyn to study the results that were projected on a wall, noticed his father "was kind of quiet in the room".

Shaw Hur says: "I feel proud of him that he didn't get so down about not winning this time in the election."

Without a doubt, most of the opposition parties were caught off guard on Friday night.

The major vote swing - 69.86 per cent - has given the PAP a strong mandate.

The strong support was attributed to the PAP playing "a masterful campaign in terms of the timing, the use of the state resources and infrastructure", says SDP's Prof Paul Tambyah.

SDP failed to secure any foothold in the two GRCs and three SMCs it contested.

Says Dr Chee at a press conference: "Well, I won't deny that it has been hugely disappointing. But then again...

"There has been a swing against the opposition. People have made their decision. The only thing we can do is to continue to look forward."

There were mixed signals previously. Online chatter suggested that a more acceptable, newly minted Dr Chee had been impressive in his comeback after 15 years in the political wilderness.

He was absent from the political arena after being declared a bankrupt in 2006. He had lost two hefty defamation suits to former prime ministers Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew.

At this General Election, packed crowds greeted his return at his rallies.

Says Dr Tambyah: "I think the image that sticks to my mind from this election is the line of people waiting to get Soon Juan's signature stretching past midnight on Tuesday night."


Among the listeners at the rallies were his children and wife.

They were highly visible - online and in person - throughout Dr Chee's campaign.

"I feel quite proud when he (Dr Chee) goes on stage. The crowd always cheers very loudly. And I feel very happy for him because he has gone so far," says E Lyn.

Dr Chee's children seem grounded, with no sign of envy at not having the creature comforts or the latest gadgets of their peers.

E Lyn adds: "Well, my friends will have expensive mobile phones or cars or stuff like that.

"But I think I'm just okay with it because I'm used to it."

The Chee family had shuffled quietly into the SDP office on Friday and left pretty much the same way, though they looked a little drained from all the campaigning.

Says Dr Chee's wife, Dr Huang Chihmei: "When you're tired, you take a break. You rest for a while but you continue."

They left for their home in Toa Payoh in the family's old maroon Nissan Presea.

Like its battered owner, the car had a few dents. But it remained worthy enough to continue its journey.

"Maybe it’s not the time. (But) there will be a time in the future."
— Chee An Lyn

PAP's comeback kids energised

Finally, they're through, after previous debuts

"In 2011, after the loss in Aljunied, what went through my mind was what I needed to do to overcome the setback. Now, what preoccupies me are all the things I have to get down to doing to fulfil my responsibility to the residents who have given me their support." — Mr Ong Ye Kung (above)

Call them the comeback kids.

People's Action Party's Mr Ong Ye Kung, Mr Desmond Choo and Dr Koh Poh Koon had all tasted defeat in their political debut.

But the tide has turned for all three who mounted their return in separate Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs).

A former top civil servant, Mr Ong was touted as being of ministerial calibre. But he failed to win a seat in Parliament after the PAP's Aljunied GRC slate lost to the Workers' Party (WP) in 2011.

Mr Ong, now MP-elect for Sembawang GRC, told The New Paper on Sunday: "In 2011, after the loss in Aljunied, what went through my mind was what I needed to do to overcome the setback.

"Now, what preoccupies me are all the things I have to get down to doing to fulfil my responsibility to the residents who have given me their support."

He added: "I also thought a lot (about) my former colleagues in Aljunied - George (Yeo), (Lim) Hwee Hua, Zainul (Abidin Rasheed) and Cynthia (Phua). They were my mentors when I started this journey."

Mr Ong told reporters at the post-election press conference: "The lessons of victory are sometimes more important than the lessons of defeat, and I've tasted both."

Mr Desmond Choo. 

Mr Choo, a former police scholar and now senior executive with NTUC, was defeated by WP's Yaw Shin Leong in Hougang SMC in 2011.

After Mr Yaw disappeared amid allegations of an affair in 2012, Mr Choo lost again, to WP's Png Eng Huat, in a by-election.

Mr Choo moved to Tampines this year to join Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Masagos Zulkifli, Mr Baey Yam Keng and new face Cheng Li Hui. It was a move in the right direction.

Mr Choo told TNPS: "I am very grateful for the Tampines residents' faith and trust.

"During our Tampines thank-you walkabouts, many residents shared that they had supported us because they believed that PAP was still the team they trusted to take care of Singaporeans.

"They trusted that we could solve their short term issues but still remain keenly focused on creating opportunities for their children."


He added: "The results also showed that we've had some success in engaging Singaporeans, and we must now re-double our efforts to involve even more Singaporeans in the policy space. It is important that we continue to work hard to engage more and honour that trust."

Like his political colleagues, colorectal surgeon Dr Koh was defeated when he was fielded in the Punggol East by-election in 2013.

This was after the resignation of PAP MP Michael Palmer over an extramarital affair.

Dr Koh, touted then as a "son of Punggol", was beaten by WP's Lee Li Lian.

This time, he ran in the Ang Mo Kio GRC team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Dr Koh Poh Koon.

Of the swing in favour of his party, Dr Koh said it could be a combination of factors.

He said: "I cannot put a finger on the predominant reasons for the vote swing towards PAP (this GE)."

Dr Koh felt that the incumbent MPs "are doing a good amount of groundwork behind the scenes, which also saw votes for PAP going up across the constituencies".

Poll: Hard issues like political and economic stability won voters over

Hard choices like political and economic issues, and estate management won us over, say voters

WINNERS: The Workers' Party team in Aljunied GRC, made up of (from left) Mr Chen Show Mao, Mr Low Thia Khiang, Mr Pritam Singh, Miss Sylvia Lim, and Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap, before their Thank-you Procession yesterday.

Give me stability and give me PAP.

No "or", no "if", no "but".

Political stability, it seems, was key to the overwhelming swing of votes in favour of the People's Action Party (PAP), reversing the trend in 2011.

It was the No. 1 factor cited by most of the 150 voters The New Paper on Sunday polled from key swing constituencies.

If the swing caught the opposition off guard, the reason might come as a surprise.

In a doorstop interview before the Aljunied team from the Workers' Party (WP) began their Thank-you Parade, MP-elect Sylvia Lim told reporters: "I think everyone was surprised at the swing towards the PAP...

"Perhaps some people were concerned because all 89 seats were contested and there is a perception that the opposition movement is growing strong.

"There could be a push back because of that because the people still feel comfortable with the PAP as a government. That could be one reason.

"Second, probably people are less upset with the PAP this time than in 2011 because of the changes that they have made.

"Some people say that perhaps it could be because of the feel-good factor from SG50 or the memory of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew."

She is only partially right, going by TNPS' random poll of 150 mostly young voters in the four constituencies where the swings were most significant.

Some residents were concerned about things like the cleanliness of their estates, while others were thinking of the management of the economy.

Mr Lee's death in March was also a factor.


Miss Alexandra Toh, 30, who is self-employed, attributes the swing to "the economic situation".

"It's not necessarily because (voters) love (the PAP's) policies completely but they would rather vote in the devil they know than the devil they don't."

Mr Chua, 27, an undergraduate, said: "The young locals are more highly educated now. We learn economics and we all have, at least, some sense of how it works.

"We are not the kind of crowd that is swayed by 'minimum wage' and 'more free healthcare provisions' because the younger generation know that these perks, if implemented, need to be funded somehow.

"If it's not by increasing the tax burden of Singaporeans, then how will it be funded?

"While these goals are music to the ears, the WP missed out in explaining how they would go about doing it, especially if they say they want to fight for (a) lower goods and services tax.

"I guess that is where they lost a lot of the votes."

Some, like marketing executive Miss Chong, 25, who declined to give her full name, felt issues such as welfare and the management of town councils were a factor.

"Perhaps residents like myself don't see improvement and thus, the movement towards getting someone else to take over. That seems like the direction of voters even though WP still won Aljunied."

Mr Wilson Ang, 44, a lecturer, added: "Perhaps the slim margin (win) can be attributed to the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) saga. People are associating (the WP) with it now.

"Maybe what they need are new faces in the team."

Civil engineer Xesman Tan, 25, felt "political stability" was the biggest reason for him.

Mrs Nora Ang, 40, a lecturer, believes that the results in Aljunied GRC were not that different compared to other areas.

She said: "I felt that this year's election had little to do with municipal issues but rather, national issues.

"The general sense is that the PAP had done sufficiently well. Aljunied residents would have felt the same as Singaporeans."


Civil servant David Tan, 33, said: "Goodies like the Pioneer Generation Package, and the policy changes and improvements (transport and building infrastructure to cope with growing population) that have been taking place after GE 2011 could also have convinced voters to go for the PAP.

"There is also the fear factor that if people don't give the (ruling party) a strong mandate, then who can steer Singapore through the political and economic uncertainty ahead?

"The quality of the opposition parties is also under scrutiny. Perhaps people lumped the opposition parties together and didn't have much confidence in the opposition parties that they saw."

Mr Sofian Sidik, 40, who is unemployed, said: "PAP had put (out) their track record of the past 50 years for people to see. This election (is happening) as we celebrate SG50, so people likely voted for the team that could get them a good - if not (a) better - SG100.

"There is also the National Day Rally where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about Mr Lee Kuan Yew being asked whether there would be a Singapore 50 years from now.

"Mr Lee's response: 'Of course there will be... even better!' resonated with voters. That feel-good factor, plus Mr Lee's death and the Pioneer Generation Package, combined to give PAP a large victory."

Ms Joni Seah, 21, a lab technician, had doubts about the opposition's alternative policies, saying they were "not as specific compared to what the PAP was able to offer during the rallies".

She added: "Substance is important. When people attend rallies, they can compare (what each side is offering) and decide for themselves which one they prefer."


Mr M. Raj, 29, a despatch rider who is married with two sons, said: "The PAP government had promised my parents a good, comfortable life for their sons (his brothers and him).

"I want them to stay and lead the country so they can make the same promise to my two sons."

Mr Alvin Liu, 29, a salesman who is married with no children, said he was moved by Mr Lee's death.

"It was when Mr Lee died that we, the younger generation, learnt all that he had done for us, and how he himself lived simply.

"I believe that was what led to a swing vote for the ruling party."

Madam Laura Pan, 30, a secretary who is divorced with one daughter, said: "I want the economic stability provided for by the ruling party but I am still not happy with its policies that are not in favour of single mothers.

"I guess we can't have our cake and eat it."


Estate management was a big factor at Punggol East. Mr Allan Sim, 30, an air traffic controller, said: "Some voters want to give a swing to see what the difference will be in living amenities.

"You see only one auntie cleaning the block (here). I am not sure if it was because there was not enough manpower or the people here are just plain dirty."

Mr Andy Ng, 53, civil servant: "After 2½ years, we have had enough... I have been calling to complain about the dirty carpark and water taps left running. They were slow to act on my complaints.

"This place is less than 20 years old but it is very run down. We are upset, but not because of national policies. In the end, it is who we want to vote in to represent us in the constituency."

Madam David Sheila, 50, a nurse, said: "Workers' Party was not up to our expectations. The rubbish bins were not cleared daily as there is not enough manpower.

"We spoke to the cleaner personally, and we found out that one cleaner manages several blocks. Previously, we saw a cleaner daily or every other day. But now we hardly see them.

"We pity the cleaners because they find it hard to cope. It is beyond them."

Mr Neduchezian Suppiah, 52, who runs a newspaper agency and a drinks stall, said: "Rubbish in front of the chute was left there for one to two days and it was very smelly. Instead of throwing the rubbish down the chute, some residents left it beside the chute.

"I also need political stability for my children's generation."

A housewife in her 50s who wished to be known only as Mrs Tham, was also unhappy about the upkeep in the area.

She said: "Our parks are dirty. You can see rubbish. And dried leaves are not cleared. Previously, it wasn't like this.

"I just hope that it is not like this after PAP takes over. We gave WP a chance but it didn't deliver."

"The obvious thing to do is focus on what we've always focused on and that's to ensure the residents interests are looked after. The mission of WP in Aljunied doesn't change."
 MP-elect (Aljunied GRC) Pritam Singh

"We'll keep looking at what residents need and want and how can we bring government policies to them and how we can bring their views to the Government."
— Anchor minister and MP-elect (East Coast GRC) Lim Swee Sayon his team's strategy when it comes to the opposition

What was on voters' minds?

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PAP's GE 2015 success: Call it the LHL landslide

The GE 2015 results, a turning point for PAP, are a testament to PM Lee Hsien Loong's mettle

STRONG-WILLED: PM Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching paying their last respects to Mr Lee Kuan Yew on March 29.
STRONG-WILLED: PM Lee at the Singapore General Hospital after he woke up from a prostate biopsy.
STRONG-WILLED: PM Lee and his colleagues at a media conference after the PAP lost Aljunied GRC to the WP in GE 2011.
STRONG-WILLED: PM Lee in 1992.

Friday became another reason to remember 9/11.

For the opposition and their supporters, it will be remembered as a tragic rejection of their hopes, ideals and manifestos.

For one man, it was a turning point.

In a year of round-figure jubilation, of renewed sentiment for our founding father, Singapore voters returned, warmly, overwhelmingly, to the embrace of the People's Action Party (PAP).

It was a momentous reversal of a decade-long downward trend in the PAP's popularity.

But look beyond the numbers and you realise that it was, at heart, a thumping mandate for one man who put himself, his leadership and his reputation on the line.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's frontline fight was a perilous ploy.

The 63-year-old was in your face, front and centre, on lamp posts all over Singapore, on TV almost daily, on rally stages in opposition wards.

Lose more seats, and his leadership would have been in question.


He now affirms his legitimacy to lead - both the party and the country.

The result - 69.86 per cent for PAP - "exceeded expectations", said PM Lee yesterday.

With the big GE 2015 issue unequivocally settled, three questions become pertinent:

- What now, Workers' Party (WP)? Retreat, push on, or pout?

How now, for hopes of alternative voices and fears that the PAP, bolstered by a vote of confidence, would be emboldened to do as it pleases, no matter how unpleasant?

Why now? Was the swing a result of PAP's feel-good shift in social policies, new goodies and SG50?

Or sentiments stirred by the passing of Mr Lee Kuan Yew?

Or fears over town council management and an uncertain future?

Or a sense of security in retaining the status quo?

Now the sacred slips of the ballots have been tallied and the bookies, so cocksure, so misguided, so wrong, are left to count their losses and curse their calculators.

The swing in PAP's favour flies in the face of unprecedented turnouts at opposition rallies.

It comes at a time when online acrimonious chatter against the PAP was at its loudest - brash, bold and belligerent.

"The silent majority" is a phrase borne of irony. Popularised by disgraced US president Richard Nixon, the phrase began life in the 19th century as a reference to the dead.

On Friday, the silent majority in Singapore rose and, with the simple gesture of casting a ballot, roared in numbers too great to ignore.

In supposedly new-normal Singapore, voters opted for business-as-usual.

Looking back on the boisterous fervour of support at opposition rallies and, in the light of the yesterday's result, a Hokkien saying comes to mind: Ho kwa, boh ho chiak (looks good, tastes lousy).

Rallies as a measure of voter support? Rubbish.

Social Media as barometer of popular sentiment? Bah, humbug.

Then there was the emotional factor, which some among the opposition milked for all it's worth: Perceived past persecution by the PAP and the lopsided playing field.

Yet Mr Lee emerged triumphant.



A measure of a man lies in the demons he has had to tame, then overcome, in the past.

Consider what he has gone through: Two bouts of cancer, the death of his first wife early in his marriage, the loss of a GRC under his watch, the death of his dad less than six months ago.

Anyone who has ever experienced or known someone who has battled cancer would know the courage it takes to fight death, bounce back, and move forward.

Perhaps that explains his gamble in GE 2015. That behind that easy smile is steel forged in the furnace of physical trauma and emotional pain.

On Tuesday, PM Lee invoked his father's exact words (even mannerisms) at the UOB Plaza rally.

"Whoever governs Singapore," he said, "must have that iron in him."

By turning the tide on 9/11, PM Lee seems to have proven his mettle.

His father once famously remarked that, should there be a sense that Singapore was heading in the wrong direction, he would rise from his grave and set things right.

He can now rest, appeased.

So, too, can PM Lee proceed, thoroughly reassured.

Local artists shine at STGCC

Local lightsaber maker Mr Jay Chen demonstrates how to operate a lightsaber made by Singapore-based company SaberMach.

This year's Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) provided the perfect collision of pop-culture from around the world.

Held at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Sept 12-13, the eighth edition of STGCC was host to some of the hottest names from both Asian and Western pop culture including renowned comic book cover artist Adam Hughes, Chinese-American cosplayer Stella Chuu and Japanese designer Shigeto Koyama, who helped bring Big Hero 6's Baymax to life.


Apart from being home to the latest toys as well as a multitude of eye-catching cosplayers, the event was also a platform for local artists to showcase their talent. 

In recognition of local talent, STGCC invited artists from Singapore to design special SG50 Munnies — customisable figurines — to celebrate the nation's 50th birthday.

Mr Mas Shafreen, 42, was one of the artists selected to customise an SG50 Munny. His design — a combination of Greek mythology and a Chinese art style — was created to show Singapore's diverse culture.

He said: "(The Munny is) kind of like Singapore. We have different things mixed together and I wanted to make something holistic and beautiful."

Other contributers to Singapore's pop culture scene such as Mr Jay Chen, a lightsaber maker at SaberMach and artists Mr Keh Choon Wee and Ms Sarah Isabel Tan.

They could be found at the area called Artist's Alley, where - much as the name suggests - local artists show off and sell their prints, sketchbooks and other paraphernalia containing original and art based on TV and film.

WATCH: Local artists at STGCC 2015


WHAT:  Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention

WHERE: Marina Bay Sands, Sands Expo and Convention Center, Level 1, Halls B and C

WHEN: Today (Sept 13) 10.00am – 8.00pm

COST: One-day pass $19




Tin Pei Ling did the right things to win

PAP’s Tin Pei Ling dominates in three-way fight

Tin Pei Ling, the MP for MacPherson SMC at Bedok Stadium with supporters

Some stallholders at the Block 79 Circuit Road wet market proudly display a picture of Ms Tin Pei Ling, of the People’s Action Party (PAP).

This is to show their support for her, said MacPherson resident Louisa Soh, 52.

Those contesting the ward may have thought the 27-year-old giggly girl of 2011 would be a pushover.

Instead they were confronted by a confident 31-year-old woman and mother.

In just four years after winning her MacPherson seat as part of the Marine Parade GRC team, Ms Tin became a hit with residents.

Yesterday, Ms Tin won the three-cornered fight at the new MacPherson SMC with 65.58 per cent against the Workers’ Party (33.6 per cent) and National Solidarity Party (0.82 per cent).

NSP’s Cheo Chai Chen’s slip with his “too-busy-as-a-mother’’ statement hit him hard. He got only 215 votes.

The so-called three-way fight in the ward also never really materialised, with Mr Cheo scoring the worst among non-independent candidates.

But Mr Cheo’s slip is not the reason why Ms Tin won. Sheer grit did, said Iseas-Yusof Ishak’s research fellow Mustafa Izzuddin.

“She has a strong presence in the ward. She’s done the right things, walked the ground and related to the residents, in particular the elderly, who have also taken to her quite fondly,” he said.

Undeterred by the online flak she got, the former senior associate at Ernst & Young Advisory quit her day job a month after the 2011 General Election to be a full-time Member of Parliament of one of the oldest wards.

She told The New Paper last night: “For anyone, there would be challenges at the beginning. Because I was a new face, a rookie, it took a while for people to know me better, to warm up.

“But really, at the end of the day, it’s about just working very hard and trying my very best to solve problems that residents face.

“Along the way, we have had some successful cases and they’ve also seen positive results of some of the programmes rolled out.”

She introduced initiatives like the MacPherson Care Fund to help needy elderly residents with their healthcare expenses, and the MacPherson Children Chapter, which provides English lessons to children from less privileged backgrounds.

“Our work will not stop here, and we’ll continue to build on it,” she said.

Miss Soh, who has lived in MacPherson since 1980, highlighted the facelift the estate has seen since Ms Tin took over. The improvements include estate upgrading, a new childcare centre and lifts at overhead bridges.

“Her youth may not be a bad thing. She’s like a breath of fresh air in an old constituency like MacPherson.

“The estate has become very vibrant over the years,” said Miss Soh.

Now that Polling Day is over, Ms Tin says she is looking forward to spending time with her month-old son Kee Hau.

“I missed out on quite a few moments in his first month. Hopefully I can catch up a little bit more (after Polling Day).

“I’m quite sure we will soon be back to work on the ground again, but I think it will be a bit more balanced than the nine days’ campaigning period,” she said.

What about Number 2? “We’ll see how it goes first! Now, it’s been just past one month for Number 1,” Ms Tin said with a laugh.

Her youth may not be a bad thing. She’s like a breath of fresh air in an old constituency like MacPherson.
— Miss Soh, a MacPherson resident

GE2015: The ups and downs

We know that the People's Action Party (PAP) won big in GE2015.

We also know the result took people by surprise.

A total of 2,304,331 votes were cast.

With 2,462,926 registered electors, that meant a turn out of 93.56 per cent. 

There were 47,315 rejected votes.

Here's a handy crib sheet to of the who, what and by how much to use when discussing the election results.


'Evil' paedophile ring sentenced to 107 years' jail for 'terrifying depravity'

The judge described their actions as "evil beyond human understanding".

The accounts of their crimes made some feel "physically sick", said Judge Julian Lambert at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.

Seven men from across England raped and assaulted three children — a baby, a toddler and a young child — between 2013 and 2014.

They were convicted of 30 child sexual abuse offences. They were given sentences totalling 107 years.

The men include a married father of two and three Registered Sex Offenders and were convicted in April following an investigation — Operation Voicer — led by the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and seven regional police forces.

Andrew Quinn from the National Crime Agency said: "The offending is the worst you could ever imagine. It does actually make me feel physically sick. I've been a police officer for 28 years and this is the worst, horrendous crime I can ever talk about."

The group shared indecent images and videos of children being abused.

Three of the men admitted to raping a baby.

The court also heard that the men would drive for hundreds of miles for the opportunity to abuse or rape children.

John Denham, 49, Matthew Stansfield, 34, Adam Toms,33, Christopher Knight, 35, Robin Hollyson, 30, David Harsley,51 and Matthew Lisk, 32, would  live stream the abuse and attacks. During these online sessions those watching would encourage the abusers.

Advice was shared over how to drug young victims.

To get to children, the men would groom families. In one case, a pregnant woman was approached with a plan to abuse her baby once born.

Judge Lambert said: "In the worst nightmare, from the very deepest recesses of the mind, at the darkest hour of the night, few can have imagined the terrifying depravity which you men admit."

"What you contemplated and what you did involved the most horrific abuse of a baby and very young children.

"Your thoughts and your deeds are beyond human instinct and reason and are evil beyond rational understanding."

"What you did is contrary to all nature and humanity and you each appear to have a chilling tendency to centre the world on yourselves and your depraved desires without regard for the innocent and vulnerable."

Jailed: (From left) John Denham, Matthew Lisk, Adam Toms, Christopher Knight, David Harsley, Matthew Stansfield, Robin Hollyson PHOTO: NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY

Authorities say that the men are part of a larger organised criminal network.

Operation Voicer has resulted in the arrest of 26 to date. Six were in positions of trust – three teachers, two charity workers and one was employed by a local authority.

In a statement, one of the victim's families said: "As a family we now need to mend - seeing the perpetrators being brought to justice is the first step."

Source: BBC, Sky News, National Crime Agency



PM Lee: 'Young people understand what's at stake'

The Prime Minister recognises the social media savvy, new generation expect their views to be heard and given more weight

His mission was to get new talent into Parliament as Singapore’s next generation of leaders.

After the results were announced, it was mission accomplished for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with high-profile newbies Ng Chee Meng, Ong Ye Kung, and Chee Hong Tat getting elected.

And PM Lee scored a bonus as well — an almost 10 percentage point swing in favour of the People’s Action Party (PAP).

When all the votes had been counted, the PAP had won 69.89 per cent of total valid votes cast, compared with 60.1 per cent in the 2011 election.

This is the highest vote share the PAP has had since 2001, when it garnered 75.3 per cent.

Speaking at the post-election press conference, PM Lee looked relaxed and even cracked jokes — a stark contrast to the grim look he wore during the post-election press conference in 2011.

“I am happy with the outcome of the election,” said PM Lee, who is PAP’s secretary-general.

“It is a good result for the PAP, but it is an excellent result for Singapore.”

PM Lee noted that part of the reason for this big swing was what the PAP Government has been doing since 2011. This includes making improvements to housing, healthcare, public transportation, and the introduction of the Pioneer Generation Package. (See report above.)

He said this result would not have been possible without the strong support of younger voters.

“It shows that the young people understand what is at stake, support what we are doing, really to secure a bright future for Singapore,” he said.

Voters had expressed the desire for a diversity of voices in Singapore’s political system during the election, PM Lee noted.

“We have a new generation, with better education, with access to social media, who expect their views to be heard and given more weight,” he said.


“And we have been engaging Singaporeans directly as a result of this, enabling them to make a constructive contribution.”

PM Lee also relished the fact that PAP’s Charles Chong managed to win back Punggol East SMC from Workers’ Party (WP) incumbent Lee Li Lian.

“He has done an outstanding job, as he has done more than once in his career,” he said.

“And it showed that even though it was an opposition ward, we can...take the fight to our opponent, make the case to the voters, and win them back and serve them well.”

While the PAP could not win back Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC, PM Lee said he was pleased with the performance of the PAP team in the two wards.

He pointed out that the PAP team in Aljunied, which was led by veteran Yeo Guat Kwang, almost won, with just a 1.9 percentage point separating them from the WP team.

“Next time we will get there,” he said.

Despite the success of his party at the election, PM reminded his newly elected Members of Parliament that it doesn’t mean they can coast from now on. In fact, it is the opposite.

He said: “This mandate means that you have to work extra hard to serve because we are trustees and stewards. We are elected to take care of Singapore to the best of our abilities.

“And we will have to account for our performance at the next general election.”


"And it showed that even though it was an opposition ward, we can... take the fight to our opponent, make the case to the voters, and win them back and serve them well."
— PM Lee on regaining Punggol East SMC

PM Lee touched on a number of other issues during the press conference:



Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he is looking forward to a robust exchange in Parliament with the returning opposition MPs, all of whom are from the Workers’ Party (WP).

“We have mechanisms in Parliament to debate,” he said.

“It’s a matter of making full use of the mechanisms, of the content that goes in, and determine whether we have a good debate or not.”

He also said he hoped that the WP, which won six of the 89 seats in the General Election, would come fully prepared to debate on issues that they raised during the hustings.

For example, the WP candidates had suggested implementing a minimum wage — an issue that they had not raised during their previous term in parliament, PM Lee said.



When asked about Singaporeans First chief Tan Jee Say’s comments that the results did not reflect the feedback and unhappiness that the opposition party had heard, PM Lee said that he was not familiar with the feedback mechanisms of the opposition.

PM lee said: “I would summarise that in this case, it was not just that he heard people were unhappy but he was trying to make people unhappy.”



He added that the Government would continue to do what is right for the country.

“We carry out the policies which we think are necessary and we do that whether the majority is one or 50 or 70.”

He said the support has been good in this election and it reflects what the Government had done over the last four years or more.

“Not only doing the policies which are necessary but working hard to explain to people who understand it and will support it,” said PM Lee.

“Even during the election campaign, we felt it was necessary to touch on issues so that people understand our motives in doing them.

“So nobody can say that I’m doing this behind anybody’s back and when the moment came, we avoided the subject.

“We confront the subject, we explain what we are doing.”



He also said that this being the SG50 year was important as it made Singaporeans realise what was at stake as the country moves towards the next 50 years.

“We have taken great pains to explain to people why this is not just a party but really, it’s time for introspection, time for commitment and time for resolution. And this election is part of that.”