Category: Current Affairs
Published on Thursday, 22 January 2015 00:00
The SDP wants Singaporeans to see the party as the country's voice in parliament.
Think of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and the first thing that probably comes to your mind is an image of a political that is the champion of the liberal human rights agenda in Singapore.
And that's what made the party's election campaign launch last Saturday so unusual. The panel members of the event made no mention of the party's usual liberal human rights rhetoric at all. There was no long winded lecture about the "soft stuff": Singapore's lack of democracy or right of assembly or freedom of speech. Instead the SDP focused on the "hard stuff": It reiterated it's intention to become the country's shadow cabinet by reminding the gathered audience that they've put out policy papers that propose changes to healthcare financing, education and housing. The SDP made no bones in telling the press in the room that the SDP is indeed a viable alternative to the Workers' Party and the PAP within the local political arena.
When asked by reporters to explain about the conspicuous absence of what the SDP has become known for Dr. Chee had this to say: The SDP had "never consciously gone for the liberal agenda." The party's focus was always on the bread and butter issues facing Singaporeans. Dr. Chee added that affordable healthcare and housing, are in his opinion, basic human rights that every Singaporean is entitled to.
Dr. Chee Soon Juan says that the SDP is here to serve Singaporeans.
Other notable points from the SDP election kick off event:
- The party's election motto for this coming election cycle is Your Voice in Parliament.
- The party repeatedly stated that it is here to serve Singaporeans.
- The SDP has lined up activities through out this year to showcase its members and its election agenda. It plans to launch its Economic policy paper in February, just in time to position the paper as a shadow budget. The party will also unveil its town council management plans at an event in June.
- The SDP is celebrating its 35th anniversary in August this year.
- The SDP will hold pre-election rallies in Hong Lim Park around October.
- The SDP revealed that the launch event was intended as a platform to fire up its base and recruit volunteers to help with its upcoming election activities.
- The SDP panel was asked its post 2011 activities. Dr Chee said that the party had organized 44 activities such as the launch of its policy papers, sold 20,000 copies of it's newsletter and began outreach within constituencies that the party was aiming to contest in.
- The party declined to name its current slate of candidates. Dr. Chee said that the party will be unveiling a candidate slate that would be just as good if not better than the one they had in 2011. (The absence of former members Tan Jee Say and Vincent Wijeysingha were keenly felt by the audience in the room at this point).
- The SDP will be launching a new book on Dr. Chee. The book is written by friends and associates of Dr. Chee and is intended to present the public with a different point of view of a man that has been demonized by state media in the past.
- Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui were spotted in the audience. When quizzed during the break on why they were present for the SDP launch, both of them said they were there out of curiosity.
Dr. Paul Tambyah shows the audience a sample flyer that the SDP will be using for it's election activities.
The SDP has came out swinging at its election campaign launch. Now the question is how the PAP and the WP will react and if the SDP can keep up it's momentum to get itself elected. We may not know when the GE will be called but it certainly looks like Singaporeans have a new viable third alternative to consider when they are at the ballot box.