Singapore will be holding a by-election at the Bukit Batok constituency this Saturday. The opposition candidate contesting from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) is Dr Chee Soon Juan.
Dr Chee Soon Juan has been fighting for Singaporeans for the past more than 20 years. The ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), for the past 50 years made him lose his job and in spite of offers from American universities to teach there, Dr Chee chose to remain in Singapore to fight for Singaporeans.
The PAP had once invited Dr Chee to join them but Dr Chee declined because he believed in a more progressive and equal Singapore.
The PAP today has been running a smear campaign against Dr Chee Soon Juan. A petition started by actress Neo Swee Lin and a group of activists, lawyers and other artists, and signed by thousands of Singaporeans, say that they “do not condone the personal attacks and character assassination made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, against Dr Chee Soon Juan of the SDP”. Ex-prime minister Goh Chok Tong and Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin have also waded in with their remarks against Dr Chee.
“We are deeply saddened at the manner in which the campaign is run, having deteriorated to a level that undermines our Singaporean values. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when people who have been entrusted with positions of power and leadership perpetuate such unbecoming behaviour,” the petition also says.
I have signed the petition. You can sign the petition here too.
Neo Swee Lin also spoke at SDP’s rally on Tuesday. She said: “In a perfect future, we will have a true democracy in Singapore, with more balanced views represented in parliament.”
She also said: “Residents of Bukit Batok, I envy you. You are so lucky. You have a chance to vote for Dr Chee Soon Juan this time. I urge you, Bukit Batok residents, please vote for Dr Chee so that he can be our voice in parliament. So he can be an alternative voice, someone who will ask all the questions that we want to hear. He will be your full time MP. What more can you ask for, right?”
I was at the rally to take photos. You can see some of the photos here.
These are the volunteers who work tirelessly with the Singapore Democratic Party.
Here’s Dr Wong Souk Yee, who wrote the book, ‘Death of a Perm Sec’. She also ran in the 2015 general election with the SDP in the Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
This is one of the audience members who came very early for the rally and who quickly smiled for me.
An elderly man also came with his wife (below).
You can see the look of confidence in this man’s eyes.
Speaking was Neo Swee Lin (or more affectionately known as “Ah Ma” in Phua Chua Kang).
A sign language interpreter was at the rally to interpret the speeches for a group of people.
The people who hold a torch for Dr Chee.
The people who listen intently to him.
And the Singaporeans who clap for Dr Chee.
And our very own Dr Chee Soon Juan.
SDP has also come out with several policy papers on healthcare, education, housing, ministerial salaries, their town council plan and for the Malay community, among others. You can read more about the policy papers here. Dr Chee has said that he will debate on these policies when he is voted into parliament.