By: Kumaran Pillai
Campaigning on liberal left leaning policies to a conservative affluent society in Singapore is hard enough. It has turned out, in this by-election, the PAP has completely has taken a different tack, they have skirted policy issues and has chosen to mount a stinking attack on SDP’s Secretary General Dr Chee Soon Juan’s character. Saddled with allegations being disloyal to his previous mentor Chiam See Tong and failing to get an “endorsement” from the party founder of SDP – this bout character assassination has cost Chee much.
This publication has tracked and analysed the site traffic and it is indicative of the kind of news that is being consumed and to some degree, its impact on the outcome of this by-election.
The two articles that were trending soon after Grace Fu’s speech last Friday night, were Chiam See Tong refuses to endorse Chee Soon Juan for Bukit Batok by-election and Ten reason why Chee Soon Juan will not be elected in the Bukit Batok by-election.
The consumption patterns reflect the political mood of the readers.
Some political watchers have said that Chee has not been able to bring his core message of addressing poverty gaps in our country in the last three days. Chee and his party members have been caught up in putting up defensive statements about Chee.
We also ran stories from our contributors rebutting Grace Fu on her remarks about Chee without a stable job. However, these stories were mostly consumed by SDP’s supporters and were not able to reach a wider audience.
Prof Paul Tambyah, a CEC member of SDP, has appealed to the PAP to play fair and to contest on policy matters. It might just be in vain.
It appears that Chee is walking a tight rope and much depends on his performance at the rally tonight at Bukit Gombak Stadium (800 Bukit Batok West Avenue 5, 659081) to address the election issues and to bring his campaign back on track.
The larger question is, can Chee recover from this setback?
Kumaran Pillai is the publisher of The Independent Singapore.