Singapore— A “disparate” opposition will not gain voter confidence, Chee Soon Juan told members of the press on Sunday morning, August 4. He said that the differences between the country’s opposition are ‘minuscule’ compared to their common stance.
Speaking to journalists after a walkabout at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre, the secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) was accompanied by SDP Central Executive Committee members Paul Tambyah, Damanhuri Abas and Bryan Lim, among other SDP members.
The SDP later said in a statement that Sunday’s “extensive walkabout” encompassed “all the five constituencies it contested in the last elections (Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Yuhua, Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling-Yew Tee).”
SDP has announced its intent to field candidates in these five constituencies in the next General Election (GE).
A report from Channel NewsAsia (CNA) says Mr Chee stated that SDP is looking forward to working together with the country’s newest political party, the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), helmed by former PAP MP Dr Tan Cheng Bock, as well as the only opposition party who won seats in Parliament in the last GE, the Workers’ Party (WP) and other opposition parties.
Dr Chee said, “We will be definitely be looking to work with Dr Tan’s party, hopefully with WP and other parties as well, and bringing everybody together so that we can present a more comprehensive message.”
He told the media, “We have differences, obviously, among various different parties but those differences are minuscule when you compare it to the common stand – the common goal that we must have in providing Singaporeans, the voters, with an alternative that they can have confidence in.”
Last October, the SDP gathered the opposition parties together, and said in their statement that they will continue to do so in order to strengthen and unify the opposition further.
In its statement, the SDP said that it would “focus on engaging younger Singaporeans and bringing their concerns to the fore,” through its Young Democrats group.
Similarly, at the launch of PSP on August 3, Michelle Lee announced that the party intends to push for the lowering of the voting age to 18, as well as focus on empowering young Singaporeans.
The statement went on to say that SDP’s Min Cheong “identified some of the issues that younger Singaporeans are worried about: meaningful jobs and job opportunities, the high cost of living especially high HDB prices, and the unfair competition of foreign PMETs,” while Fadly Azad, also a Young Democrat, talked about some of the group’s projects, including “posting vlogs and interviews of younger members on social media aimed at engaging and exciting younger Singaporeans about the SDP’s plans and ideas for Singapore.”
For Mr Damanhuri, the zeal with which the Young Democrats are participating reflects on-the-ground realities. He said, “This is not just a strategic move but a reflection of what’s happening on the ground. The young are coming forward, they want to be heard.”
According to Paul Tambyah, SDP’s chairman, the videos the youth have posted on social media “have gone, kind of minor viral, and we’re hoping to use these platforms to reach out to more young people, because the other ones are affected by the unaffordability of HDB flats, the difficulty in getting jobs and some of the real issues which are facing Singaporeans. These are particularly acute for young people today in Singapore.”
SDP said during the walkabout that they plan to hold a pre-election rally later on this year, sometime in September or October./ TISG