Ex-Singapore People’s Party (SPP) member Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss confirmed with The Independent that she has not joined the Workers’ Party (WP), in response to questions that arose after she was spotted walking the ground at Marine Parade GRC with WP member Yee Jenn Jong and his team.
Ms Chong-Aruldoss – who had been an SPP Central Executive Committee (CEC) member – announced her resignation from the SPP on 4 Sept – the same day that the party indicated that 84-year-old Mr Chiam will step down after 23 years at the party’s helm to make way for new blood. ‘
Ms Chong-Aruldoss later told The Independent that she decided to resign from the party “after considering all the implications of my decision” and that she does not plan to join another political party.
On whether her resignation from the SPP marks the end of her political career, she said: “There are many ways of serving in politics and I hope to continue serving my country and my countrymen in one way or another.”
Photos shared on Facebook by WP politician Yee Jenn Jong, however, show that Ms Chong-Aruldoss accompanied him and other WP members during walkabouts at Marine Parade GRC recently. Ms Chong-Aruldoss was seen wearing blue, the WP’s party colour, like the rest of the individuals on the walkabout.
Revealing that she has not joined the WP, Ms Chong-Aruldoss clarified that she is supporting Mr Yee in her personal capacity as she wishes to help him win the Marine Parade ward she lives in, in the next General Election.
On why she is volunteering with Mr Yee’s team, Ms Chong-Aruldoss told The Independent that she believes in stepping forward and volunteering for a cause she believes in. Noting that alternative parties need all the support they can get, Ms Chong-Aruldoss called on Singaporeans to pitch in and volunteer with opposition parties:
“I live in Joo Chiat, which was an SMC in GE2011 and which subsequently become a part of MP GRC for GE2015. WP contested Joo Chiat SMC in GE2011 and MP GRC in GE 2015. WP’s Yee Jenn Jong lost his bid for Joo Chiat by a very narrow margin in GE2011. Yee Jenn Jong led the WP team which contested MP GRC in GE 2015. I have supported WP/Yee Jenn Jong in GE2011 and GE2015.
“In the run up to GE 2015, it was very difficult for candidates of alternative parties to meet condo residents. I live in a condo. To help him connect with my neighbours, I organised a gathering at the BBQ of my condo in Aug 2015 to give my neighbours the opportunity to meet YJJ – see links.
“As a resident, I would like to see WP to win my constituency in the next GE, so I am lending my personal support. It is good people that people take an interest in what is going on in Singapore. But it is even better to step forward to volunteer for whatever cause one supports or believes in. The alternative parties need all the support they can get. I hope more people would come forward to help the alternative parties as volunteers.”
This is not the first time Ms Chong-Aruldoss has expressed her support for Mr Yee. In 2015, even as she was busy preparing for that year’s election in which she contested Mountbatten SMC under the SPP ticket, Ms Chong-Aruldoss organised a social barbecue for Mr Yee at the Mandarin Gardens condominium.
Drawing from her own difficulties in getting access to condo residents in Mountbatten, Ms Chong-Aruldoss hosted Mr Yee to introduce him to Mandarin Gardens residents. She wrote then: “I think it’s only right that I help where I can for a person I deeply respect (Mandarin Gardens is now part of Marine Parade).”
On why she respects Mr Yee so much, Ms Chong-Aruldoss had said: “At GE2011, my elderly father was frail and not well but he insisted on casting his vote. So my brother had to devise a way to take him in his wheelchair to vote. My dad was greatly satisfied to have cast his vote (thanks to my brother), and I will always be proud of my dad for his determination.
“I respect JJ for inspiring my dad’s determination. JJ lost by 388 votes – but it would have been 389 if not for my dad’s vote. After the election, JJ visited the residents to thank them for their support. My dad was very touched by his sincerity. Proud to introduce this sincere, personable and caring man to my neighbours.”
Ms Chong-Aruldoss is well-versed in the difficulties opposition politicians face in between elections.
Unlike defeated ruling party candidates who are made grassroots advisers in the wards they lost and made relevant to residents, opposition members must canvass for support in their spare time often using their own resources. Many opposition politicians do so while juggling full-time jobs and their family commitments.