Singapore—At its pre-election rally on Saturday, October 19, at Hong Lim Park, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) asked the country if it is ready for change to come.
One main point that speakers for the SDP drove home were the promises made by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in the last General Election (GE).
As SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan posted on his Facebook account on Monday, October 21,
“Trust is not what you say, it’s what you do,” a phrase that he repeated several times during the pre-election rally.
On his account, he quoted Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong from 2015, the year of the last GE, who had said, “That’s why we work with you to solve problems like cost of living, how we can make life better, not quite a burden, lighter.”
He then followed this with a list of how taxes have been increased in the following areas:
- Town Council
- Gas Tariffs
- Bus and MRT
- Carbon emissions
- Digital services
At the rally, Dr Chee said, “I will demonstrate to you and leave you in absolutely no doubt how the PAP says one thing before the elections and does another after the elections.”
He played a video of PM Lee saying in an election rally in 2015 that the elderly poor would live with dignity. Dr Chee said that this is just one of the promises that the PAP has not kept, with the suicide rate among older Singaporeans at a record high, according to data from the Samaritans of Singapore in 2017.
He also pointed to what he said were contradictions in what the Government has said when it comes to foreign workers.
“Mr Lee assured the nation that we must carefully manage the inflow of foreign workers and ensure that they complement, rather than displace Singaporeans workers.
If the Government had carefully managed the inflow of foreign workers as Mr Lee had assured us in 2003, why did Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam contradict him by pointing out that dependence of foreign PMETs (professionals, managers, executive and technicians) has become unsustainable?”
In keeping with the theme that it’s time for some changes to the Government, one of the hashtags and taglines that the party used for their rally was #ShakeItUp.
Paul Tambyah, SDP Chairman, said that it is time for “independent diverse voices” in Parliament, a sentiment echoed by Alfred Tan, an entrepreneur.
He asked the crowd, “Do we hear robust debate over here?
If your representative (in Parliament) is of the same party as the Government, and even though he may voice a concern on your behalf, your elected MP will still be voting along party lines.
You need more alternative voices in Parliament, so that your concerns can be heard, Bills robustly debated, and ministries asked to account for bad decisions.”
Around 2,000 people came to SDP’s pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park. SDP later thanked its supporters, writing, “A big Thank You to all who made the rally a success. All the months of planning and hard work paid off. Now for the GE!”/ TISG