Singapore Democratic Party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan held an Ask-Me-Anything session on Zoom on Monday (July 6), during which he answered questions from the public and residents of Bukit Batok Single-Member Constituency.
The Facebook livestream had at its peak about 2,200 viewers.
Dr Chee was asked a couple of questions on how, if he were to be elected an MP, he would go about resolving the ongoing pest problem. Also, a lift had dropped very suddenly and there was a fire within the last five years.
On this note, he said that the most fundamental responsibility of an MP was to ensure the estate is safe, clean and functioning properly. He then mentioned the fire in Bukit Batok, during which fire hose reels were padlocked and there was no water even after the padlock was broken.
He said an MP had to be physically present so that he can ensure that the contractors did their job. However, there was no improvement in work safety in two areas of the constituency when he visited it later.
A number of people in the Zoom session said that they were concerned about his past history and seeming aggression and concerned about how he would be treated by the People’s Action Party in Parliament with regard to his aggressiveness.
Dr Chee said that when he was focused at what he was doing, he might come across as not being as friendly as he can be. He added that he was “very much in control” of his emotions, and that he would work in Parliament in a very concerted, focused but at the same time very controlled manner.
Another question was regarding the feasibility of the SDP’s “4Y1N” campaign manifesto and how it would be funded in the long run. Dr Chee stressed that the income from the reserves, not the reserves itself, would be used to fund the campaign. He added that this was “eminently doable”.
He added that the plan was to legislate it for people who need it, instead of it being ad-hoc or temporary as most are now. Dr Chee emphasised when one legislates minimum wage, income for the elderly and retrenchment benefits, all these would go into law and would have to be complied with by whoever takes over the government. This would allow people to have a sense of security and thus make long-term plans.
He stressed that such programmes will not make Singapore a welfare state, with everybody becoming lazy. He said that research had shown again and again that this was not true. He cited developed countries, some Asian countries, the Scandinavian countries, Germany and so on.
When asked about issues that millenials and Gen Zs are more concerned about and how he would tackle them when elected to Parliament, Dr Chee mentioned climate change. He stressed that it was an “existential threat”. “If we don’t get things right, … there will come a time when there is a trigger, where, even whatever you try to do, you cannot reverse the process any more”.
He highlighted that Singapore should get rid of fuel combustible cars and turn to electric vehicles. “Make sure that we depend on renewal energy rather than continue to depend on burning fossil fuels for energy.”
Dr Chee is contesting in Bukit Batok SMC against the People’s Action Party’s Murali Pillai.