Singapore—House visits are part and parcel of the lives political leaders, as well as those who aspire to those positions.
After all, they’re one of the best ways to get to know the residents of an area and the particular issues they face daily.
And sometimes, house visits can be surprisingly rewarding, as several members of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) discovered at Bukit Panjang recently.
Alfred Tan, who contested in the General Election last July at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, posted on Facebook about a visit to residents in the Lompang area, which is part of Bukit Panjang, one that he called “truly spirit-uplifting.”
First of all, he noted how gratifying it is that many of the residents he visited have been keeping up to date with political issues.
“A good number of families told us that they actively keep each other updated on political developments in Singapore. Building political consciousness certainly begins at home.”
Secondly, he and the SDP team received encouragement to “build on our work” at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC as well as at Bukit Panjang (SMC).
“They asked that Prof Paul Tambyah and the SDP Holland – Bukit Timah GRC team to press on, for both the residents and for nation-building. They wanted diverse representation in Parliament, so that the nation can make better and more inclusive decisions,” he added.
Mr Tan expressed his gratitude toward the Lompang area residents, “Thanks for the encouragement. You guys keep us going.”
Dr Tambyah is the chairman of the SDP. He is a doctor, politician and writer, and is recognized around the globe as an infectious disease specialist.
Last June, he became president-elect of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. He is the first Singaporean chosen for this post, with his term set to begin in 2022.
In the General Election the following month, he contested at Bukit Panjang SMC, narrowly losing to the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Liang Eng Hwa by less than four percentage points.
At Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, the SDP slate, composed of Mr Tan, Tan Jee Say, James Gomez, and Min Cheong, went head to head with a PAP slate composed of Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Sim Ann, Christopher de Souza and Edward Chia. The PAP team won with 66.36 per cent of the vote.
At Bukit Batok SMC, the SDP Secretary-General Dr Chee Soon Juan, was bested by the PAP’s Murali Pillai, who won 54.80 per cent of the vote.
All in all, the SDP contested 11 seats and received 110,827 votes, or 37.04 per cent of votes in their contested seats.
After the results were tallied, Dr Tambyah told the media, “We’ve done a strong campaign considering the circumstances. As I said before, it would be a miracle if we get in, but unfortunately, the miracle did not happen. But we’re grateful for the experiences and as Dr Chee said, I’m sure we’ll do better the next time.”
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