Singapore—A new political party was launched via video conferencing on Friday, May 29. Former Progress Singapore Party (PSP) members Michelle Lee and Ravi Philemon announced the launch of a new society named Red Dot United (RDU).
RDU is composed of “like-minded individuals” from the ages of 25 to 55. The group’s goal is “to build a political-social platform and not just another political party.”
According to a media release from the group, “The Party will be a national movement dedicated to serving Singapore and advancing the well-being of all Singaporeans; by promoting the ideals of Fairness, Accountability, Integrity, Transparency and Happiness, Hope and Heart (Empathy and Compassion).”
Mr Philemon outlined that both globally and nationally, changes have been occurring even before the coronavirus pandemic, a crisis that “will only accelerate the pace of change.” Red Dot United endeavours to keep ahead of these changes, claiming that “politics cannot remain stagnant, as if caught in a time-warp.”
And while RDU acknowledges the benefit of having deep reserves that Singapore accumulated over the years, it also seeks to ask hard questions pertinent to this time.
“How is it that with such a huge cheap migrant workforce – 1.4 million foreigners with 340,000 in construction alone – we have still been ranked amongst the most expensive cities for more than half a decade?
Do Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan have a similar migrant workforce? Is our economic model of success sustainable and ethical? “
And now, RDU believes, is the time for every Singaporean to ensure that the government is doing its job well. The party calls upon the public to begin to ask questions and not merely follow those in authority.
The party’s press statement reads, “We are not best served by an elite class with their heads in the clouds. To be a robust nation and society, we must educate, enable and empower our citizens to engage in dialogue and effective debate without fear. Through this, we would like to see a people who are informed, involved and interested in policies and government.”
RDU says it will work “for change on the ground with our fellow Singaporeans, to enable thought leadership and active citizen participation in the decisions and plans that affect our lives and the path of our nation.”
Mr Philemon has been active socially and politically since 2008, having worked with different sectors to promote public focus on vital issues such as homelessness and poverty. He has also been part of such national initiatives like Our Singapore Conversation, the Constitutional Commission to review the Elected Presidency, and the Select Committee on Deliberate Online Falsehood.
He is especially proud of his work with the campaign for Persons With Disabilities to get concessionary travel on public transportation and was nominated by this sector for the Civil Society Advocate of the Year Award.
Mr Philemon contested in Hong Kah North in the most recent General Election.
Regarding his and Ms Lee’s recent departure from PSP, which he characterised as “amiable,” Mr Philemon said that they had informed PSP Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock as well as the PSP CEC of their intent, and even offered PSP their help.
“We are cheered that we received a warm response and as they are doing well and do not need our assistance, we have gone ahead to register Red Dot United. We have also spoken to some other party leaders in the opposition space and will always seek to build each other and fellow Singaporeans up.
Looking at the big picture, we want to see an alliance of like-minded political parties, academics, businesses, and citizens working together for the greater good of Singapore.”—/TISG
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