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“Like the prodigal son coming back” — Tan Jee Say on returning to SDP

When asked about whether his return ruffled any feathers of current SDP members, Mr Tan said that he was welcomed into SDP and in fact did not announce his membership earlier as he wanted the surprise factor




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Singapore — The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held a press conference after nominations closed on June 30.

During the press conference, SDP candidates were invited to answer questions from the press. Among the candidates who took questions from the press was Mr Tan Jee Say, the former Secretary-General of Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party who had officially applied to rejoin SDP only on June 29.

When asked about whether his surprise return ruffled any feathers of current SDP members, Mr Tan said that he was welcomed into SDP and that it felt “like the prodigal son coming back”.

Mr Tan contested in the 2011 general elections as a candidate under SDP and faced off against the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, getting 39.9% of the votes. This was the SDP’s best showing in the 2011 elections.

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Although he had only just announced the dissolution of SingFirst on June 25 and his application to rejoin SDP on June 29, Mr Tan shared that he had been talking to SDP for a while, and officially joined “a few days ago”.

He added that he did not announce his membership in SDP earlier as he wanted the surprise factor, saying that it was probably more advantageous than not.

Mr Tan confirmed that he had informed some former SingFirst’s members about his intentions to rejoin SDP, and that they have been supportive, even helping the SDP at the constituencies they stay in if SDP is contesting in the ward.

Mr Tan also spoke about the potential wipeout of the opposition because of the crisis element that the pandemic brought about. He referred to the 2001 general elections where the threat of terrorism spurred PAP to use the fear element in their favour.

The 2001 general elections saw the PAP winning 82 out of 84 seats. It was held on November 3, only a month and a half after the September 11 attacks in the United States.

Commenting that he was sure PAP was calling the elections now to use the element of fear, Mr Tan said that it “will be very wrong of the people to feel fearful”.

Additionally, Mr Tan referred to the S$193 billion that the government was setting aside to grapple with the pandemic, and said that there is a need to make sure that the money will be spent in a way that will benefit the people who need it most.

Mr Tan is a part of the four member team contesting in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

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