SINGAPORE —  The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held a multi-constituency walkabout on Wednesday, August 9th, celebrating Singapore’s 58th National Day. Led by the party’s secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan, and chairman Prof. Paul Tambyah, the team in red visited areas where they contested in the 2020 general election. These areas included Yuhua, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang SMCs, Holland-Bukit Timah, and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRCs.

The party also visited Kampung Admiralty, which is located within Sembawang GRC. The last time the SDP contested in this constituency was in 2011. In the 2015 elections, Marsiling and Woodgrove divisions were carved out from Sembawang GRC to form the newly-created Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC; as the SDP shifted their attention to Marsiling-Yew Tee, the National Solidarity Party contested in Sembawang GRC in the last two elections held in 2015 and 2020.

However, after the 2020 elections, the SDP has decided to engage again with the residents in Sembawang. As part of their efforts, they have created a Facebook page called ‘SDP Sembawang GRC’ highlighting their regular interactions with the residents. Long-serving party members Jufri Salim, Matthew Tan, Naresh Subramaniam, and the late Manimaran have been actively involved in community engagements within the Sembawang constituency.

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“The response from the Sembawang residents has been very positive. Over the last year our Sembawang team have been walking the ground and making frequent visits to the residents. The sad thing is that we lost Mani. He passed away suddenly from a heart attack from playing football and he will be difficult to replace. But we had many young volunteers coming forward,” said SDP chairman Prof Tambyah during a media interview after the party’s National Day walkabout.

“It is a tragedy for the family; he has a young child. He exemplified the kind of dedication and commitment to democracy. Young people who are in tune with what is going on with Singaporeans who are concerned for the future of our country.”

Photo credit: Singapore Democratic Party

Prof Tambyah stated that if Sembawang GRC remained unchanged in the next election, the party would be confident and optimistic about its chances. They attribute this to their strong team, who have established a good rapport with the residents. Sembawang GRC is currently helmed by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, with Lim Wee Kiak, Mariam Jaafar, Poh Li San, and Vikram Nair.

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In the 2020 elections, Prof Tambyah contested in the Bukit Panjang SMC against Liang Eng Hwa and secured 46.27% of the votes, while party chief Dr Chee garnered 45.20% of the votes in the Bukit Batok SMC against Murali Pillai.

“We got a warm reception at both Bukit Batok and Bukit Panjang, and they know Dr Chee and myself very well. But there’s a chance it will be swallowed up like it has happened to all the closely-contested SMC in the past,” Prof Tambyah shared with The Independent Singapore.

“SDP is the most improved political party in 2020. We have been building on that. Reaching out to residents and holding events at a national level as well. But the focus has been very much on these constituencies where we went today,” added the infectious diseases expert.

Prof Tambyah also mentioned that the party is making early preparations similar to previous general elections. They are hopeful to soon move into their new office, following which they will launch their election campaign.