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Five reasons why Bukit Batok residents should give Dr. Chee Soon Juan a chance to be their MP

Five reasons why Bukit Batok residents should give Dr. Chee Soon Juan a chance to be their MP

This morning, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) announced their candidate of choice to contest in the upcoming Bukit Batok single member constituency (SMC) by-election. It is none other than their secretary-general, Dr. Chee Soon Juan.

I think it is a rather smart move for the SDP to introduce Chee early. This is because the veteran politician had always been a controversial figure in Singapore politics; by coming out early, there is more time to counter any negative press and also for Singaporeans to get to know him better.

A lot of Singaporeans still think he is some raving lunatic, out to destroy Singapore. Do read this post I wrote during the last general election on “Humanising Dr. Chee Soon Juan”. 

I believe in the yellow ribbon project and giving errant individuals a second chance. Chee may have engaged in some rather combative and confrontational ‘western’ style of campaigning previously that have severely damaged his image as a politician in conservative Singapore, but he appeared to have mellowed a lot since and cleaned up his acts.

No matter what you used to think of him, this is a man who stayed true to his political convictions for 25 years. Both Chee and his wife are PhD holders, and yet they live in a crammed 3-room HDB flat with three kids, leading a simple life. Chee could have abandoned Singapore long ago for a better life for himself and his family, yet he soldiered on.

While the odds are clearly stacked against Chee with Bukit Batok being a People’s Action Party (PAP)’s stronghold and with the popular Finance Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, leading the campaigning for the PAP camp, there are reasons for Bukit Batok residents to give Chee a chance.

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Here’s why:

1.

Chee is a family man

chee-family-1

The reason why there is a by-election is because of infidelity on the part of David Ong, the PAP MP who resigned and vacated his seat in parliament. This is the second PAP MP who resigned because of extra-marital affairs, with the first being Michael Palmer in Punggol East where PAP subsequently lost the seat to the Workers’ Party in a similar by-election.

If voters are sick of cheating MPs and prefer someone who is devoted to his other half like the late founding prime minister, Leek Kuan Yew and his wife, Kwa Geok Choo, Chee may just be the family man to vote for. Watch this video for a glimpse into the lives of the Chee family:

2.

Fearlessness to speak

While his combative brand of politics had made him very unpopular in his early years in politics, Chee has since adjusted and toned down a lot. Nonetheless, his fearlessness to speak remains. You will notice that while many other politicians and political parties will shy away from more controversial topics, Chee is never afraid to speak his mind and stand up for the downtrodden.

A recent saga that comes to mind is that of the unfortunate death of full-time national serviceman, Dominique Sarron Lee. Chee responded to Lee’s mother’s cry for help while most other politicians would just shy away from having to engaging with the secretive Singapore Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense.

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Picture this. If you were ever wrongly accused of an evil crime in Singapore like say, being a member of ISIS, the only political party and politician who is likely to speak for you would be the SDP and Chee. In a functioning democracy, there is always the need for a far-left party.

3.

Gung-ho spirit

Twenty-five years is a long time to be in politics, especially when Chee never really earned the popular support of Singaporean voters all the while. Worse, many still see him as some sort of clown, out to destroy Singapore and discredit the oppositions.

As mentioned earlier, whether you support Chee or not, you have to give it to him for not packing up and leaving Singapore after all that he had been through. He had been made bankrupted and went to jail several times for his beliefs. Many other opposition politicians who were as badly persecuted as Chee like Tang Liang Hong and Francis Seow just packed up and left. Yet Chee stayed on.

After the recent landslide victory by the PAP at the last general election, most opposition politicians and leaders were badly demoralised and some even turned bitter against the voters. Chee never gave up. He continued with his 140 km personal walk round Singapore to engage with Singaporeans and raise funds for his party. This is true dedication.

4.

Getting the fundamentals right

This morning during the media interviews, Chee said his priority will be to ensure the efficient and productive management of the town council. “The SDP’s goal is to surpass current levels of performance of PAP-run town councils,” he said.

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Chee got his fundamentals right this time round. Singaporean voters are self-centered and our first and foremost concern is always about our own estates. Given the recent brickbats thrown at the town councils for the opposition-held Aljunied GRC, the first thing to do to win votes is to reassure voters that their town council will be well managed.

5.

Emergence of a second opposition party in parliament

Other than the Worker’s Party MPs in parliament, there used to be at least one other representative from the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), led by the charismatic veteran opposition warhorse, Chiam See Tong.

Following the results of the last general election, the PAP resounding trounced every other opposition parties with the exception of the WP who managed to keep 6 seats in parliament (the WP also lost one seat back to the PAP).

The SPP used to be the second strongest opposition party in Singapore after the WP. However, after Chiam suffered a stroke and with his wife stepping up to front the party more, the SPP is no longer the lion it used to be in Singapore’s political landscape.

Perhaps it is time for the SDP to step up and fill that role as a second opposition voice in parliament.

In my next post, I will be writing on five reasons why Bukit Batok residents may not give Chee Soon Juan a chance in the upcoming by-election. Stay tuned!

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

5 Comments

  1. Bottles

    He sure is a family man….. being full-time jobless.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      He uses his time constructively….spending quality time with his children, writing books and continuing to campaign for a democratic Singapore in the true sense of the word. You must give him bravery for soldiering on regardless and in spite of the obstacles put before him. He’s the Nelson Mandala of Singapore.

      Reply
  2. Mohamed Ismail

    Well said
    I also felt the same demonized him before but then at that time he was very fiery young politician.
    Now this brilliant gentleman has mellowed and more dignified in facing the PAP intellectually.
    I’m sure most of us will like to see him in the parliament.
    We hope our Bukit Batok electorates to fulfill our fervent wish.

    Reply
  3. orchestra88

    The passion, dedication and sacrifices made by Dr. Chee Soon Juan and his family and together with his experiences gained, will certainly shaped Dr. Chee to be a better person to serve the country and Singaporeans at large.
    We should give him a chance to do some good for Singapore politics. After all, PAP is in power already. Now is the time for all true opposition to unite and helped him succeed into Parliament. We need Dr. Chee to lend a stronger voice in Parliament to uphold the values that we Singaporean treasure. Everyone has a part to make this country a better place for all and Dr. Chee is one such qualified man to have.
    We all should have the dignity to give this man a chance. We should not generalize our comments especially on the integrity of any man or woman. If he is a threat as some would claimed, I am confident ISD would have roped him in already. If he is insincere in championing for Singapore and Singaporeans, then let him do himself and SDP in. We should not be afraid to test him out. We must have a balanced slate of good people who are willing to give constructive views and represent the rights of Singaporeans. Politics is all about care and love for the people. Let us be more compassionate and be willing to take risks. If we don’t try willing men and women who want to sacrifice for our country and her people, then are we not being narrow and not prudent? Let us be magnanimous and wise.
    The by-election is only for an MP post. So let us not blow things out of proportion. It is not to hand over the keys to our reserves. We are a small country and we need everyone to work together. We must also be a gracious and a magnanimous society. Everyone needs a second chance. More importantly, we have to give ourselves that chance too. And let us make sure that the country is lead by good men whose hearts are clearly with the people. Remember intelligence we can buy, integrity we can’t. No doubt in his youthful days Dr, Chee is seen as a “rebel”. Given the circumstances he was in, it would all the more fire him up. I believed that over the years he has matured and has shown his determination to serve the people. Dr. Chee and his family had sacrificed a lot. See how he brought up his 3 beautiful children. To me, most telling, is the support shown by his wife to Dr. Chee and his cause to serve Singaporeans at large. I believe that we should give Dr. Chee and ourselves this chance to have him in Parliament. It is a golden opportunity to strengthen the voice of the opposition so as to champion the peoples’ right. I wish him and Singapore well. To quote from Confucius:
    “Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.” (quote from: sourceofinsight.com)
    Majulah Singapura!

    Reply
  4. George

    An unfortunate choice of using ISIS in your example. Please consider removing it as it is redundant since you have already mentioned what he did with regard to NSman Dominique Lee’s parents.

    As far as PAP tactics go, IMO the pro-PAP grassroot, the RC would likely be playing on the vulnerabilities of the BB residents by hinting to residents of the possibility that those community/neighbourhood improvement projects already announced or even in the pipeline already may be withdrawn or stopped.
    So in a sense Dr Chee and SDP have already got their job cut out for them in the sense of reassuring residents that should they support Dr Chee they would not lose out in this respect or be victimized by the PAP? We have seen the PAP indulging in such unscrupulous cutting-back tactics time and again to hold the residents at ransom and ‘teach residents a lesson’ in opposition held wards like Potong Pasir, Hougang and Aljunied GRC. This is ugly and morally reprehensible of course, but Singaporeans know too well the PAP would have no moral compunction to resist or desist from behaving in such a deplorable and unprincipled manner to win an election.

    IMO, Dr Chee and the SDP should take pre-emptive action taking the bull by the horn and be well prepared to address these municipal and related issues during his walk-about and the by-election rallies. But at the end of the day, it really depends on the political awakening and maturity of Singaporeans to take a stand against such divisive PAP tactics which ultimately is unhealthy for the country’s unity as a whole, and rise to the occasion to be another Hougang!!!

    Reply

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  1. Daily SG: 22 Mar 2016 | The Singapore Daily - […] – Even WP-backed The Independent Does Not Think Chee Soon Juan Will Win – Alvinology: Five reasons why Bukit…

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