Opposition parties won’t win voter confidence if they remain 'disparate': Chee Soon Juan

Opposition parties won’t win voter confidence if they remain 'disparate': Chee Soon Juan

Chee Soon Juan SDP walkabout Aug 4
Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan talking to residents at the Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre on Aug 4, 2019. (Photo: Elizabeth Neo)

SINGAPORE: As long as Singapore's opposition “remains disparate" and "as a motley bunch”, it will not win the confidence of voters, said secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chee Soon Juan on Sunday (Aug 4). 

Dr Chee was speaking to media after a walkabout at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre with SDP Central Executive Committee members Paul Tambyah, Damanhuri Abas and Bryan Lim, as well as other members. 

“We have differences, obviously, among various different parties but those differences are miniscule when you compare it to the common stand - the common goal that we must have in providing Singaporeans, the voters, with an alternative that they can have confidence in,” said Dr Chee.

Chee Soon Juan SDP walkabout Aug 4 (1)
Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan talking to residents at the Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre on Aug 4, 2019. (Photo: Elizabeth Neo)

He said the party is looking to work with the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), headed by former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock. 

At its official launch on Saturday, PSP had revealed the issues it would be looking at, including the lowering of the voting age to 18 and ensuring job security for Singaporeans. 

Dr Chee said the SDP is looking at expanding the number of seats it will contest in, but that would depend on the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

READ: SDP to contest five constituencies at next General Election

SDP has said that it intends to contest in five constituencies – the same electoral divisions it contested in 2015. These are the two Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) – Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling-Yew Tee and the single-seat wards of Bukit Batok, Yuhua and Bukit Panjang.

It added it would also need to “work things out with other opposition parties”.

“We will be definitely be looking to work with Dr Tan’s party, hopefully with WP (Workers Party) and other parties as well, and bringing everybody together so that we can present a more comprehensive message,” said Dr Chee.

As for the party’s strategy headed into the next General Election, the SDP said it was important to reach out to the younger generation and would do so through social media and getting its youth wing more involved.

READ: Creating jobs, lower voting age among issues Progress Singapore Party aims to champion at next General Election

Party chairman Paul Tambyah added that the younger members have been involved in the party’s communication efforts, including videos it has posted on its Facebook and YouTube pages discussing key issues.

“These things have gone, kind of minor viral, and we're hoping to use these platforms to reach out to more young people, because the other ones are affected by the unaffordability of HDB flats, the difficulty in getting jobs and some of the real issues which are facing Singaporeans. These are particularly acute for young people today in Singapore.”

At Sunday’s event, SDP also announced that it was planning a pre-election rally for sometime in September or October this year.

In the last General Election, SDP fielded 11 candidates and secured 31.23 per cent of valid votes in the wards it contested, but failed to gain a seat.

Source: CNA/jt(hs)

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