TL;DR – Now is the time. The question is, time for what, for whom?
SDP held its first rally for the Bukit Batok by-election on 29 April. Here are three key messages we heard from Dr Chee Soon Juan’s rally speech.
If elected, Dr Chee will be General Manager of “managing agent” of newly formed Town Council
SDP finally got it. Municipal matters are important to Singaporeans. It matters to most Singaporeans a great deal that the physical infrastructure of our neighbourhood is well taken care of. If it isn’t, we will complain and complain. It matters immensely to us that our neighbourhood gets upgraded once in a while. If not, we will cry father cry mother.
That’s why Dr Chee has spent much effort to try and convince Bukit Batok residents that he and his SDP team will be able to effectively and efficiently take care of municipal issues. Dr Chee also sought to reassure residents that if he’s elected, the SDP Town Council will be able to competently implement the planned $24 million worth of upgrading projects that had been drawn up. How will SDP do that?
Two key prongs: Firstly, they will not appoint a managing agent. SDP will run the Town Council themselves. They believe that this will save on hefty managing agent fees. Secondly, Dr Chee will be a “full-time” MP and personally direct the running of Town Council. He said:
“As your MP, I will dedicate myself full-time to performing my role in managing the Town Council and the estate as well”
In other words, it sounds to us as if Dr Chee, if elected, will effectively hold a role similar to the general manager of the managing agents in other Town Councils.
One more opposition voice in Parliament will solve all the problems Singaporeans face
Dr Chee asked whether Bukit Batok residents really thought that Mr Murali will be better able to represent the voice and views of Bukit Batok residents in Parliament. He asked if Bukit Batok residents really believed that Mr Murali would ask the tough questions in Parliament. Dr Chee said:
“An MP must be able to raise your concerns and hardships in Parliament and bring them to the government’s attention and press it to act on your concerns. Hand on heart, how many of you think that Mr Murali will be able to do this better than I can in Parliament. Do you think that Mr Murali would be different from his other 81 fellow MPs and ask the hard questions that must be asked in parliament and debate the ministers from his own party?”
What are these hard questions that Dr Chee felt need to be asked? He raised a few examples: high ministerial salaries, the cost of building HDB cost, grants for foreign students to study in our universities, and the accounts of GIC – h0w much it made and lost. Dr Chee promised to raise these questions in Parliament if elected.
Dr Chee tried to drive home the point that the key to solving the many problems besetting Singapore is that we need to change. He said:
“If we don’t change, we die… And the one thing that we must change is the political system must allow the people the freedom to speak, to express themselves without getting sued by the Prime Minister, without media filtering what we say, and constantly portraying the PAP as a party of heroes.”
Dr Chee seems to firmly believe that by being an MP, he will be able to bring about the change needed to solve all the problems that Singaporeans face.
Dr Chee will wage a gentlemen’s fight
Dr Chee told the rally crowd that he won’t talk about David Ong in his campaign.
Dr Chee also committed that he will not make personal attacks on Mr Murali. Dr Chee said that over the couple of times that they’ve met, he found Mr Murali to be a decent chap. Dr Chee also admitted that he’s heard good things about Mr Murali. Dr Chee assured the rally crowd that his criticisms of Mr Murali are about Mr Murali’s political views. Dr Chee even beseeched his supporters not to launch personal attacks against Mr Murali.
(Editor’s Note: Watch this video where PM Lee described Dr Chee as hypocritical for saying he would not attack Mr David Ong AFTER getting all his lieutenants to do so.)
Dr Chee is a great orator
Dr Chee spoke extremely well. Much better than most PAP candidates can ever hope to achieve. He was passionate and captivating. It really felt like someone trying to rally his supporters, compared to many of the speeches that PAP politicians give, which tend to be rather flat. Will such fiery, well-delivered speeches sway Bukit Batok residents? We will know next week.
And do great oratorical skills translate to capability and performance? We will know if Dr Chee wins this by-election.
If you want to watch Dr Chee’s full speech, it starts at 1:59:50 in this YouTube video: