A most meaningful 2013 for SDP

Singapore Democrats

2013 turned out to be a very meaningful year for the SDP with our emphasis on our groundwork and publication of alternative policy papers.


Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan started the year by calling for a better quality of life for Singaporeans in our 2013 New Year message.

The party kicked off our campaign at the Punggol East constituency in preparation for the by-election. Observers commented that it was the SDP's announcement that prompted the PAP to call for the by-election because it anticipated a three-corner fight. The SDP eventually withdrew from the contest to prevent a split in opposition votes and allowing the PAP to retain the constituency.


We conducted our customary Chinese New Year walkabout to meet residents in the various constituencies we contested in 2011 and to help usher in the Year of the Snake.

We launched our alternative policy Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future in which opposed the Government's plan to raise our population size to 6.9 million and proposed measures to lower the number of foreign workers as well as tighten the entry of foreigners into the country. The guiding indicator for optimal population size is the happiness of our people.


March saw us present our annual Shadow Budget: Transforming Our Capabilities, as in previous years, where we outlined an alternative budget that would initiate a much-needed economic and social transformation.

We continued our ground campaign by making house visits in the Clementi housing estate.


The SDP launched our Chinese website in our continuing effort to reach out to Chinese-speaking Singaporeans. We are the first political party in Singapore to do so.

We continued with our house visits, knocking on doors of residents at the Bukit Panjang estate in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

The SDP spoke up against a raft of actions taken by various Government departments against bloggers and activists. This was not in keeping with the PAP's promise during the last elections to do things differently.


The party honoured our workers in a public forum for May Day. The event, conducted in Mandarin, called for the protection of workers' rights and for the reform of labour laws so that workers can freely and independently organise their unions.

May also saw the Minister for National Development make a shocking revelation that the HDB lost "hundreds of millions" of dollars every year. This was despite the Government charging Singaporeans enormous amounts of money over the cost of building the flats.

In reality, the Government makes a handsome profit by factoring in the "cost" of land into HDB prices. In our housing policy paper, Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes, we proposed the Non-Open Market (NOM) scheme for HDB flats where the cost of land is removed from the prices.

Dr Chee Soon Juan spoke at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway where he talked about the need for Singapore to develop a sustainable economic model which included the necessity of democratising the political system in the country.


The party spoke up about the Media Development Authority's (MDA) decision to regulate online news sites. The SDP has fought for our fellow citizens' right to freedom of the press because without a free media, the public is often misled by its rulers.

June also saw the worst haze enveloping Singapore. The SDP issued a statement supporting the Government's efforts to address the severe condition and urged the authorities to look into the illegal clearing of Indonesia's forests through fires.


Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Department of Medicine at NUS was promoted to Full Professor with tenure.

McGill University undergraduate Mr Chris Liu became the SDP's first intern under the party's internship programme.

The Young Democrats embarked on a trip to Pulau Ubin and discovered that some of the residents there were still anxious about their high rents and threats of eviction despite the authorities' claims that they would not be chased out of the island.


We kept up our ground work by visiting our constituents in the south and southwestern parts of the island during which we sold our newspaper The New Democrat, warning them about the PAP's intention to push our population to 6.9 million.

We held our annual fund-raiser and had a great time performing with and for our friends and supporters.

Dr Chee delivered the SDP's response to PM Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech, pointing out that the announced changes in housing and healthcare did not get at the root-cause of our people's problems. He counter-proposed the SDP's alternative ideas.

The SDP announced the resignation of Dr Vincent Wijeysingha from the party. Dr Wijeysingha expressed his desire to get more involved in LGBT and other human rights issues.


We launched A Singapore for All Singaporeans: Addressing the Concerns of the Malay Community in which we proposed alternative social and economic policies to uplift the conditions our fellow Singaporean Malays.

The PAP Government announced the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and urged employers to consider employing Singaporeans first. This was a page from the SDP's population paper with the major difference being that the FCF is only an appeal, not legislation.

Party activists attended our annual retreat which allowed us time for some R&R as well as an opportunity to make plans for the future.


In another sign that the SDP's National Healthcare Plan is taken seriously by establishment circles, the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) News published an article co-authored by Professor Paul Tambyah and Dr Tan Lip Hong in its September issue.

The party held its biennial party conference during which it elected its 16th Centrel Executive Committee (CEC).

New faces were introduced into the leadership even as familiar ones continue to provide the necessary experience. Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan reiterated party's ideology of building a caring and fairer system which puts people first.

We held our annual futsal competition to reach out to Singaporeans (especially our youths) and to raise awareness of the nation's politics among them.


The party re-stated our support for Muslim women in Singapore to wear the tudung at the workplace if they so wished.


We SDP repeated our call for the Government to stop its punitive actions against bloggers and activists, and reiterated the need to reform our political system.

December also saw our first ever riot in Little India in nearly 50 years. In response, the party called for a review of present population and immigration policy which is fomenting unhappiness and social problems among the populace.

As in previous months, we ended the year with our regular ground activities by visiting residents in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

If 2013 is anything to go by, the next year will be even busier and more productive. Calling all our friends and supporters, come on board and let's make democracy a reality in Singapore!

Friday, 27 December 2013 SDP Print