In democratic elections, the losing party will congratulate the victors and extend them its best wishes. In an election as undemocratic as the one that we have just witnessed as well as those in years past, the SDP does not concede anything to the PAP, least of all the so-called mandate that the PAP claims it has. The reasons are:
One, rules were changed and introduced before and mid-way through the elections. For example, SDP’s podcast was banned, Dr Chee Soon Juan was not allowed to get on stage with his colleagues and candidates, and the police announced halfway through elections that Dr Chee was not even allowed to talk to voters off stage.
Two, the PAP media waged a relentless campaign especially against the SDP – censoring SDP’s message and reporting falsehoods about the Party. It even went to the extent of editing the party’s television broadcasts.
Three, the lawsuit by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong silenced the SDP and prevented us from engaging and questioning Mr Khaw Boon Wan on the NKF issue.
All this is over and above the fear that voters face and the vote-buying measures of the Government through the Progress Package. With such undemocratic electioneering, is it any wonder that the PAP has won the contests in Sembawang GRC and Bukit Panjang?
In fact, the Singapore Democrats performed creditably by scoring approximate 24 percent of the votes given the extreme circumstances under which we had to labour.
The PAP should be ashamed of itself for running such a campaign and manipulating the election system. Its victory tonight in Sembawang and Bukit Panjang rings hollow.
The result has made the SDP even more determined to work to reform the election process to make it genuinely free and fair. It is only when the election system is truly democratic that opposition parties stand a fighting chance of winning elections in the future.
The real work will need to be done in between elections and the SDP will begin that immediately.
Chee Siok Chin
Candidate, Sembawang GRC
Singapore Democratic Party