The Singapore Democrats remain resolute and upbeat despite everything the PAP-State machinery has thrown at us.
This was the mood at the 13th Ordinary Party Conference of the SDP held on 1 Jun 07. Addressing cadre members, Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan said that the party had much to be proud of in its fight for democracy in Singapore.
“We take pride,” he said, “in the knowledge that only those by whom Lee Kuan Yew feels threatened will he try to crush.”
He added that every oppressive measure the Government takes against the SDP is one more reason for the Democrats to carrying on the struggle.
As a result party ranks have grown especially among the younger Singaporeans.
“One reason why people decide to commit to the SDP is because we have been a party of principles – democratic principles – not opportunism,” he reminded party cadres. “We have been unafraid to define ourselves clearly and tell Singaporeans unambiguously who we are, what we stand for and where we want to take this nation.”
Dr Chee reiterated that economic concerns such as the rising cost of living, the burgeoning poor, and failed GLC business ventures remained the top priority of the party.
It will continue to speak up on these matters and campaign actively to bring about change.
He also pointed out that the SDP sought reasoned confrontation and that an opposition that is afraid to confront the ruling party is not doing its job.
He added that the SDP will get into parliament “on the power of the people not the patronage of the PAP.”
Dr Chee made it clear that under the present system where the elections were controlled by the PAP, it is not possible for the opposition to win enough seats to make a difference for the people.
“We have to stop lying to ourselves and stop living in fantasy. With the system the way it is, the opposition is not going to make any meaningful headway.”
He stressed on the need to institute reforms first, especially reforms to the elections process, media and the judiciary.
Dr Chee then spelt out how the wheels of reform can be turned: It required the participation of the people in mass peaceful assemblies.
Addressing the party’s future in the face of the defamation lawsuit taken by Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Secretary-General said that what was important was not the vehicle but the people driving the vehicle.
Striking a defiant note, he challenged the Lees to close down the party and said that he and his colleagues will persevere, and ultimately achieve the goal of democracy.
The conference also saw the election of a new team of Central Executive Committee members which included several new faces:
Yong Chu Leong
Chee Soon Juan
Hoe Poh Fatt
Chee Siok Chin (Ms)
Mohd Isa Abdul Aziz