Election Reform Inevitable

Singapore Democrats
20 Jan 2008

Election Reform PanelThat the election system needed to be reformed is a motion everyone at the public forum on election reform held at the Allson Hotel agreed this afternoon. Although the forum was organized by the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan, its secretary-general, emphasized that election reform is not an SDP’s issue. It is an issue that concerns every Singaporean.

Although the subject is not a new one, the new call echoed by all the speakers—which included Mr JB Jeyaratnam, Mr Jufrie Mahmoud, Mr Chia Ti Lik, Dr Chee and moderated by Mr Gandhi Ambalam—was that it is high time something should be done to force the ruling party to come to term with the inevitability of election reformation.

Mr Chia Ti LikThe first speaker, Mr Chia, argued that the PAP is sparing no effort, including unfair and undemocratic ones, to ensure its monopoly in the parliament. Extra-parliamentary route, therefore, must be taken in order for reform to succeed. Such a route could include the engagement of public dialogs and protests.

Mr JB JeyaratnamMr Jeyaratnam gave a myriad of local historical examples that left the audience with no doubt that our election system was never a fair one ever since the PAP took power. Having an independent election commission, he stressed, is of utmost importance.

Mr Jufrie MahmoudMr Mahmoud asserted that for any reform to be possible, it has to start with the reformation of the media. A campaign for independent media must be launched. Journalists, he urged, should throw in their lot with activists to insist on having press organizations they can be unashamed of.

Dr Chee Soon JuanDr Chee challenged the audience to start getting active immediately. When asked who can be counted on to their part, almost everyone in the audience stood up. Dr Chee outlined some possible actions people can take right away. One such step is the setting up of a committee to examine the formation of an independent election commission. He encouraged everyone to not only participate in this initiative but to also bring others onboard. A form was passed for interested persons to sign up. Dr Chee promised he will continue to urge civil societies, other opposition parties, academicians and students to get involved.

The forum ended with a rather passionate discussion from both the panel and the floor.

Watch videos of the forum here:

Chee Soon Juan’s speech Pt 1
Chee Soon Juan’s Speech Pt 2
Jufrie Mahmood’s speech Pt 1
Jufrie Mahmood’s speech Pt 2
Gandhi Ambalam’s speech
Chia Ti Lik’s speech Pt 1
Chia Ti Lik’s speech Pt 2
Ng Ejay’s speech Pt 1
Ng Ejay’s speech Pt 2
Seelan Palay’s speech
Tan Kin Lian’s speech Pt 1
Tan Kin Lian’s speech Pt 2
Ng Teck Siong’s Speech Pt 1
Ng Teck Siong’s Speech Pt 2
Sin Kek Tong’s Speech
Q & A Pt 1
Q & A Pt 2
Q & A Pt 3
Q & A Pt 4
Q & A Pt 5
Q & A Pt 6
Q & A Pt 7
Q & A Pt 8