John Tan: SDP and PKR must come together more

Singapore Democrats

The SDP attended a fund-raising dinner organised by the Parti KeAdilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party) in Johor Bahru last weekend. It was a huge affair attended by more than 1,000 guests, including party leaders such as Messrs Anwar Ibrahim and Chua Jui Meng, Malaysia’s former health minister.

SDP’s Chee Soon Juan was invited as a special guest but was prevented from attending by the Official Assignee as he was made bankrupt by MM Lee Kuan Yew and SM Goh Chok Tong in 2006 in a defamation suit.
Singapore Democrats’ assistant secretary-general Mr John Tan attended in Dr Chee’s place. He was accompanied by Young Democrats Mr Jarrod Luo, Mr Muhd Khalis and Mr Muhd Shamin. Mr Tan gave a short address to the dinner guests, just before Mr Anwar Ibrahim delivered the keynote speech:


John Tan’s speech

The Hon. Anwar Ibrahim, the Hon. Dato’ Chua Jui Meng, Members of PKR and Honored Guests,

My colleagues at the Singapore Democratic Party and I feel honored to be invited by the Parti Keadilan Rakyat to this important occasion.

Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary-General of my party, is bankrupted by Lee Kuan Yew and his son and is banned from leaving the country, even if it is just across the causeway. He sends his greetings and well wishes to all of you here tonight.

As you can see, we share similar kinds of political prosecution and persecution—you and us. However, we at the SDP can only watch with envy the transformation of the PKR. From a small struggling party in Malaysia, you are today a force to be reckoned with.

In the last few years, although far from the monumental growth of the PKR, the SDP is encouraged by our growing strength as well. In particular, we are elated that a number of youth have joined our ranks. Some of them are here tonight: Jarrod Luo, Muhd Khalis, and Muhd Shamin. They represent some of the most active and dedicated young democrats I have seen in years.

In our continuing effort to build capacity, the SDP hopes to learn from the experience of the PKR. In this regard, I suggest that we not only share notes from time to time, but also engage in more exchanges and forge greater cooperation. Our young people, especially, must come together and organize events and programs that develop and prepare them for the challenges that will surely come their way.

That way, they can share common experiences and cultivate a friendship out of mutual understanding and respect. They are, after all, our future leaders. I am sure you will agree with me that much of our human conflicts and sufferings can be solved if people have such mutual regard for each other.

Again, thank you for having me this evening. I wish you every success in your fight for justice and equality for the people of Malaysia. May the power of your people be with you. And may you form the next government of Malaysia.

God bless.

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