2013 turned out to be a very meaningfulyear for the SDP with our emphasis on our groundwork and publication of alternative policy papers.$CUT$
Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan started the yearby calling for a better quality of life for Singaporeans in our 2013New Year message.
The party kicked off our campaign atthe Punggol East constituency in preparation for the by-election. Observers commented that it was the SDP’s announcementthat prompted the PAP to call for the by-election because itanticipated a three-corner fight. The SDP eventually withdrew from thecontest to prevent a split in opposition votes and allowing the PAPto retain the constituency.
We conducted our customary Chinese NewYear walkabout to meet residents in the various constituencies we contested in 2011 and to help usher in the Year of theSnake.
We launched our alternative policyBuilding A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future in whichopposed the Government’s plan to raise our population size to 6.9million and proposed measures to lower thenumber of foreign workers as well astighten the entry of foreigners into the country. The guidingindicator for optimal population size is the happiness of our people.
March saw us present our annual ShadowBudget: Transforming Our Capabilities, as in previous years, where we outlined an alternative budgetthat would initiate a much-needed economic and social transformation.
We continued our ground campaign bymaking house visits in the Clementi housing estate.
The SDP launched our Chinese website inour 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 estatein the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
The SDP spoke up against a raft ofactions taken by various Government departments against bloggers andactivists. This was not in keeping with the PAP’s promise during thelast elections to do things differently.
The party honoured our workers in apublic forum for May Day. The event, conducted in Mandarin, called forthe protection of workers’ rights and for the reform of labour lawsso that workers can freely and independently organise their unions.
May also saw the Minister for NationalDevelopment make a shocking revelation that the HDB lost “hundredsof millions” of dollars every year. This was despite theGovernment charging Singaporeans enormous amounts of money over thecost 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 policypaper, Housing A Nation: Holistic Policies For Affordable Homes,we proposed the Non-Open Market (NOM) scheme for HDB flats wherethe cost of land is removed from the prices.
Dr Chee Soon Juan spoke at the OsloFreedom Forum in Norway where he talked about the need forSingapore to develop a sustainable economic model which included thenecessity of democratising the political system in the country.
The party spoke up about the MediaDevelopment Authority’s (MDA) decision to regulate online news sites.The SDP has fought for our fellow citizens’ right to freedom of thepress because without a free media, the public is often misled by itsrulers.
June also saw the worst haze envelopingSingapore. The SDP issued a statement supporting the Government’sefforts to address the severe condition and urged the authorities tolook into the illegal clearing of Indonesia’s forests through fires.
Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah, a specialist ininfectious diseases at the Department of Medicine at NUS was promotedto Full Professor with tenure.
McGill University undergraduate MrChris Liu became the SDP’s first intern under the party’s internshipprogramme.
The Young Democrats embarked on a trip to Pulau Ubin and discovered that some of the residents there werestill anxious about their high rents and threats of eviction despitethe authorities’ claims that they would not be chased out of theisland.
We kept up our ground work by visitingour constituents in the south and southwestern parts of the islandduring which we sold our newspaper The New Democrat, warning themabout the PAP’s intention to push our population to 6.9 million.
We held our annual fund-raiser and hada great time performing with and for our friends and supporters.
Dr Chee delivered the SDP’s response toPM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech, pointing out that theannounced changes in housing and healthcare did not get at theroot-cause of our people’s problems. He counter-proposed the SDP’salternative ideas.
The SDP announced the resignation of DrVincent Wijeysingha from the party. Dr Wijeysingha expressed hisdesire to get more involved in LGBT and other human rights issues.
We launched A Singapore for AllSingaporeans: Addressing the Concerns of the Malay Community inwhich we proposed alternative social and economic policies to upliftthe conditions our fellow Singaporean Malays.
The PAP Government announced the FairConsideration Framework (FCF) and urged employers to consideremploying Singaporeans first. This was a page from the SDP’s population paperwith 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 anopportunity to make plans for the future.
In another sign that the SDP’s NationalHealthcare Plan is taken seriously by establishment circles, theSingapore Medical Association (SMA) News published an articleco-authored by Professor Paul Tambyah and Dr Tan Lip Hong in itsSeptember issue.
The party held its biennial partyconference during which it elected its 16th Centrel Executive Committee (CEC).
New faces were introduced into theleadership even as familiar ones continue to provide the necessaryexperience. Secretary-General Chee Soon Juanreiterated party’s ideology of building a caring and fairer systemwhich puts people first.
We held our annual futsal competitionto reach out to Singaporeans (especially our youths) and to raiseawareness of the nation’s politics among them.
The party re-stated our support forMuslim women in Singapore to wear the tudung at the workplace if theyso 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 riotin Little India in nearly 50 years. In response, the party called for a review of present population and immigration policy which is fomentingunhappiness and social problems among the populace.
As in previous months, we ended theyear with our regular ground activities by visiting residents in theHolland-Bukit Timah GRC.
Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014
If2013 is anything to go by, the next year will be even busier and moreproductive. Calling all our friends and supporters, come on board andlet’s make democracy a reality in Singapore!