Chee calls on Lee to turn page on authoritarian rule

November 22, 2012
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

Dear Prime Minister Lee,

Now that I have cleared my bankruptcy,I look forward to leading my party and standing in the generalelections in 2016.$CUT$

More importantly, I look forward to a genuinecontest of ideas that our parties espouse.

To this end, it is important that themass media be liberalised to enable them to report freely and independentlyon all contesting parties and our policies, that the election period be lengthened so that parties can run meaningful campaigns, and that the re-drawing of boundaries be done in a transparent and non-partisan manner.

In other words, that we have a free, fairand democratically run elections.

You are one of those persons presented with the rare opportunity to lead a country from an era of authoritarian rule to one of democratic governance. Singapore stands at the crossroads andyou are at the very front. You have a historic choice to make: You can choose to continue with the politics of old or you cantake our country forward by instituting political reforms that will put this nation firmly on the path to democracy.

Do one and you will set Singapore back -painfully, perhaps, even irrevocably. Do the other and you will earn the respect of a grateful nation, reaping all that History will surely bestow upon you.

For our part, the Singapore DemocraticParty pledge our loyalty to Singapore and we can demonstrate this best by working hard to draw up alternative policies for the country.

You may not agree with our proposals but this is all the more reason to engage us, not censor our ideas. Point outwhere, in your view, we are mistaken in what we propose. Let us have an open and honest debate. Let the people hear both sets of ideas and decide for themselves who they want to govern this country.

Singaporeans have demonstrated that they want choice. They want the opposition to beconstructive and to present alternative ideas on how to better Singapore. The SDP has endeavoured to meet that simple, yet clear,expectation.

But they also want the PAP to listen to them, not steamroll over their views. They want the Government to engage the opposition, not crush it.I hope that you, too, can endeavour to meet that simple, yet clear,expectation.

We may have different visions for this country but that doesn’t mean we needto be mortal enemies. We may belong to different political parties but that doesn’t mean we need to wish each other ill. A strong government can only come about if there is a strong opposition, and Singaporeans want to see both. To this end, we must love our country more than we love our parties.Ultimately, Singapore must come first.

And if Singapore is to come first,then let us discard the politics of old and look ahead to ademocratic and bright future. I ask you, as Prime Minister of Singapore and leader of the PAP, to turn the page onauthoritarian rule and start a new chapter on democratic governance.There is, I assure you, little to lose and everything to gain.

I wish you well.

Yours sincerely,

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party