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SDP’s Assistant Treasurer Dr Wong Souk Yee has filed an appeal against High Court Judge Chua Lee Ming’s decision to dismiss her application for a by-election in the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
Some question the rationale of spending time and money on a matter that has little chance of succeeding. Here’s the reason why the action is important.
Never has the trust between the people and the government been so low. The price and tax hikes despite pre-election promises, the idea that our flats will ultimately become worthless despite assurances in the past, and the lack of meaningful ideas in taking Singapore forward have all contributed to the loss of confidence and appeal towards the PAP by the public.
As a consequence, the party has had to resort to increasingly desperate measures to keep its hold on power. The reservation of the Presidency for Ms Halimah Yacob – and then refusing to call a by-election when she resigns her MP seat – is the most glaring example.
The PAP also recently amended the Films Act and Public Order Act to give itself even more power to crack down on dissent. It is presently trying to further clampdown on online discussions in the pretext of dealing with “fake news”.
When we witness such an assault on the development of democracy and accountability in this country, we can either bow our heads in fearful silence or redouble our efforts to speak up and resist the autocratic measures.
For the SDP, the choice is clear. If we are loyal citizens who believe in our pledge “to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality”, then we must do what is right and necessary.
A singular action – like this appeal – may not by itself change much. But it is the accumulation of such actions, conducted in a determined and concerted manner not just by the SDP but by all who care about holding the government accountable, that will one day bring about a democratic system that we hope to see in our country.
So whether it is the patriot writing in exile, the academic doing battle in a parliamentary committee hearing, the NGO conducting a public forum, a group of activists publishing a website, or Singaporeans protesting in groups big and small, these are all different strands of resistance that while, at the moment, may seem like exercises in futility, will one day bring about meaningful change.
Democratic reform has always been the result of decades of lonely acts painfully and doggedly undertaken by those can see beyond the immediate present.
And so it is with the SDP and the present legal effort. The PAP government must be made to answer and explain itself in court why it contradicted the Constitution with its introduction of the GRC system.
If it is not challenged, it will only get bolder by making laws that are detrimental to Singapore. The question then becomes why those of us who knew better and could have done something remained silent.
If legal action is expensive, then let us all contribute to the worthy effort. If each and everyone of us donate a little, we, as a community, will be more than capable of standing up to the PAP. B a part of this community and donate to the legal fund for Dr Wong’s appeal. (Please click here.)
At this crucial juncture of our nation’s development, we must not bow our heads in dejection, we must not lose faith in the cause. We must, instead, persevere and continue to do what is right.
For we remain the difference between a future darkened by continued one-party rule and one that is democratic and full of promise.