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Dr Poh Soo Kai, one of the few surviving leaders from the Barisan Sosialis (BS), called on Singaporeans to support the SDP. He was speaking at a lunch hosted by the SDP yesterday to honour the ‘Old Left’ who fought for Singapore’s independence during the colonial days.
Dr Poh said: “The PAP has been in power by suppressing the opposition for over 60 years. The old generation cannot just keep quiet. We have to do what we can. I, for one, have chosen to support the Singapore Democratic Party.”
“I hope many of you will do the same,” he continued, “because we can truly build up the base to extend the reach of the party. The future is not bright for the PAP.”
He pointed out that the world economy has caused asset inflation and this has markedly polarised society. Rich people have made their money, he said, but those who have no assets will find it difficult as most of them are in debt.
“The people who are going to suffer are your children and grandchildren,” Dr Poh warned.
In welcoming the guests, SDP Chairman Paul Tambyah thanked our guests for their contribution to Singapore’s development and remembered leaders like Mr Lim Chin Siong, Mr Said Zahari, and Dr Lim Hock Siew, all of whom who have passed away.
Speaking in Mandarin and English, Professor Tambyah added, “Today, we face an uncertain future for our country. The PAP leadership appears to have lost their way, they seem confused about whether we own the land our HDB flats sit on or whether we don’t.”
Referring to PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally, he told the audience that while the ministers expect to be paid astronomical salaries, they ask us to tighten our belts.
“They divide us by culture and social status and now even by generation,” the SDP chairman pointed out, “we had the pioneer generation, we will get the Merdeka generation and – hopefully my cohort will not be the mediocre generation! We in the SDP believe that Singaporeans deserve better.”
SDP Treasurer Bryan Lim also addressed the attendees. He thanked the pioneers for their sacrifice and said that their contribution inspires the SDP to continue the fight against oppressive authoritarians.
He reminded those present: “We will not retreat and will not show fear because we know the fruit of a righteous victory will always taste the sweetest.”
Other Barisan leaders also stood up to speak. Mr Tan Kok Fang said that the SDP’s persistence in the face of PAP persecution is very important. “From this, you can see that the SDP’s future is bright.” He called on his compatriots to support the party to help realise their ideals.
Mr Ang Eng Siong, who was former PM Goh Chok Tong’s classmate and also an ex-ISD detainee, rallied the Old Left not to passively observe the fight for democracy. “It is everybody’s responsibility, not just the SDP’s, to get them into Parliament,” Mr Ang said.
Master-of-ceremonies Mr Khung Wai Yeen, who was the SDP’s candidate for Bukit Panjang and recently co-opted in the party’s Central Executive Committee, commented in Mandarin that the government is blind and deaf to the people’s difficulties.
Mr Khung said that the PAP is still stuck with outdated policies that it implemented decades ago and has no new ideas to take Singapore forward. He said, “The SDP will strive harder for electoral victory in order to improve the people’s lives!”