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30 Dec 07
At its New Year gathering yesterday, the SDP told friends and supporters that it was gearing up for a campaign in 2008 against the PAP’s politics of greed and exploitation.
Noting how the price for everyday commodities have risen beyond the means of working Singaporeans, party secretary-general Dr Chee served notice that the Singapore Democrats would not take the matter lying down.
Such an exploitative posture taken by the ruling party must be resisted, he said, and the people must not adopt the mindset that they are powerless to do anything about it.
The dinner was attended by more than 50 persons, several of whom were at the Centrepoint Shopping Centre earlier in the evening in a black-shirt protest against a recent slew of price increases.
Assistant secretary-general Mr John Tan started the evening off with a political trivia quiz and handed out some token prizes.
Dr Chee then welcomed the dinner guests and noted several new faces. He encouraged them to get more involved in the work of building up democracy and helping the SDP to speak up for the people.
Dr Chee also said that there was little to celebrate in the coming New Year as the future of many Singaporeans looked uncertain and economically more burdensome.
A few attendees voiced their concerns about the continuing state of economic affairs in Singapore and suggested ways of countering the Government’s policies.
Opposition stalwart, Mr Jufrie Mahmoud, pointed out that the Internet should be used even more effectively to spread news about the PAP and to empower Singaporeans.
He said that the traditional means of selling party newspapers was expensive and labour-intensive while the Internet was a much cheaper means of reaching out to the people.
He advised that the Singapore Democrats make a concerted effort to spread the word about its website which, according to him, carried much information that Singaporeans should not fail to read.
To this end, activist Mr Yap Keng Ho suggested that a shorter URL for the SDP website be found. He also recommended that the party acquire a printing machine to produce flyers cheaply rather than going to traditional printers.
Financial analyst and commentator Mr Leong Sze Hian added that rather than talking about high principles, flyers should contain easily digestible facts and statistics for the general population. He suggested that the CPF, unemployment rate, HDB prices, and ministerial salaries be the key issues.
Mr Leong also mentioned that Singaporeans had to contend with low wages because foreign workers were willing to accept such wage levels.
Writer Mr Alex Au then sarcastically suggested that foreign workers should be brought in to work and taxed while Singaporeans could then be paid to reproduce and remedy the problem of the falling birthrate.
Another dinner guest criticized the Government for assuming a profit-making approach to governance in Singapore. “If all we care about is making money at the expense of our social well-being,” he said, “then our future is going to be troubling.”
Dr Chee then rounded up the discussion by appealing to the audience to make a commitment not to remain silent in the coming year and actively contribute to the fight against PAP exploitation.
“Whether it is volunteering your time, finances, or skills, please help us in our campaign so that we may all live in a just and democratic Singapore,” he urged Singaporeans