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The Straits Times has written to Dr Chee Soon Juan to ask for his comments to the questions below. The newspaper is writing a “feature” on the SDP to be published tomorrow (18 September 2004). Note how loaded some of the questions are.
The Singapore Democrats have already written its answers but will not send them to the Straits Times. Instead they will be posted on this website after the story has been published. The reasons for this will be made clear in the post.
In the meantime, SDP will ask the newspaper to publish the following statement together with the piece: The Singapore Democrats would like to ask your readers to visit our website at www.singaporedemocrat.org to read a full and unedited response to this article.
Questions from the Straits Times to the SDP:
1. The Singapore Democratic Party hasn’t been very visible or active since
the 2001 polls, what has been going on at the party and what do you think
will be the party’s future?
2. What are your plans and programmes for SDP now? What will be the party’s
focus and direction? Is SDP gearing up for elections? How?
3. What is the state of the party affairs now? How often do you have
meetings? Who attends these meetings?
4. Can you provide an updated list of the current CEC members?
5. How many members SDP has right now? How many of them are active?
6. Where has CEC members such as Wong Hong Toy and Cheo Chai Chen gone to?
Are they still around? Are they still active? Are they still CEC
7. Many have said that you’ve taken SDP on a route that doesn’t connect
with local support. Your agenda on human rights, democratic freedom,
freedom of speech – while there are issues worth noting – are issues that
many people in Singapore can’t connect to. They’d prefer if you’d tackle
bread-and-butter issues such as the high medical cost, high S&C charges,
etc. As a result, the party seems to lose a lot of grassroots support.
What is your response?
8. Any efforts to pump up grassroots activities? And why did SDP decide to
do away with going door to door to visit residents?
9. Some observers note that SDP has been on the decline since the 1991
polls when there were 3 SDP MPs in Parliament. Now there is no SDP
representative in Parliament and the integrity of the party has been
undermined by credibility issues starting from the select committee on
healthcare and now the defamation suit by MM Lee and SM Goh. Some people
we’ve spoken to said that SDP is nothign more than an “empty shell”.
What is your response?
10. Some observers have also pointed out that you are responsible for
changing the directions of the party and hence the decline, do you agree?
11. Your take and update on your intentions on the defamation suit by MM
Lee and SM Goh?
12. During the case, the subject of SDP receving “foreign funding” was
brought up. We know that you are actively involved in regional NGO-like
organisations such as the Alliance for Democracy and Reform for Asia and
CALD or Council of Asian Liberal Democrats. Any truth about SDP receiving