Is the SDP a confrontational and destructive party?

August 8, 2011
Singapore Democrats

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It is clear that more and more Singaporeans are beginning to understand and support the SDP’s coherent and well-defined alternative ideology.

Among some of the objectives that we are working towards is an egalitarian economic system where wealth is not amassed in the hands of a few, a democratic polity where citizens are the boss, and a social/educational system that ensures equal opportunity and a fair go for all.

If the SDP is successful in achieving our objectives, it would mean the dismantling of the PAP’s autocratic, elitist and non-transparent system.

To ensure that the PAP’s power remains unthreatened, the ruling party finds in necessary to portray the SDP as a radical or confrontational party. It does this through labels like:

confrontational = destructive = bad

moderate = constructive = good

Once it has planted this notion in the public’s head, it can then peddle the falsehood that the SDP is confrontational and, therefore, one that must be rejected because we are out to destroy Singapore. Not only is the party confrontational, but moderates within our ranks have been sidelined. This is the classic divide-and-conquer tactic.

Singaporeans must be aware of this PAP strategem and not be misled. Is what the SDP does radical? Is it our policies make us confrontational?

We pivoted our GE2011 campaign on alternative policies such as implementing a Singaporeans First policy, introducing minimum wage, and reducing or abolishing the GST – policies that establishment figures (and even the PAP) have now embraced.

Ambassador Tommy Koh, for instance, has joined in our call for minimum wage; the NTUC, President Tony Tan, and Dr Tan Cheng Bock are all now echoing our call for Singaporeans First; and some PAP MPs have even voiced their support for a reduction in the GST.

If what we propose are now repeated by the establishment, can we really be radical?

We must break from the ruling party’s characterisation of what is radical and moderate opposition.

The truth is that opposition parties that it deems a threat will be labelled confrontational and bad. Parties that it approves of will be complimented as moderate and good.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong admitted as much during the TV forum just before the elections in May 2011: “Not all opposition parties are the same. Some work within our system and try to play a constructive role; others try to pull down the system and bring it into disrepute. And I think there‚Äôs a difference in the way they approach politics and the way we approach them.”

Singaporeans must not fall into this trap. Just because we seek to change the system – a system designed by the PAP for its own benefit rather than for the benefit of the people – does not make the SDP radical or confrontational.

Rather, it makes us effective and responsible.