Monday, 21 October 2019

'Pre-election' rally 2021

SDP holds Hong Lim Park rally, which it says is 'full-dress rehearsal' for next general election
The crowd sings the national anthem during the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) pre-election rally held at Hong Lim Park on Oct 19, 2019.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) members and supporters were out in force on Saturday (Oct 19) evening at Hong Lim Park where the party held a pre-election rally with the theme "Shake It Up!".

The event had a carnival-like atmosphere, with band performances and even a group of parrot enthusiasts who showcased their colourful birds.

As the evening progressed, SDP leaders including secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and chairman Paul Tambyah, along with other central executive committee members and new faces, including marketing and communications professional Min Cheong, 34, took to the podium to address the crowd.

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SDP holds 'pre-election' rally, says PAP has not kept its promises
Supporters gather at the Singapore Democratic Party "pre-election rally" on Oct 19, 2019. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Baker)

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held what it called a pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park on Saturday (Oct 19), raising issues ranging from the cost of living to the impending GST hike and the need for more diverse voices in Parliament.

A main theme among the nine party members who spoke was how the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has not kept promises it made in the 2015 General Election:
  • "I will demonstrate to you and leave you in absolutely no doubt how the PAP says one thing before the elections and does another after the elections," said SDP leader Chee Soon Juan, before going on to present examples.
  • Playing a short clip of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a 2015 election rally, Dr Chee said Mr Lee had promised that the elderly poor will live in peace and dignity.
  • The promise has not been kept, Dr Chee said. Among the numbers he cited were figures by the Samaritans of Singapore which showed that suicide rates among the elderly in 2017 were at an all-time high.

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Singapore Democratic Party holds pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park

The opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) highlighted the rising cost of living as one of its main bugbears with the government during its pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park on Saturday (19 October).

The opposition party’s secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan, even cited the issue as one of the major reasons why Singaporeans have lost faith in the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

“Trust is not what you say, it’s what you do,” he said repeatedly in his 20-minute speech, during which he accused the PAP of having broken the promises it made to voters during the 2015 General Election (GE).

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SDP speaks up on how to improve life in Singapore

With the forthcoming elections in Singapore, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has fielded its bets with each one pledging to work for the advancement of all Singaporeans.

Several speakers made key points on current issues affecting Singaporeans:

  • John Tan examined how the PAP Government has broken its promises when it retained the people’s hard earned CPF money even after its maturity.
  • Robin Low who took on the issue of transportation in the tiny state.
  • Damanhuri Bin Abas addressed the issue of leadership in the country.
  • Bryan Lim Boon Heng focused on the the cost of living and how PM Lee did not carry out his 2015 election promise of managing it.
  • Khung Wai Yeen centered on the lack of flexibility regarding CPF policy under the PAP government.
  • Alfred Tan took issue with the PAP’s justification of the proposed hike.
  • Min Cheong addressed the issue on the influx of foreign PMETs amidst growing anxieties about a shaky economy and tight labour market.
  • Paul Tambya spoke about the challenges facing those trying to get alternative views into parliament beginning with the lack of an independent election commission to the intimidation and control of the media.
  • Chee Soon Juan called on the people to support the SDP because the PAP cannot be trusted to keep its promises with a strong opposition in Parliament.

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PSP’s Tan Cheng Bock appears via video recording during SDP ‘pre-election’ rally at Hong Lim Park
There was a familiar face at the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) “pre-election rally” event at Hong Lim Park on Oct. 19

Tan Cheng Bock, former PAP Member of Parliament and the current leader of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), said a few words via a pre-recorded videoIn front of a crowd of about 2,000 people, Tan said: “Progress Singapore Party wish Singapore Democratic Party a very successful pre-election rally”, and gave a thumbs-up.

Other opposition politicians also recorded video messages, including Sylvia Lim, Chair of the Workers’ Party (WP), and Lim Tean of the People’s Voice. Other notable figures in the Singapore political scene also attended in person. PSP central executive committee member Alex Tan Tiong Hee also attended the event in person.

The event also saw several members of the SDP give speeches, including “new faces” entrepreneur Robin Low and businessman Alfred Tan. Marketing communications professional Min Cheong, who was introduced to the public on Aug. 4, also gave a speech and touched on the issue of workplace harassmentSDP chair Paul Tambyah, the penultimate speaker of the evening, said that the SDP had “constructive policy proposals” on issues like healthcare, housing and immigration. SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan said he would give a “10-word speech” as the last featured speaker of the event.

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The State of Play: How political parties are gearing up for Singapore's next GE
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat meeting diners at Tampines Round Market and Food Centre in July. PHOTO: ST FILE

Insight looks at how the People's Action Party and opposition parties are gearing up for the general election.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee had been formed, a move which officially starts the process that could see the next polls being held in a matter of months although, technically, the election must be held by April 2021.

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4G leaders ready for general election: PM Lee Hsien Loong
The 4G leaders are familiar with issues like ensuring housing and healthcare affordability, having been in politics for some time, said PM Lee Hsien Loong during an interview in New York on Sept 27, 2019.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The People's Action Party's (PAP) fourth-generation political leaders are ready for the upcoming general election and are preparing for the challenges facing Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday.

"We are ready at any time," he said when asked whether the party leadership was primed for the election, which must be held by April 2021.

Earlier this month, the Elections Department said the committee reviewing Singapore's electoral boundaries had been convened, the first formality on the road to the general election.

Prof Koh tells 4G leaders: We don’t want more S’poreans to become Grab drivers and angry voters

At the Singapore Bicentennial Conference yesterday (1 Oct), the former Singapore’s UN Permanent Representative Professor Tommy Koh cautioned the 4th generation PAP leaders that two of their priorities should be to maintain racial and religious harmony and make Singapore a more equal society.

These include looking into allegations of discriminatory hiring practices and working to make Singapore a classless society, he told the audience. He said, “Today, Singapore is not a classless society. We are divided by wealth, by income, by profession, by place of residence, and even by the school we attend.”

He hopes the 4G leaders will help establish a more caring and inclusive society in Singapore, with employers and the Government stepping in to help those who will be laid off as the economy restructures.

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How AHTC verdict will play out at the General Elections

Way back in 1986, the ever-cunning Lee Kuan Yew came up with a plan to erect one more hurdle for the opposition. The Town Council concept, which made Members of Parliament responsible for the upkeep of public housing estates, was born. Tied to that concept was an overt message that if voters were to elect politicians without the right credentials, the estates might become unliveable as rubbish piled up and other basic necessities like lifts, lighting and water supply were disrupted.

That was the nightmare scenario painted by Lee. As he said in the 1988 National Day Rally, "If your MP is not honest, or not competent, you will know it soon enough. And if your estate is poorly run, repairs slow, and lift maintenance poor, you will be inconvenienced and worse, the resale value of your flat will be affected... Your personal well-being will be at stake when you choose your MP."

Some 33 years later, a very different scenario is playing out. The dominant opposition Workers’ Party (WP) is on the brink of losing two of its top leaders, as the High Court found them guilty of a conflict of interest in employing “conflicted persons” to run the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) and overpaying the managing agent, possibly to the tune of millions. Many had expected the verdict but what was damning was Justice Kannan Ramesh’s strong language. His judgement was sprinkled with words like “inexcusable” and “egregious” in describing the actions taken by then secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and chairman Sylvia Lim.

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PAP's 'divisive approach' to politics is polarising Singapore society: Pritam Singh

A few days after three Aljunied GRC Members of Parliament were found by the High Court to be liable for damages suffered by Aljunied Hougang Town Council (AHTC), Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh has gone on the attack, accusing the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) of practicing “political double standards” in the approval of municipal projects.

As the next general elections get closer, Singh said he is hearing various 4G leaders speak of the “dangers of a polarised society, dysfunctional politics with social media often blamed”.

In a scathing Facebook post on Tuesday (15 October), he added, “The 4G leaders also repeat calls for an inclusive society, co-creating policies etc. But would the 4G leaders dare consider that the PAP’s divisive approach to politics may be the elephant in the room that will make Singapore a politically polarised society?”

AHTC Saga: The real monkey in the room
The real monkey in the room has always been: Why are political parties in charge of running town councils? Is this not the job of the HDB? Should not everything be thrown back at the HDB?

With Justice Kannan Ramesh having found Workers’ Party leaders Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim guilty of breaching their fiduciary duties with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, the next stages in the lawsuit saga will be the outcome of appeal and decisions on the amounts to be recovered from all parties involved. These are the legal aspects of the case. But the AHTC trial has never been just about the law. The whole thing can also be seen as political. There are a number of takeaways from the trial – the repercussions of which will affect the forthcoming general elections and the political scene in Singapore.

The judge said the town councillor is like the director of a company or members of a strata development management company.  The councillor has to discharge his fiduciary obligations – even if he is just a volunteer and paid an honorarium of only $300 a month.  Justice Ramesh said: “In fact, the analysis which I have adopted means that the fiduciary relationship between town councillors and their town council is entirely distinct from the political relationship between town councillors and their constituents.”

Put simply, politics is politics and duty is duty – whether or not discharging the duty is done, as the WP put it, in good faith, presumably referring to the lapses. Good faith or not, Justice Ramesh was scathing in his description of the WP leaders who, he said, put their own political interests over that of AHTC. The WP politicians will appeal the findings. Are Singaporeans satisfied with the town council system?

Singapore Could Get its First Real Election

According to independent Asian news publication, Asia Sentinel, Singapore, given Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s re-entry into politics, the country may end up having its first “real” election.

John Berthelsen, the Asia Sentinel’s editor and formerly of the Wall Street Journal and Hong Kong’s The Standard, writes about the threat that Dr Tan and his party present to ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

Regarding Dr Tan, Mr Berthelsen writes,  “Although he is a near-octogenarian by any standard, Tan presents the PAP with a challenge. He is the first politician to have joined an opposition that for decades has been clearly lacking any serious gravitas. He had been a member of the PAP since 1980 after having been recruited by Lee Kuan Yew himself, rising to membership in the Central Executive Committee, the party’s highest ruling body and serving in a long string of other posts as well.

SDP launches updated manifesto ahead of next general election

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) yesterday launched its manifesto, titled The Way Forward, outlining its alternative policy proposals.

It is the first political party to do so ahead of the next general election, which must be held by April 2021.

At the launch event held at The Colonial @ Scotts, the party said that several of its proposals, including those for healthcare and education, have been updated.

Electoral boundaries committee independent, not politically motivated: Heng Swee Keat
To do the electoral boundaries properly, population, demographic and other changes have to be looked at, and this requires the views of independent experts, said Mr Heng Swee Keat.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The committee that reviews electoral boundaries is independent and not politically motivated, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.

To do the electoral boundaries properly, population, demographic and other changes have to be looked at, and this requires the views of independent experts, said Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.

He was answering a question from Professor Paul Tambyah of the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the Singapore Bicentennial Conference yesterday evening.

Explainer: Who’s on the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee and how it draws up the GE battle lines
The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee will recommend how the map of electoral divisions will look like for the next General Election and the number of parliamentary seats in each constituency

With the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) last month, the work is now cut out for the five-member panel of senior civil servants to draw up the battle lines for the next General Election.

Appointed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the panel is chaired by Mr Lee’s secretary Tan Kee Yong, and comprises Housing and Development Board chief executive Cheong Koon Hean, Singapore Land Authority chief executive Tan Boon Khai, chief statistician Wong Wee Kim and Elections Department (ELD) head Koh Siong Ling, the ELD told TODAY.

ELD said in a press release on Wednesday (Sept 4) that the EBRC is “in the midst of its deliberations”. Once the committee has completed its review, it will submit a report to the Prime Minister. After this, it could take days or weeks before the GE is triggered with the dissolution of Parliament and the issuance of the writ of election.

Tan Cheng Bock visits Ghim Moh and Tiong Bahru, as PSP conducts first walkabout in all 29 constituencies
Progress Singapore Party secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock interacts with members of the public at Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre on Sept 29, 2019.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

The leader of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), Dr Tan Cheng Bock, visited Ghim Moh and Tiong Bahru markets as part of its first walkabout on Sunday (Sept 29) morning.

About 300 members of Singapore's newest political party and volunteers also concurrently fanned out across the island, visiting all 29 constituencies.

Dressed in red polo T-shirts with a palm tree logo, they reached out to the Sunday breakfast crowd with balloons and pamphlets, shaking hands and taking photos with residents.

PSP greets residents in all 29 constituencies during first official walkabout on Sun

Progress Singapore Party (PSP), the newest party in the Singapore political scene, paid a visit to residents of all 29 constituencies across the island last Sun (29 Sep).

Calling the “29 on 29 Walkabout” a “success”, PSP on its official Facebook page yesterday said that nearly 300 party members and supporters walked the ground, meeting Singaporeans “from all walks of life” and listening to residents’ concerns.

The party also thanked residents of all 29 constituencies for the “enthusiastic” welcome.

Elections Dept puts up tender for 150 polling booths to be delivered by Oct 31
The call for tender follows the announcement on Sept 4 that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee had been formed, a move which officially starts the process that could see the next general election being held in a matter of months.
The call for tender follows the announcement on Sept 4 that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee had been formed, a move which officially starts the process that could see the next general election being held in a matter of months.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Elections Department is looking at acquiring at least 150 booths that look set to be used for polling, according to tender documents seen by The Straits Times.

The booths should be delivered by Oct 31, said the tender on government procurement portal GeBIZ published on Tuesday (Sept 10).

Although the documents did not say when the contract would be awarded, it said the booths have to be delivered within six weeks of the award of the contract.

Electoral boundaries committee formed: What it means for Singapore’s GE

The review of electoral boundaries by a committee is now under way and while that marks the first step towards a General Election (GE) in Singapore, political watchers think it could take several months before a vote is called, with one pencilling it to be nine months down the road.

The Elections Department on Wednesday (Sep 4) announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) has been convened, and it has been directed to review the current electoral boundaries and recommend the number and boundaries of Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and Single-Member Constituencies (SMCs).

“It is now in the midst of its deliberations and will make its recommendations to the Prime Minister when it has completed its review,” the statement said. 

WP politician wishes the Govt would give more time between the release of EBRC report to calling of GE

Workers’ Party (WP) politician Yee Jenn Jong has expressed his wish that the Government would allocate more time between the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) report and the calling of the next General Election (GE), so that for opposition parties can be better prepared.

Yesterday (4 Sept), the Elections Department (ELD) announced that the EBRC was convened last month, marking the first step towards the next General Election. The EBRC’s formation has been widely taken as confirmation that the next GE – which must be held by 15 April 2021 – is imminent.

The EBRC is in charge of revising the current electoral boundaries. The EBRC will present its recommendations to the Prime Minister through a report once it concludes the review.

“Snap elections in December or early January would give the ruling party an advantage” – Ex-PAP MP Inderjit Singh
Ex-People’s Action Party (PAP) parliamentarian Inderjit Singh has said that calling snap elections in December or early January would give the ruling party an advantage over a potentially unprepared opposition, in a recent interview with the Straits Times

Mr Inderjit was responding to the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC), that was announced by the Elections Department (ELD) yesterday (4 Sept). The formation of the committee marks the first firm step towards the next General Election (GE) and speculation on when the next GE will be called is rife.

In the past three General Elections (GEs), the EBRC has taken between two to four months to complete the review. The time between the release of the EBRC’s report and polling day has ranged from as little as 17 days to as long as six months, in Singapore history.

Mr Inderjit said that the ruling party would possibly benefit from calling snap elections in December or early January, since this would mean opposition parties would have less time to get prepared.

It should be a rule that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee be announced as soon as it is formed, says Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss

Last week on 4 September, the Elections Department announced that the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) had been formed and is “in the midst of deliberations”.

The announcement caught everyone’s attention as the formation of the EBRC is usually a sign that elections are just around the corner.

On Facebook, vocal opposition politician and former member of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss pointed out that when Worker’s Party MP Pritam Singh had put forth a question in Parliament in July about the formation of the EBRC. MP Chan Chun Sing said in response that it had not been formed yet.

Who are the truly electable Opposition politicians?

How does an Opposition politician become electable? The People’s Action Party had tried in the past and even today to frame the question very differently: Should we even have an Opposition, indeed if Singaporeans want debate, they can have that by way of the Nominated MPs. More and more Singaporeans have not been buying that expired koyo cum threat since 1981. There is, in fact, a promising and growing slate of what I call electable politicians who may perform better than government candidates or MPs, given the chance.

Before we get into the electability part, we take a look at the past Opposition MPs from the hiatus period from 1965 until J B Jeyaretnam of the Workers’ Party broke the PAP total parliament stranglehold in Anson in 1981. Three years after that,  Chiam See Tong-SDP was elected in 1984 in Potong Pasir, followed by two other SDP members, Ling How Doong in Bukit Gombak and Cheo Chai Chen in Nee Soon Central (who unlike Chiam were both later not re-elected) in 1991.

Finally there was Low Thia Khiang who beat the PAP in Hougang in the same year, 1991, and later led his party to victory in the Aljunied GRC in 2011. WP’s popular Lee Li Lian won in a 2013 by-election in Punggol East. The historic breakthrough, of course, was the WP victory in Aljunied GRC when it found itself in control of the GRC with its five MPs beating a formidable PAP A team led by former Foreign Minister George Yeo. Together with Hougang and Punggol East, the WP had, for a period, five plus one plus one MPs.

Pritam Singh & Tan Cheng Bock socialise at Workers’ Party National Day Dinner 2019 in Hougang
Workers’ Party & Progress Singapore Party meeting of minds

The 2019 edition of the dinner has ignited some interest among political watchers and opposition supporters, as former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock and his Progress Singapore Party members were also present, having bought seats to a whole table at the dinner.

In a Saturday night Facebook post, just past 10pm — mere minutes after the dinner — Pritam thanked Tan and his party for making it, and revealed that both party leaders “discussed that ‘September election’ over a Blue Hammer cocktail”.

Pritam even helpfully provided the ingredients mix for the “Blue Hammer Cocktail Recipe”.

COMMENT: Long live the PAP?
The PAP building at New Upper Changi Rd. (Photo: Screenshot/Google Maps)

With a title like “Is the People’s Action Party Here to Stay?”, you can bet that I flipped to the back of the book to find the answer. I was rather bemused at Dr Bilveer Singh’s parting shot: “Would it not be a duty and obligation for the one-party dominant state to think of Singapore and its interests to prepare an alternative government to continue administering the Republic in the best interest of its people?’’

So I had to ask the good professor whether he thought it was even conceivable for the PAP to think this way – prepare for its own demise. His answer was that one-party states do not last long (Singapore has the longest staying ruling political party in the non-communist world by the way). Rather than wait for a schism in the PAP to lead the opposition to power – or worse, for the country to get a rude shock if the PAP was suddenly overthrown, the PAP, which prides itself on serving the national interest, should draw up a contingency plan.

Clearly, Dr Singh, who lectures political science at the National University of Singapore, believes that the PAP should stay on – for a myriad of reasons, including an opposition that is unprepared and has no desire to form the government in the near future. Any erosion of authority should be – and more likely to be – a gradual evolution than revolution.

Tan Cheng Bock’s Progress S’pore Party has over 500 members in less than a month
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) held their official launch on Aug. 3, 2019

PSP central executive committee member Alex Tan Tiong Hee told Mothership that the party’s members were an even split between older and younger folks.

He defined older members as retirees and senior citizens who may still be working but are old than 55 years old, while younger people were aged 21 up to middle age.

He added that they signed up through the party’s Facebook and webpage, while others were recruited from friends’ recommendations and introduction from current members.

Tan Cheng Bock’s party invites Ex-GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong to speak about inequality as part of series
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP), founded by Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock, has started a new series called ‘PSP TALKS’

For the first installment of the series, the party has invited former GIC chief economist Yeoh Lam Keong.

As per their event description, Yeoh Lam Keong is a prominent, independent, non-partisan economist and social commentator in Singapore and is involved in both public policy and financial economics.

The party adds that through this talk, they intend to join the national conversation on social inequality and poverty which remains a great challenge for both our society and our government.

All seats to inaugural PSP Speaker Series talk by former GIC chief economist snapped up under two hours

An upcoming talk organised by the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) is set for a full house, as all tickets to the event were taken up in just under two hours today (29 Aug).

The PSP Speaker Series’ inaugural talk, titled “Poverty in Singapore & Policy Gaps in our Social Safety Nets”, will feature former GIC chief economist and managing director Yeoh Lam Keong, and will be moderated by lawyer Khush Chopra.

The discussion will be held at The Working Capitol on Tue, 10 Sep from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. PSP said in a Facebook post Thu afternoon that it will be livestreaming the talk via its Facebook page.

People’s Voice Party members, S’porean activist Tan Wah Piow meet M’sian MP and Bersih organiser Maria Chin Abdullah in KL

People’s Voice Party (PVP) chief Lim Tean, alongside PVP’s “Shadow Cabinet” members Leong Sze Hian and Nassir Ismail, paid what he has dubbed a “courtesy visit” to Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Maria Chin Abdullah yesterday afternoon (26 Aug) in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

Ms Chin, who is well-known for her significant role in the Bersih protests that called for free and fair elections in Malaysia, took the Singaporean politicians on a tour around the Parliament complex “even though Parliament is not presently in session”, and had engaged in “useful and productive” discussions with them, according to Mr Lim in a Facebook post on Mon.

Noting that Ms Chin was arrested and detained by police in Nov 2016 during the Najib Razak administration for organising the last Bersih protest in Aug the year prior, Mr Lim said that she went on to be a member of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). PKR is a constituent party under the current ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition and is led by Anwar Ibrahim.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock motivates PSP members to work hard for the next GE, encourages more talented individuals to join the party

After almost a month since the official launch of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) on 3 August, the party conducted its first National Day Celebration dinner on Sunday (25 August) at Concorde Hotel Singapore in Orchard Road.

The event was attended by about 400 guests, many of whom are newly registered members of the party.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock, 79, who is the founding Secretary-General of PSP, gave the opening address where he motivated and urged his fellow party members to earn the votes of the people and win big in the upcoming General Election (GE) to ensure the party holds some seats in the Parliament.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock: “For some of them, fear has stopped them from coming forward to join me”

During the Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s National Day dinner on Sunday (August 25), party founder and Secretary-General Dr Tan Cheng Bock gave a rousing speech calling for Singaporeans to come join him.

The dinner was held at Concorde Hotel, and saw Singaporeans from many walks of life attending the event.

During his speech, Dr Tan urged people to get involved in the scheme of things, and to understand the importance of their involvement.

Veteran architect on PSP’s national day dinner: “it had a palpable sense of fellowship and joyfulness…”

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP), founded by Dr Tan Cheng Bock, held their National Day celebrations on Sunday, August 25. The event was described by Veteran architect Tay Kheng Soon to be “more like family rather than a political movement”.

Mr Tay, adjunct Professor at the Department of Architect at the National University of Singapore (NUS) revealed in a Facebook post that the celebrations had “a palpable sense of fellowship and joyfulness and delightful sense of humour”.

He added that he was particularly was impressed by an 18-year-old who joined PSP because she felt there was a future embodied by the party. He explained that she spoke so confidently of pain and compassion as political philosophy.

Progress Singapore Party 10 hrs

Over 400 people packed Concorde Hotel to attend our first-ever National Day Dinner that happened last Sunday, 25th August. Held a month after PSP's Official Party Launch on 3rd August, our PSP family has grown to over 500 members!

A sumptuous buffet spread was accompanied by light-hearted performances – including a skit by young PSP members and a hearty rendition of “I Will Survive” by the party’s “karaoke veteran” Khoo Boo Keong.

The Party’s Vision is to build a United Singapore, Progressing with Compassion; built upon the foundations of Accountability, Transparency and Independence of the three branches of government– the Parliament, the Civil Service and the Courts.

Learn how you can play your part:

Dr Tan Cheng Bock Yesterday at 5:53 PM

PSP's 1st National Day Dinner

Last Sunday night (25 Aug2019), PSP held it's first National Day Dinner. It was a significant time and we thank everyone who made the time and effort to be there. New members of all ages took to the stage to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams for our nation. It was very inspiring.

We ate, shared, laughed, listened and dreamed. Many also shared their thoughts in song, among which were "Impossible Dream", "Madu Dan Racun", "Count on me Singapore".

Before the night ended with us singing the National Anthem, my taxi driver friends took to the stage with a rousing rendition of the Hokkien song "Ai Pia Jia Eh Yiah". I felt very blessed indeed to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic and passionate Singaporeans.

HEADLINES GE Insider: Hani Mohamed expected to Contest for “Cheng Bock’s Angels”, aka Progress Singapore Party
The opposition seems to be attracting more and more top-notch candidates into the fray

While the SDP has attracted the likes of experienced banker turned kopi-entrepreneur Alfred Tan, the newly-formed Progress Singapore Party is certainly no slouch.

Businesswoman Hani Mohamed has been spotted at PSP events and sources told Redwire that the party is expected to induct her as a candidate for the upcoming General Election.

If she accepts the offer, Hani will join other young ladies in “Cheng Bock’s Angels”, such as Michelle Lee and Hazel Poa, in contesting under the PSP banner.

GE Insider: Kopi Ong Towkay Alfred Tan in “Prime Spot” to Contest under SDP Banner

Kopi Ong director Alfred Tan is said to be in “prime spot” to contest for the Singapore Democratic Party in the coming General Election.

Sources told Redwire that Tan, an experienced banker turned entrepreneur, is considering an offer from the SDP.

Hailed as a “Lim Tean with substance”, he is likely to be a star candidate if he accepts.

NUS Assoc Professor predicts that PAP unlikely to be as strong as it is now in the next 15 years
The professor outlines three scenarios for the ruling party in the coming years all of which show a waning in popularity

Dr Bilveer Singh, an Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Political Science, has predicted that it is unlikely for the ruling People’s Action Party to hold on to as much power as it has today, after the next 15 years, in his new book “Is the People’s Action Party Here to Stay”.

In his book, Dr Bilveer forecasts that there are “only three basic scenarios for the PAP in the next 50 years.”:
  • The first scenario would see the PAP maintaining the status quo and controlling 85 to 90 per cent of Parliament even if they become less popular among the people. In this scenario, the opposition would control a maximum of 12 seats.
  • In the second scenario, Dr Bilveer said that the PAP would retain control of two-thirds or at least more than a half of Parliament while the opposition forms the remaining one-third or less-than-half of the seats.
  • In the final scenario, which Dr Bilveer calls the “Two-Party Pendulum Scenario,” a single opposition party or an opposition coalition would win the election causing power to shift between the PAP and the opposition entity. Dr Singh, however, believes that such a scenario is “unlikely” to occur in the next 3 elections or within the next 15 years.

Singapore PM's brother backs opposition party in election twist

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore prime minister’s estranged brother has thrown his support behind a newly-formed opposition party in an intriguing twist ahead of elections expected to be held as soon as this year.

In Facebook comments made late Sunday, Lee Hsien Yang said the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) - led by his elder brother Lee Hsien Loong and founded by his father Lee Kuan Yew - had “lost its way”.

His comments come amid a bitter feud between the siblings over their late father’s house, and an election which some analysts say could be months away and must be held by early 2021.
  • “I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party,” Hsien Yang said in the post.
  • “Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way.”

International publication calls Lee Hsien Yang’s support for Tan Cheng Bock’s party an “intriguing election twist”

Lee Hsien Yang’s open support for the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) has not only gripped the attention of Singaporeans but has also caught the interest of foreign observers.

International news publication Reuters, for one, has dubbed Mr Lee’s recent public support for Tan Cheng Bock’s party an “intriguing twist.”

At the PSP’s inaugural press meet on 26 July, the party’s leader Dr Tan Cheng Bock – a former veteran PAP parliamentarian who formed his own opposition party to push for transparency and accountability in Government—said that the PAP has changed and that it has lost its way in recent years.

It saddens me to see how Tan Cheng Bock has lost his way
MParader 18 hrs

Tan Cheng Bock says that Lee Kuan Yew invited him to join the PAP. Ouch! He omits to say that I put his name up to LKY. Surely I deserve some credit — or rather, blame — for who he has become now?

“For Country, For People”. He has conveniently left out “For Me”!

Tan Cheng Bock was my classmate in Raffles Institution. I have known him close for over 60 years. It saddens me to see how he has “lost his way”. He is like Don Quixote tilting at windmills. --- gct

Launch of Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party
Dr Tan Cheng Bock 19 hrs

Official Launch of Progress Singapore Party

Dear Singaporeans,

The Progress Singapore Party was officially launched yesterday (3 Aug 2019). I attach a copy of my speech and hope you will take the time to read it.

Thank you always, for your kindness and support.

"Take Courage and Let’s Work Together": Dr Tan Cheng Bock

As I stand before you, I cannot but feel honoured and humbled that so many Singaporeans want me to lead a political party. At my age, my friends urged me to retire and enjoy life. But I am happy and glad I did not heed their advice. I chose this option because I believe I am able to do something for the country. So it is indeed an honour.

The task ahead is a challenging one, but I love this country, like many of you. So to shy away from doing something, especially when I am aware that something isn’t right, will not be true to myself. That is not my style.

When I know something is wrong, I want to make it right.

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PSP celebrates Singapore’s 54th ‘birthday’ by inducting its 540th Member

As the country celebrates National Day with parades, floats and fireworks, Singapore’s newest political party, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) marked August 9th, Singapore’s 54th “birthday,” by welcoming its 540th member.

On its Facebook page, PSP posted photos of its members, clad in the red and white shirts bearing the party’s logo, celebrating with a cake wherein the words “Happy National Day” was written, with 5 lit candles in one row, and the 4 in another.

Two seventeen-year-olds were inducted into PSP, bringing the total of members to 540.

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Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Speech for Press Conference 26 July 2019

Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, we have invited you here today to mark the inauguration of the Progress Singapore Party:
  • It has taken a while to get here and yet – we are only at the beginning.
  • Making the decision to set up a new political party in Singapore was not easy. In my many walkabouts, I spoke to many different Singaporeans.
  • They expressed a desire to have a credible alternative to the current ruling party. They feel that the current system is imbalanced.
  • Many are concerned that a government with an overwhelming majority in Parliament is going to fail to take in different perspectives, different ideas and just push through their policies without due consideration of sentiments from the people and the longer-term consequences.
  • I’m not a young man anymore, I am 79 years old this year. After the last Presidential Election, I thought to retire from politics and rest.
  • Furthermore, I’ve already served in Parliament for 26 years as a Member of Parliament. I have spent a great deal of my life in public office.
  • But as I sat back and watched what has been going on in Parliament, and in our political system – I am concerned.
  • I believe the processes of good governance have gone astray. I worry because I see the foundations of good governance eroding. Specifically, there is an erosion of transparency, independence and accountability. Yet these are the three foundations for creating trust between the government and the people.

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Tan Cheng Bock's new party will be 'unifying alternative' for Singapore
Mr Tan Cheng Bock, founder and secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party, at a media conference on Jul 26, 2019. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

There has been an “erosion” of transparency, independence and accountability within the Government, said Dr Tan Cheng Bock on Friday (Jul 26), explaining the reasons behind his decision to set up a new political party.

“I believe the processes of good governance have gone astray,” said Dr Tan, the secretary-general of the new Progress Singapore Party (PSP), at a press conference held at Swissotel Merchant Court on Friday. “I worry because I see the foundations of good governance eroding. Specifically, there is an erosion of transparency, independence and accountability. 

“Yet these are the three foundations for creating trust between the Government and the people ... This means a robust system of checks and balances. This is what the people of Singapore want and this is what they should have - so that we can continue to hold our heads high and be proud of our system of Government.”

A 'Tan Cheng Bock & Lee Hsien Yang' Collaboration?
Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Ting Choon Meng meet at Teck Ghee Market, Ang Mo Kio GRC

Dr Tan Cheng Bock is seen visiting Teck Ghee Market on Saturday morning and having his breakfast there. While that is hardly anything usual in anyway but he is having his breakfast with Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Ting Choon Meng.

Furthermore, Teck Ghee Market is situated at Ang Mo Kio GRC where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is based at.

Earlier in Nov last year, the former PAP Member of Parliament and Presidential Candidate in GE2011, also had breakfast with Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Ting at West Coast Food Centre.

Lee Hsien Yang: Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way

Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY), son of late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and brother to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, expressed his support for the newly formed Progress Singapore Party headed by former PAP MP, Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

In a Facebook post on Sunday evening, Lee backed Dr Tan’s party and echoed his sentiments that the ruling party has “lost its way”.

“I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party. Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way.”

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Lee Hsien Yang July 28 at 7:01 PM

I wholeheartedly support the principles and values of the Progress Singapore Party.

Today’s PAP is no longer the PAP of my father. It has lost its way.

read more

An Opposition alliance under Tan Cheng Bock
Dr Tan Cheng Bock - I’m entering Parliament to hold PAP Govt accountable

In the video, he had expressed his wish to re-enter parliament because he wants to seek accountability and transparency over the reserves and the Central Provident Fund (CPF) from the government.

"I go in because I want accountability. I want transparency. What’s happening to our reserves? Are our reserves all gone? Don’t know. What happened to our CPF?" Dr Tan asked.

"Now these things, we all can shout until the cows come home [but it's] no use, if you’re not in the House."

Goh Chok Tong & Tan Cheng Bock ‘do a Mahathir’?
MParader 4 hours ago

Factually, the government website, has debunked online falsehoods on PM’s and Ministers’ pay. I shall use this opportunity to debunk public perception that I am paid a ministerial salary. ESM is merely a title with no pay. Though retired from Cabinet since 2011, I continue to work for Singapore in various capacities and use my stature to help raise awareness and funds for different groups of disadvantaged Singaporeans. Instead of threatening to get up from my grave when things go wrong, I prefer to contribute while still alive but without getting in the way of the younger leaders. Moreover, I have no plans to do a Mahathir! --- gct

Is the ground sour?
Lee Hsien Yang described Tan as "the leader Singapore deserves"

In a message of congratulations to Dr. Tan Cheng Bock, who announced on Friday, January 19, that he is returning to the political sphere with the Progress Singapore Party, Lee Hsien Yang called Dr. Tan “the leader Singapore deserves.”

This latest salvo seems particularly pointed, given that Lee is the younger brother of Singapore’s current Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

His post reads:
  • “Congratulations to Tan Cheng Bock and the Progress Singapore Party. I have known Cheng Bock for many years and he has consistently put the interests of the people first. We are fortunate that he has stepped forward to serve Singapore.
  • I only recently learned that Cheng Bock had his first clinic at Ama Keng at the far end of Lim Chu Kang Road, a remote and poor area. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was very close to where I used to serve as a young armour officer at Sungei Gedong.
  • Today, Cheng Bock will groom future Parliamentarians who will serve our country and people before party or self. This is good for the future of Singapore. Cheng Bock is the leader Singapore deserves.”

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SDP chief Chee Soon Juan repeats call for opposition alliance

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan on Sunday (Aug 4) continued to call for opposition parties here — including the Workers’ Party (WP) — to form an alliance with Dr Tan Cheng Bock at the helm, lest a “disparate” opposition proves costly in the next General Election (GE).

“As long as the opposition remains disparate and remotely bunched, we are not going to win the confidence of voters,” the 57-year-old said to the media on the sidelines of a walkabout at the Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre in Jurong East.

“We continue to ask (Dr Tan) to make sure that discussions are facilitated and that we iron out all the differences going into the next GE so we come out looking coordinated, looking that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” he added.

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Opposition parties won't win voters' confidence by staying 'disparate and remotely bunched': Chee Soon Juan

As long as the opposition remains “disparate and remotely bunched”, they will not win the confidence of voters, said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader Chee Soon Juan on Sunday (4 August).

Addressing the media at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre, Chee reiterated the SDP’s readiness to work hand-in-hand with other opposition parties – including Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s newly formed Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and the Workers’ Party – despite their differences.

“Those differences are minuscule when you compare it to the common stand, the common goal that we must have in providing Singaporean voters an alternative that they can have confidence in,” he stressed.

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'Very loose' opposition alliance is in the works: Tan Cheng Bock

A ‘very loose’ alliance of Singapore’s opposition parties led by Tan Cheng Bock is in the works, said the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief on Friday (26 July).

“I’ve been approached by many of them…whether I could take the lead to form a very loose alliance, so that when we come to the General Election (GE), we will be a much bigger force to challenge the PAP. And that’s our intention,” said Dr Tan, who is PSP’s secretary general.

The former presidential candidate acknowledged the difficulty of the task, “There’re a lot of personalities involved. But it’s not impossible. I hope that I can convince all of them to come together.

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Opposition parties won’t win voter confidence if they remain 'disparate': Chee Soon Juan

As long as Singapore's opposition “remains disparate" and "as a motley bunch”, it will not win the confidence of voters, said secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chee Soon Juan on Sunday (Aug 4).

Dr Chee was speaking to media after a walkabout at Yuhua Village Market and Food Centre with SDP Central Executive Committee members Paul Tambyah, Damanhuri Abas and Bryan Lim, as well as other members.

“We have differences, obviously, among various different parties but those differences are miniscule when you compare it to the common stand - the common goal that we must have in providing Singaporeans, the voters, with an alternative that they can have confidence in,” said Dr Chee.

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SDP to contest in the same 5 constituencies as it did in GE2015

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has announced its plans to contest in five constituencies in the next general elections.

In a media release on Friday (2 August), the party said it will begin ground campaigns with walkabouts at Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling-Yew Tee group representation constituencies (GRC), as well as Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang and Yuhua single member constituencies (SMC).

These constituencies are the same wards that SDP contested at the 2015 general elections. It lost all seats to the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

related: SDP introduces two fresh faces ahead of next elections

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What next for the Singapore People’s Party?

The name, Chiam See Tong has been synonymous with Singapore politics for almost four decades, ever since he won the Potong Pasir seat at the General Elections held on 22 December 1984.

A Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir from 1984 to 2011, Mr Chiam See Tong became the Secretary-General of the Singapore Peoples Party (SPP) from December 1996 till the present day.

As he steps down as Secretary-General, handing over the reins at the party’s Ordinary Party Congress, it is perhaps timely that there is some form of reflection about the state of the SPP and also on its value proposition for Singapore politics today.

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A new political party: People’s Voice

Lawyer and People’s Voice Party (PVP)’s founding chief Lim Tean has challenged Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat to a live debate on matters concerning the current state of Singapore’s economy, which the former has branded “abysmal”.

Such matters, said Mr Lim on Sun (28 Jul), include the rise in the number of unemployed Singaporeans, which he said is often attributed to the Sino-U.S. trade war by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

“We would love to hear what Mr “New Taxes” Heng has to say in a live debate on why the trade war between China and America, which the PAP has used as a blanket excuse to justify the abysmal state of our economy, has led to an increase in the number of Singaporeans being unemployed but a decrease in the unemployment of foreigners,” he said.

read more

Full Coverage:
WP's MPs & candidates walk ground, unfazed by sudden announce of EBRC
Electoral boundaries committee formed: What it means for Singapore's GE
EBRC formed: What does it mean, when will Singapore's GE be?
EBRC formed, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper
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Committee to review boundaries set up in preparation for next Singapore GE
Singapore poised for election amid slowing economy
When exactly will be Spore's next GE? Analysts, opposition give their take
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Formation of Electoral Boundaries Review Committee announced on 4 Sept
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PM Lee convenes Electoral Boundaries Review Committee
General election may take time even with formation of EBRC
Elections Department announce formation of electoral boundaries committee
Singapore PM convenes Electoral Boundaries Review Committee
EBRC convened in first formal step towards next Spore GE

PSP inform other opposition parties of walkabout plans, not ruling out coalition
Tan Cheng Bock visits Ghim Moh, Tiong Bahru during first PSP walkabout
Tan Cheng Bock leads party on first walkabout
Progress Singapore Party is fine with 'Tan Cheng Bock party' label — for now
PSP's younger members given room to 'manage the ground'
“PSP eyes Marine Parade” says ESM Goh after Tan Cheng Bock's 1st walkabout
Tan Cheng Bock conducts first walkabout in all 29 constituencies
Tan Cheng Bock strongly considering whether to run in West Coast GRC
Indranee Rajah says“Let the people choose the person that can serve them well”
Tan Cheng Bock gets warm reception positive ground sentiment during walkabout
Tan Cheng Bock, PSP members go on party's first walkabout
SDP unveils manifesto ahead of next General Election

SDP introduces 2 fresh faces ahead of next elections
SDP launches updated manifesto ahead of next general election
Singapore Democratic Party
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) - Home | Facebook
SDP unveils printed manifesto with updated healthcare

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Singapore: A 1st World country with 3rd World citizens
It saddens me to see how Tan Cheng Bock has lost his way
Dawn of a new era in Singapore politics
Launch of Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party
Tan Cheng Bock's new party will be 'unifying alternative' for Singapore
A 'Tan Cheng Bock & Lee Hsien Yang' Collaboration?
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Govt debunks falsehoods on ministerial salaries
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The protege toppled by his mentor
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Maintaining Standards of our Civil Service
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Business and Rules of Prudence
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ESM Goh wants 4th-Gen PM to be picked this year
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