Monday, 9 May 2016

Bukit Batok by-election: And The Winner is

Murali (Or Tharman?)

QUIETLY does it. The Murali Method worked. And rather than the by-election effect helping the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), it had to contend with the Tharman effect.

That’s a guess, of course.

Back to the news. So Mr Murali, 49, a lawyer, has come full circle. The former People’s Action Party (PAP) branch secretary for Bukit Batok who became a member of the PAP suicide squad in Aljunied GRC in the last GE was declared MP for Bukit Batok at about 11.30pm last night (May 7). He took 61.2 per cent of the vote while his rival, SDP’s Chee Soon Juan, secured 38.8 per cent.

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The real winners and losers of Bukit Batok
The post-poll press conferences by the two candidates spoke volumes. The PAP’s point man, Murali Pillai, appeared nervous. By contrast, Chee was happy – maybe even relieved

How I misunderstood the Bukit Batok voter. With 95.7 per cent of the residents there living in HDB flats, I calculated that their single priority was to make sure their families have a good life.

How wrong I was. Nearly 39 per cent of the voters chose principle over politics and gave their support to the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Chee Soon Juan, a margin of victory this young, brash and firebrand politician had not experienced since he broke onto the national horizon in 1992.

Only in Singapore would such a result be seen as a big deal. With a ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) buoyant over a General Election swing in its favour just eight months ago, and one that wields power in nearly every aspect of our lives, its Bukit Batok performance is not something to crow about. 

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PAP has won; Singapore has lost

In the Bukit Batok by-election, Murali Pillai has won. PAP has won. Singapore has lost. Why is this so?

The PAP used town council services and upgrading of infrastructure to "entice" the voters to vote for Murali from their party. They frightened the voters from voting for Dr Chee Soon Juan of the SDP by the subtle threat that this will lead to the loss of the upgrading.

In the process, the voters had voted as the Member of Parliament, a person who has a full time job as a senior lawyer in a private law firm. The elected MP will find it difficult to devote sufficient time to his duty as the MP.

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Chee reflects on the Bukit Batok by-election

With a restful past week, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the eventful election at Bukit Batok. In the midst of the many developments during the campaign, a clear pattern emerged: While the SDP focused on running a positive and forward-looking campaign, for which we take much pride, our opponents came with a different game-plan.

The PAP’s strategy was clear: envenom the nine-day campaign with as much vitriol as possible with facts sent to the mortuary.

It started off with the Chinese-language nightly, Lianhe Wanbao, which published an interview it did with me. The headlines screamed: CHEE PROUD OF HIS ‘WILD AND COLOURFUL PAST’. The not-so-small problem was that I did not say any of those words.

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Residents share thoughts on Bukit Batok by-election
PAP members canvassing for votes at Bukit Batok with Mr Murali at the background (Photo - Terry Xu)

Leading up to the Bukit Batok by-election that was held on 7 May, independent research firm Blackbox conducted a series of telephone interviews that revealed the sentiments of voters across the SMC.

While People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai won the Bukit Batok SMC seat by 61.2%, the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Chee Soon Juan captured the votes of 38.8% of residents, the highest ever for SDP in Bukit Batok. The telephone interviews conducted by Blackbox during the lead up to Polling Day gave similar results.

As part of the Blackbox survey, 302 residents of voting age participated, of which 37% were voters aged 21 to 39. The remaining 63% were voters aged 40 and above.

related: Police report filed against PAP MP, Ms Rahayu Mahzam for alleged racist remarks

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Bukit Batok 2016 By-Election: Results Explained

Blackbox offers some exclusive insights from the Bukit Batok by-election. In the days leading up to last Saturday’s by-election we polled over 300 residents and examined their voting intentions and the factors influencing their choice.

Our results showed a swing to a similar magnitude as was recorded on voting day and how the contest was always going to be a tough one for the SDP to try and win (in all likelihood, this was never on the cards). Saying that, the decision by the SDP to nominate leader as the candidate clearly captured the interest of Bukit Batok voters and provided a platform for the party to showcase its own evolution since GE2015 . At the same time, the PAP appeared to use its firepower to full effect in order to avoid another calamitous by-election result.

The poll also shows that David Ong’s alleged indiscretions and resignation had minimal impact on voter perceptions.

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PAP won GE2015 before campaign began: Polling firm Blackbox Research
PAP supprters waiting for the polling results at Bedok Stadium on Sept 11, 2015. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Last September's election was won by the People's Action Party (PAP) well before the campaign began, polling company Blackbox Research said yesterday at a discussion on opinion polls and sentiment towards the Government.

It noted that while there was some public unhappiness in 2013 due to the Population White Paper and public transport breakdowns, policy shifts from 2014 helped win Singaporeans over again.

And the death of first prime minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew last March led to a significant uptick in support for the PAP, its polls found.

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With all the professionals that it has, did SDP misread the Blackbox poll?

Blackbox Research, a Singapore-based communications and content-research agency, conducted a telephone survey in Bukit Batok between 30 Apr and 3 May to gauge how Bukit Batok voters were feeling about the By-Election. Their poll suggested that PAP would win the by-election by getting 64.4 percent of the vote. The PAP’s eventual victory at 61.2 percent was within the poll’s error margin of -/+ 5.6 percent.

The poll said that of the 33 percent who participated in the telephone poll said that they would vote for SDP (or were leaning towards voting for it), because they felt that SDP’s candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan was a better candidate than the PAP’s Murali Pillai.

And that 67 percent who participated in the telephone poll said that they would vote for PAP (or were leaning towards voting for it) because they prefer or trust PAP more.

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Bukit Batok Survey Shows Dr Chee had More Pulling Power but Murali was Better Regarded

The Bukit Batok by-election was Dr Chee Soon Juan’s to lose, and this pre-election survey done by Blackbox Research shows that the PAP and its “unknown” candidate Murali Pillai were both more highly regarded than the SDP and its leader, Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Blackbox Research’s prediction of a 64.4 percent win for the PAP in Bukit Batok was fairly acurate.

It was 3.2 percent off the mark.

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A pre-election survey conducted between 30 April to 3 May 2016 by Blackbox Research showed that SDP voters or those leaning towards SDP found Dr Chee Soon Juan to be the better candidate (33%) than those voting for the PAP (29%) who indicated that Mr Murali Pillai was the better candidate.

However, residents who indicated that they were inclined towards voting for the PAP rated the PAP as the preferred party (67%) to SDP (28%).

[This is a correction from the earlier version: "A pre-election survey conducted between 30 April to 3 May 2016 by Blackbox Research showed that Bukit Batok voters found SDP candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan to be the better candidate than his PAP rival Mr Murali Pillai. However, residents rated the PAP as the preferred party (67%) to SDP (28%).However, residents rated the PAP as the preferred party (67%) to SDP (28%)." We apologise for the inconvenience caused.]

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Take heart SDP, and take heed PAP
It was perhaps a great deal of hope that Dr Chee Soon Juan would win the Bukit Batok by-election, but at the base of every hope there would be a bit of doubt.

That doubt was realised on 7 May. In spite of one of the best-run and most co-ordinated election campaigns I have seen, peppered with many heartfelt moments on social media, SDP lost to the People’s Action Party.

But what, really, should we have expected? Bukit Batok was PAP’s to lose with the odds stacked firmly against Chee and SDP. Right off the bat, the incumbent swooshed in offering an upgrading carrot even before nomination day. This was followed by a relentless barrage of character attacks on Chee himself, led by many cabinet Ministers including the Prime Minister himself.

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'It doesn't quite feel like defeat'

She stood in front of the stands, listening intently as Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan gave his thank-you speech last night.

Ms Connie Zhou was among the supporters who had gathered at Bukit Gombak Stadium to wait for the result of the Bukit Batok by-election.

Supporters were devastated by Dr Chee's defeat. He received 38.79% of the 24,192 votes.

Reflections on the Bukit Batok by-election

PAP’s K. Muralidharan Pillai has won in Bukit Batok, as was predicted by most political observers. However, a large part of his win can be attributed to party leaders vigorously campaigning for him. PM Lee, DPM Tharman, Minister Shanmugam, Minister Grace Fu, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, Minister of State Desmond Lee, Mayor Low Yen Ling and several others were involved in his campaign. He was not his own man during the by-election and thus the onus is on him to build bonds with residents and prove his worth in parliament over the next 4 years. Bukit Batok residents voted for the party brand instead of going for something new. Nevertheless, it is hoped that he will contribute more in parliament than the previous MP, David Ong.

The by-election also destroyed the myth that minority candidates will lose in a Chinese majority SMC when faced with a Chinese candidate, and thus the rationale for GRCs is nonsense. It is just a convenient way to get weak PAP candidates into parliament. The government should therefore reduce the number of GRCs and increase the number of SMCs to at least 20 at the next general election.

Another issue of concern is the unprofessional conduct of the SPP chairman, Lina Chiam during this by-election period. She chose to attack Dr Chee and SDP during the by-election period over a frivolous issue of a photo of Dr Chee and Mr Chiam appearing in the 2015 SDP magazine. She claimed that the photo was used without permission. Rather than keep quiet after raising the issue, Mrs Chiam continued to harp on it. Just before cooling off day, she also took issue with how the article in magazine described the meeting with Mr Chiam in 2010. She was unhappy that back then, SDP only offered to make Mr Chiam a honorary chairman and not the leader.

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3 reasons why Murali won the by-election, and what his future looks like in Bukit Batok

Murali’s 16 years in Bukit Batok, which he used to his advantage:

The humble, endearing narrative versus the brave, unrelenting attitude:

Murali’s overwhelming support from almost every established political figure in Singapore:
  1. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and 2nd Assistant Secretary-General of the PAP
  2. Chan Chun Sing, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office (Secretary-General of NTUC) and Party Whip of the PAP
  3. Grace Fu, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth and member of PAP’s CEC
  4. Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament and member of PAP’s CEC
  5. Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Social and Family Development and Mayor of Southwest District
  6. Rahayu Mahzam, MP for Jurong GRC
  7. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister and Secretary-General of the PAP
  8. Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, and MP for Jurong GRC
  9. Ang Wei Ning, MP for Jurong GRC
  10. Tan Wu Meng, MP for Jurong GRC
  11. Alex Yam, MP for Choa Chu Kang GRC
  12. Lim Boon Heng, former Minister and former PAP Chairman
  13. Goh Chok Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister
  14. K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law and Assistant Treasurer of the PAP
  15. Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister for Social and Family Development
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5 factors that worked in PAP's favour

The People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai on Sat (May 7) repaid his party's faith in him by winning the Bukit Batok by-election.

Mr Murali defeated Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan with 61.2% of the vote share. This was a nearly 12% point drop from the 2015 General Election when the PAP won 73% in the single-seat ward.

Then again, political observers have pointed out that Mr Murali faced some challenges, including the 'by-election effect', the circumstances in which his predecessor David Ong quit (an alleged extramarital affair) and how he was a minority candidate.
  • Tharman and the Jurong family
  • Is Dr Chee really a changed man?
  • PAP's unassailable advantage
  • Bukit Batok's demographic profile
  • The PAP's track record in the West
related: 7 issues that stood out

Bukit Batok polls: The aftermath

The much-trumpeted "by-election" effect failed to work its magic for the opposition this time round.

After losing 2 previous by-elections, the People's Action Party (PAP) won Bukit Batok with 61.2 per cent of the vote on May 7.

Observers believe that in a by-election, voters are more willing to support the opposition as there is no danger of inadvertently voting the Government out of power.

Congratulations to Murali Pillai on his win! Thank you, Bukit Batok voters, for your strong support. You have chosen an MP who is committed, trustworthy, and will go the extra mile for you.
Murali and his team have campaigned hard, but now their real work begins. He has served faithfully in Bukit Batok for many years, and with your support, will serve residents for many more.
Thank you to all the activists and volunteers who helped Murali campaign. This is not just a win for Bukit Batok, but shows all Singaporeans, and others too, that the government and people are united in building a better nation together. - LHL
Not just a win for Bukit Batok: PM Lee on Murali’s 61.2% victory
Fresh off his by-election victory in Bukit Batok, Mr Murali Pillai is raring to get started on his “ambitious agenda” for the ward, viewing the result as a “good foundation” to build his plans on -- despite the sizeable vote swing away from the People’s Action Party (PAP).
“I think it’s a great result,” said the 48-yr-old lawyer and grassroots veteran who felt humbled and encouraged.
“And I thank Bukit Batok residents for giving me this mandate.” Mr Murali, 48, netted 14,428 or 61.2% of the total votes cast on Sat (May 7).

After halo effect of SG50, a return to the norm?

2 weeks ago, I wrote about "5 things to watch out for in the Bukit Batok by-election". So what do the results show of those issues?

First, that Singaporeans do not vote simply along racial lines. The People's Action Party (PAP) candidate, lawyer Murali Pillai, 48, an Indian, got 61.2% of the vote. He beat Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, 53, who is Chinese and has a higher national profile, and who got 38.8%. The winning margin was a high 5,286 votes.

To be sure, a candidate's race - and age, gender, occupation or lack thereof, even mien and likeability - can all swing individual voters. But at the aggregate level, it is highly significant that a heartland constituency with 74% Chinese, 13% Malay, 11% Indian and 2% of other races, can hand such a decisive victory to a minority candidate. It suggests that Singaporeans are, if not totally race-blind, then at least race-neutral in their vote. Race may matter to some, but not all voters, and not decisively in most cases.

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Tharman: Discuss Things Openly, Tell The People The Truth
“You don’t need to agree with the PAP, but discuss things openly, tell people the truth,” Mr Tharman added. “Always go for a better consensus. That’s how we advance democracy, that’s the track I hope SDP gets on to.”
Tharman had this advice for Chee; ‘discuss things openly, tell people the truth’. Wow! That was really rich coming from Tharman.

Before going further, let me say upfront that I, like many other Singaporeans, admire him tremendously for his command of financial matters and his common touch with the average Singaporeans. Which other PAP ministers, practically all of whom never got into parliament on their own steam but via a corrupted GRC system, can truly hold a candle to the many brilliant minds and leaders on the world stage? Just cast your mind across the faces of the past few cabinets, can we imagine anyone else being appointed Chair of the Int’l Monetary & Financial Committee? Or similar?

Singaporeans should not be too besotted with the GDP numbers since Goh Chok Tong (he who initiated his FT policy) took over as PM. From 1970 to 1990, the Soviet Union more than tripled their GDP before the USSR disintegrated. It’s easy, as Krugman observed, when all you needed to do is to ‘add labour’. Well, just because there is no evidence of cancer does not necessarily mean that everything is hunky-dory…or as I always like to say, ‘don’t say it won’t happen

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Tharman: the Language of Politics

Mr. Tharman alluded that Dr Chee Soon Juan did not seem aware of the programs rolled out for the elderly such as the Pioneer Generation Package and Medisave top ups. He said spending on the elderly was the largest increase in the Budget.

The PGP looks large at over 2% of GDP when it was expensed in the 2015 budget but this is a prime example of government obfuscation. The PGP is disbursed over 20 years at a pace of $500m a year - barely more than 0.1% of GDP. This is the figure we should be debating and it is less spending a year than the amount allocated to the People's Association. And is this such a ballyhoo when it is an increase from a very low base?

Mr. Tharman said the SDP is telling people only the good things about its proposals, such as how its proposal to provide universal healthcare would be costly, as evidenced by its example, France. The French spend 20 per cent of their income on tax for healthcare.

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Pragmatic Voters or Misleading Voters?

Bukit Batok voters were on their pragmatic side when they voted for the PAP candidate last Saturday.

Could it also be the misleading information resulting to the pragmatic decision? Worst. If the pragmatic decision is based on a misleading information.

The pragmatic side needs a qualification. Singaporeans are known to be pragmatic lots as we are 'kiasi and kiasu'. It means Bukit Batok will be better off under Murali as he is a government MP while Chee Soon Juan, being an opposition, has nothing to offer.

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The Loss That Looks Like A Win

Despite losing the Bukit Batok by-election, there was no question Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan was the far happier man on Saturday (7 May). The political veteran won 38.8% of the vote while People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai got 61.2%.

On paper, it seems a clear win for the PAP except the fact that during the 2015 General Election, SDP candidate Sadasivam Veriyah garnered only 26% of the vote. This meant that there was a swing of over 10% is just 8 months! Not only that, the PAP did a full-court press on Dr. Chee. All the PAP bigwigs from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong down went to town on Dr. Chee. So much so that at one point of the campaign, Dr. Chee half-joked that he wondered who his opponent was. He even mocked Mr. Murali, asking journalists if any of them want to ask him questions on anything on what Mr. Murali had said.

In the end, not only did he survive, he even thrived under the attacks of the PAP. No wonder the SDP looks like winners on Saturday. Considering what they were up against, they did better than they had any right to.

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This is the beginning of the rise and rise of SDP

As Howard Lee pointed out in his commentary ‘Take heart SDP; and take heed PAP‘, “Bukit Batok was PAP’s to lose with the odds stacked firmly against Chee and SDP.” Perhaps the Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam was cognizant of this when he said in the PAP’s last rally at Bukit Batok.

“If he loses I will ask him to think and reflect and ask him how things can improve. This is his fifth constituency. What should change? It’s not about a newspaper headline or a system. What should change? So that would be my advise, if I may to Dr Chee. If he wins I will congratulate him, if he loses please reflect on this. Don’t keep blaming the system and try and change.”

The key words in the DPM’s parting shot were, “lose…fifth constituency…change”. Without saying it in so many words, Tharman had reminded the chief of the SDP that his lose would be the fifth, and so he should consider relinquishing his leadership of the Party. Indeed several from the PAP as well as those that are more inclined towards the incumbents worldview. have repeated the same thing – that there is no future for SDP if Chee is at its helm.

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Bukit Batok By Election – No miracle!

The miracle that the opposition camp was hoping for failed to appear. When the sample poll was announced around 9.30pm, Murali was leading by 61% to Chee’s 39%. Given the experience from the last GE, the sample count was as good as a done deal and the SDP was as good as lost. Chee would have to fight another day.

No by election effect,  no affair’s effect, no Chee effect, no Punggol East effect. There were so many factors that were favourable to Chee and the SDP. On record, PAP always lost their by elections. This by election had all the factors as the Punggol East by election. A marital affair of a popular MP and the people voted to show their displeasure.

There were many other factors that gave the opposition a better chance in Bukit Batok. There was no LKY effect. Before David Ong, Ong Chit Chung’s winning votes were in the low 51% and 52% in two elections. And his opponents were not as strong as in Chee Soon Juan in this by election.

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Chee Soon Juan, you have already won (regardless of the result)
The fact is, as the title suggests, Chee is already a victor.
He has successfully gotten his ideas across, tugged many heartstrings and gained support.
But if character is permanent, he is still the same old Chee.

Saying Goodbye to Chee

The Bukit Batok by-election resulted in a victory for the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate, Mr Murali Pillai. He had run against the leader of the Singapore Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan.

The setting was arguably favourable for Dr Chee, with the backdrop of a landslide general election for the PAP conditions were ideal for a ‘by-election effect’ and the trigger for the by-election, personal indiscretion by the sitting member of parliament. Yet, he lost.

Dr Chee has framed the defeat as a measure of success. His case being than he ran against the ‘state media’ and the entire leadership of the PAP not just his opponent. The truth is more likely than Dr Chee ran against himself. His past as an artful political dodger is not something he can shake.

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BE Aftermath: Time for Chee to say Bye?

Dr Chee’s results seem respectable at first, given that he had to fight against waves and waves of attacks from various personalities, ranging from the Chiams, Dr Lee Wei Ling to Minister Grace Fu, DPM Tharman and PM Lee Hsien Loong.

But the amount of attacks on Dr Chee also shows that he is tainted goods. Despite his best effort to rehabilitate his image since the 2015 GE, the result in Bukit Batok shows that it is simply not working well enough.

He had everything going for him. It was a By-Election caused by a personal indiscretion from a PAP MP. It was a straight fight, with the by-election effect in his favour after the ruling party’s strong showing at GE2015. It pitted Chee against a lesser-known candidate of a minority race. But it wasn’t enough.

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Bye, Dr Chee, Bye!

The dust has settled, the people of Bukit Batok have spoken. With 61.2% of the votes, Mr Murali has been elected as the MP for Bukit Batok. There have been many analyses of what the results mean. But above all of them, I think what’s topmost on people’s mind is what this means for the political future of Dr Chee Soon Juan.

Dr Chee has now lost in all five elections that he has contested in. At 38.8%, this is his best result. Some people say that it bodes well. It shows that he is gaining traction, more people are willing to support him, and he is inching ever closer to finally becoming an MP. I think those people are wrong.

SDP had a swing of close to 13% compared to their performance in Bukit Batok GE2015. That is comparable to the swing of 12% that Ms Lee Li Lian got in the Punggol East by-election. But we need to also note that SDP’s candidate in GE2015 was Sadasivam Veriyah. Who? Who’s Sadasivam Veriyah? So it’s not surprising that Dr Chee did better than Mr Sadasivam, who’s virtually unknown politically.

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The Aftermath – Chee Soon Juan Must Go

Despite the by-election effect, despite the opponent being a minority, despite being the darling of the alternative media, despite the SDP putting up credible proposals, despite the PAP losing the LKY sympathy factor and the SG50 feel good factor, despite all these advantageous factors, Dr Chee Soon Juan still managed to lose the BBBE2016.

I could go on and on.

Had it been someone from the WP, Murali would have lost.

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Chee Soon Juan’s rebuke of mainstream media after Bukit Batok by-election result is a hoot

Despite his best electoral performance in two decades, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Chee Soon Juan failed to wrestle Bukit Batok from the People’s Action Party (PAP) at this by-election.

During his concession speech on Saturday night after formal results were announced at 11.30pm, Chee appeared fatigued and emotional — but with the fight still left in him.

He paid tribute to his supporters and the voters of Bukit Batok, many whom have gathered as early as 7pm at the Bukit Batok Stadium.

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Opposition party calls for GRC system to be dismantled
National Solidarity Party (NSP) has released a statement saying that the Bukit Batok by-election result revealed that there was no necessity for the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) system.
Pointing to the election wins of minorities, J B Jeyaretnam, Michael Palmer and now Murali Pillai, the opposition party said that Singaporeans were not averse to electing minority candidates. It asked Singaporeans to call on the Government to dismantle the system.
NSP said that the Tampines GRC is an example of a ward where three political unknowns entered Parliament hanging on to the coattails of the two anchor-Ministers in that constituency in the 2015 General Election (GE2015).

NSP calls for the GRC system to be torn down for true democracy in Singapore

In a press statement issued by the National Solidarity Party (NSP) , penned by its Secretary-General, Lim Tean, the party calls for the Group Representation Constituency system (GRC) to be torn down so that true democracy can take root in Singapore.

In the original stated purpose of GRCs that was created in 1988, it was to guarantee a minimum representation of minorities in Parliament and ensure that there would always be a multiracial Parliament instead of one made up of a single race.

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GRCs mean no pandering, clowning to Cina

An Oppo usual suspect used the Murali victory to mocked the GRC system saying
“But Muralidharan Pillai never won the by-election. It was ‘Ah Mu’ who won. He had to not only speak Chinese, but also sing Chinese songs. He had to prove that he was ‘Chinese’ despite his skin being darker – that’s why he won! So you see, that’s why we need the GRC. Without it real minority can’t get into Parliament.”
But when you thinlk about the matter seriously, the poece does reflect something that is problematic in a country where 70% of the voters are Chinese. Dr Chee was dog-whistling his Hokkien credentials to the Pioneer Generation voters

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Murali to start work today

He first started volunteering at the People's Action Party's (PAP) Bukit Batok branch 16 years ago.

And during the campaign to win the Bukit Batok seat, Mr Murali Pillai, 48, was at the branch office at Block 148, Bukit Batok West Ave 6.

Last night, the lawyer returned again -- this time to give his first press conference after winning the Bukit Batok by-election.

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Lawyer Murali wins Bukit Batok by-election

Lawyer Mr Murali Pillai from the People’s Action Party (PAP) has won the Bukit Batok by-election today (7 May).

Mr Pillai garnered 61.21% of the votes, whereas Singapore Democratic Party’s Dr Chee Soon Juan got 38.79%, out of an expected 25,727 registered electors.

The Bukit Batok single seat was vacated when then-PAP MP David Ong resigned in March, following an extramarital affair with a PAP activist.

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Bukit Batok SMC vote PAP another mandate

Despite having lost their MP to corruption, Bukit Batok SMC voters gave their support to the ruling party PAP again in a 61.21% mandate for the by-election yesterday (May 7). PAP candidate Murali Pillai won 14,428 votes out of 24,192 votes cast, his opponent SDP Dr Chee Soon Juan only secured 9,142 votes (38.79%) while 622 votes were rejected. This is however a 12% vote swing from the ruling party PAP to the opposition SDP as compared to the General Election held September last year.

The by-election campaign was also one of the most corrupted in Singapore history, with various ministers firing disparaging remarks, some even defamatory like the one from Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin, at the opposition candidate. A S$1.9 million estate upgrading vote-buying carrot was also issued by the ruling party. State-controlled mainstream media also openly breached the Cooling-Off Day by advertising in full for the ruling party on hardcopy newspapers.

Opposition candidate Dr Chee and his party SDP however ran on a very conservative campaign, avoiding personal confrontations and taunting from the ruling party ministers. The SDP fear that responding to the PAP ministers would result in defamation lawsuits which had earlier disqualified Dr Chee from standing in the past two decades.

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The PAP’s Murali Pillai Wins Battle for Bukit Batok with 61 Percent Support

The score at fulltime: 61.21% to Murali and 38.79% to Dr Chee.

Bukit Batok voters have spoken, and they’ve elected the PAP’s Murali Pillai as their new MP.

The SDP’s Dr Chee Soon Juan made a dent in the PAP’s previous score of 73 percent.

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There is now a petition for Chee Soon Juan to continue serving Bukit Batok residents

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Chee Soon Juan might have lost this by-election, but he have touched the residents of Bukit Batok in more ways than even he might have guessed.

The SDP Sec-Gen secured 38.8 per cent of the votes, losing to People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai. This means that the PAP suffered a 11.8 per cent swing against it, compared to the General Election 2015 result just eight months ago.

Undeterred by the disappointing loss, a petition was set up by someone with the username, Matthew Soh, on ipetition, after the sample votes, pleading for the SDP candidate to continue serving the residents.

related: PAP Murali won 14,428 votes (61.2%), SDP Chee won 9,142 votes (38.8%)

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Dr Chee must not give up
Dr. Chee must not give up. If Dr. Chee gives up, there will be no one as courageous as he is to stand up for us or to clamour for our rights and freedom and justice.
Can anyone name us any person in Singapore that has been through more personal sacrifices and agony and suffered more torture under the hands of the PAP regime than Dr. Chee? With the exception of J.B. Jeyaretnam, no one else came close. Or even ever will there be.
Had it not been for the advent of the Internet and the social media, nobody could have foreseen that we would see such a revival of Dr. Chee today possible. Thank goodness for the Internet which leveled out the playing field otherwise dominated by the PAP-controlled State-own media that spun distortions and even lies, more people are now able to see the truth.


I made this awhile ago, the SDP might have lost but this is the BEST election results Dr.Chee has gotten. It's a sign that Singapore is moving forward, but at the same time there's a lot of work to be done. Don't lost hope and say "just migrate no hope" Dr.Chee has spent more than 20 fighting for Singapore.

This lost is a WAKE UP CALL, to all of us. Don't be afraid speak up, show your face, show your support. To do videos like I do doesn't take much effort or guts. Just research the issues you want to bring up and do it.

It's your country you HAVE a say. Participate in your future sow the seeds for the next generation. Bring back the real majulah for the people by the people. Don't lose hope! We have moved forward but there's more work to be done

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