Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bukit Batok by-election: Whose side are you on?

Chee: Who am I running against?

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan yesterday questioned who his opponent is in the Bukit Batok By-election.

He said People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai is "not saying anything" but "everybody else" is.

"All I know is that I'm getting very confused who my opponent is," Dr Chee said to reporters after a morning walk-about in Bukit Batok.

Bukit Batok by-election: 'Chee is hypocritical and unrepentant', says PM Lee
Character takes centre stage in battle for Bukit Batok
BB by-election rally: CSJ says he has been working full-time to build SDP
BB by-election: CSJ to raise issue of jobs, retrenchment benefits if elected

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People’s Action Party versus Dr Chee in the Bukit Batok by-election?

It appears that the upcoming by-election (BE) in Bukit Batok SMC is a battle between the People’s Action Party (PAP) and Dr Chee Soon Juan, not Mr Murali Pillai  from the PAP against Dr Chee from Singapore Democratic party (SDP).

Mr Murali is suppose to be the PAP’s candidate contesting in the Bukit Batok by-election, but over the past few days, ministers such as Ms Grace Fu, Mr Heng Swee Keat and Mr Tan Chuan Jin, Speaker of Parliament, Ms Halimah Yacob, former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong have either commented or made some remarks, except the candidate himself. Even Dr Chee is confused as to who his opponent actually is.

During a media interview after the morning walkabout at Bukit Batok SMC this morning (3 May), Dr Chee said that he does not know who he is contesting with at this point with ministers from all around giving comments during this by-election.

related:  DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam agreed to keep the campaign clean & fair

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DPM Tharman calls SDP out for playing ‘politics of fear and alarm’

Troubled by the arguments he has heard in recent days, on issues ranging from elderly suicides to Government reserves, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has called out the S'pore Democratic Party (SDP) and its chief for “willfully spreading fear and alarm”.

“I’m troubled because the way they are going about what they call policy proposals, is in fact the politics of spreading fear and alarm and the politics of populism,” said Mr Tharman, calling this the “wrong way” to advance Singapore’s democracy.

Speaking at the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) second and final rally of the Bukit Batok by-election, Mr Tharman prefaced his comments by noting that he had never been against a healthy Opposition in Parliament. In fact, he had encouraged the Opposition to stay active following the 2015 General Election.

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Tharman wants to debate with Chee, but not in Parliament

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the key speaker in the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) rally last night (5 May) at Bukit Batok. He spoke at length in support of Murali Pillai, PAP’s candidate.

Tharman, however was highly critical of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and especially its secretary-general, Dr Chee Soon Juan. Dr Chee is the SDP’s candidate for the Bukit Batok contest.
  • SDP advocates alarmist and populist politics
  • Chee does not understand CPF or manpower policies
  • SDP does not come clean on their healthcare policy
  • Cannot avoid taking cheap shot
  • Urges Chee to reflect and change if he loses
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Tharman’s last word

YOU have to hand it to the man. When Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam spoke for the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai – “he’s got heart, he’s got guts’’ – you don’t feel your skin crawling. When he spoke about the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) “politics of fear and populism’’, you don’t think it’s just another pot shot.
So representing the PAP, on the last night of the hustings, Mr Tharman set out the facts and put the SDP’s proposals in context. He came across as befuddled, even disappointed, at the way the SDP was conducting its campaign. He called it the “politics of spreading fear and alarm and the politics of populism’’. Twice, he said: “I am troubled.’’
But not before he reminded people that he had never been against a healthy opposition and had said as much the day after last year’s general election. “So don’t misjudge me.’’

related:  DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam agreed to keep the campaign clean & fair

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8 Tharman smackdowns on Chee Soon Juan at the PAP by-election rally in Bukit Batok

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Jurong GRC team leader Tharman Shanmugaratnam was the final keynote speaker in the People Action Party (PAP)’s last Bukit Batok by-election rally at Bukit Gombak Stadium tonight.

Below are 8 Tharman smackdowns on Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Secretary General Chee Soon Juan at the BE rally:
  • Central Provident Fund
  • Actual costs of unemployment insurance:
  • Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.
  • Tharman criticising SDP Sec-Gen Chee Soon Juan:
  • Former Education Minister Tharman criticising Chee like a school kid:
  • Wonder who is DPM Tharman referring to:
  • If Chee doesn’t win in this by-election, Tharman urged him:
  • And in the actual event that SDP’s Chee Soon Juan really win:
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PM Lee questions Dr Chee's character, aptitude to be MP for Bukit Batok
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sat (Apr 30) questioned Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan's character and aptitude as the latter campaigns to be elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency.
Speaking to reporters after his early-morning walkabout at Bukit Batok with People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali, Mr Lee, who is the PAP Secretary-General, noted that Dr Chee has not been working, yet said he will become a full-time MP if elected.
"I mean, it's easy to say but what do you bring which you would be able to contribute and show you can do for the voters," he said. "It's partly your record, it's partly your ability but it is also your character."

Bukit Batok by-election: 'Chee is hypocritical and unrepentant', says PM Lee Hsien Loong

He noted the SDP rally on Friday during which several speakers from the opposition party took aim at former People's Action Party (PAP) MP David Ong, who stepped down on March 12 over an alleged affair.

Yet Dr Chee, who was last to speak at the rally, told the crowd that it was not right to beat a man while he was down.

Mr Lee, who is the PAP secretary-general, told reporters after a walkabout in Bukit Batok constituency on Saturday that this was "completely hypocritical".

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Good character, integrity first requirement for candidates: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong responds to a statement from the SDP's Paul Tambyah, who said "a person is not defined by his or her actions or words" and that an attack on Dr Chee's character was "uncalled for".
"Anyone standing for public office should be prepared to have his past actions examined, transparently and honestly," Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement in response to comments by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)'s Paul Tambyah on Saturday (Apr 30).
PM Lee said this is so that "voters can make informed, responsible decisions as to who is fit and best qualified to represent them in Parliament".

PM Lee: Racial comments a concern
ALL SMILES: PM Lee Hsien Loong & PAP candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Murali Pillai greeting people around the estate during a walkabout - FOTOS: LIANHE ZAOBAO

“Hypocritical”, “unchanged” and “unrepentant”, these were the words that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong used to describe opposition candidate for Bukit Batok by-election Chee Soon Juan.

Speaking to reporters on a walkabout at Bukit Batok with People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai yesterday morning, PM Lee said that he took issue with Dr Chee’s speech at SDP's rally on Fri, where he advised others to refrain from making personal attacks on former MP David Ong.

Dr Chee said this after other SDP speakers had earlier “fired away” at Mr Ong, said PM Lee.

PM Lee speaks out against playing race card in Bukit Batok by-election

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke out on Saturday (Apr 30) against online comments and whispers going around Bukit Batok asking Chinese voters to cast their ballot along racial lines, calling this “completely wrong and bad”.

Speaking to the media after a visit to Bukit Batok – his first since 2009 – Mr Lee acknowledged that in a multi-racial society, race would be an issue on people’s minds. “But I think when they vote for somebody, they should not be voting on the basis of race, but they should be voting on the basis of his ability to contribute, his sincerity, the heart, the color of his heart and his commitment – which is red – regardless what race or religion he may belong to,” he said.
Apart from word going around the constituency - which Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu also alluded to during the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) rally on Fri - Mr Lee said he has seen some comments online making the point about race in “a quite open way”. In particular, such comments were made in response to Facebook postings by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan, which have yet to be refuted and taken down, Mr Lee pointed out. Dr Chee is up against PAP long-time activist Murali Pillai in the Bukit Batok by-election.
Chee to 'put a stop' to any attack on former Bukit Batok MP David Ong

Chee Soon Juan told to clarify his position on immigration

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan yesterday said Singapore's immigration policy has to be tightened in the light of the discovery of a cell of radical Bangladeshi workers, and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has asked him to clarify his position.
Dr Chee's comments to reporters came a day after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that 8 Bangladeshi workers had been detained for plotting violent attacks back in their country."
We need to pay a lot more attention on people who come to our shores," he said in response to questions from reporters in Bukit Batok, where he is up against People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai in a by-election this Saturday.

SDP's Chee shows 'lack of understanding' on security issues: Shanmugam
Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan "shows a lack of understanding of the nature of the problem", after the latter highlighted a need to tighten Singapore's immigration policy in response to the arrests of 8 radicalised Bangladeshi nationals.
Dr Chee had on Wednesday said the detention of the Bangladeshi nationals under the Internal Security Act (ISA) points to the need to tighten the country's immigration policy. He called on the Government to deal with the problem at its "root cause" by halting the inflow of more of such radical elements.
Said the SDP secretary-general: "That starts at the ICA, and this is I where think the lax immigration policy is. You let in hundreds and thousands - millions - you got to be asking yourself: There cannot be people there who are not properly vetted. And this is where I'm saying --- the Government must pay more attention to this problem right now.”
Shanmugam’s response to Chee’s comments: Political opportunism exemplified
It was with no insignificant measure of bemusement when I chanced upon Mr Shanmugam SC's response to Dr Chee's call for the tightening of immigration controls.
Widely reported in the media, Dr Chee purportedly said: "That starts at the ICA, and this is where I think the lax immigration policy is. You let in hundreds and thousands - millions - you got to be asking yourself: There cannot be people there who are not properly vetted. And this is where I'm saying - the Government must pay more attention to this problem right now.”
On any ordinary construction of Dr Chee's comments, I fail to see how Mr Shanmugam SC, or anyone with a decent command of the English language, could draw an inference, from any of those words, and especially in light of the bolded ones, that Mr Chee's was in fact urging "[t]hat we say no to all foreign workers? Or we say no to all foreign workers who are Muslim?"

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'Astounding' that SDP believes character does not matter: Heng Swee Keat
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has described a statement by Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) central executive committee member Paul Tambyah to be "one of the most astounding statements ever made in the history of Singapore politics".
In a Facebook Live video on Saturday (Apr 30), Dr Tambyah had said: "We believe you can criticise what a person says or what a person does, but don't attack the person ... It's not right to question his character ... Attacking his character is uncalled for. A person is not defined by his or her actions or words."
In a FaceBook post on Sunday, Mr Heng responded by saying: "I read with dismay Prof Paul Tambyah's statement yesterday claiming that character doesn't matter.”
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Finance Minister help PAP Murali by misleading the public

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat joined in the fray to support Bukit Batok by-election PAP candidate Murali by openly misleading the public and defaming the Opposition’s rally speaker, Dr Paul Tambyah. Minister Heng Swee Keat said that he was astounded when he heard Dr Paul said character does not matter:
“I read with dismay Prof Paul Tambyah’s statement yesterday claiming that character doesn’t matter."
This means a person can lie, cheat or betray someone with impunity. Prof Tambyah and his colleagues believe character doesn’t matter, a person’s words are irrelevant and we should ignore their actions. They believe they should be allowed to do or say anything and not be held responsible for their actions or words.

Minister Chan Chun Sing to Bukit Batok: Remember Lee Kuan Yew

At the Bukit Batok by-election rally speech today (May 5th), Prime Minister Office (PMO)’s Minister Chan Chun Sing whipped out the Lee Kuan Yew card and attributed Singapore’s “good ideas” to the deceased Prime Minister:
“If there are good ideas, we’ll be first to adopt it. We’re not ideological, we are pragmatic – that’s what Lee Kuan Yew has taught us from day one.”
Like in the previous election, Minister Chan Chun Sing reminded Bukit Batok residents to remember the values of Lee Kuan Yew. The Minister-without-portfolio in the PMO also said that the ruling party government has always listened to Singaporeans and that “solutions are not so easy”.

Minister Chan accused the Opposition of “trying to paint us as bad people” and warned Opposition candidate “don’t anyhow say things just because it is elections”. The NTUC chief claimed that he is working very hard because he believed legislation is not a solution

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Chan Chun Sing, Destroyer of Worlds

Chan Chun Sing might not have the calm, wit, smarts, poise or (insert adjective here) of the Deputy Prime Minister, but he more than made up for it today with a fiery half hour speech targeting every single aspect of Chee Soon Juan’s campaign so far.

In the Chinese half of his speech, he agreed to discount Chee Soon Juan’s past, and proceeded to pick apart Chee Soon Juan’s behaviour post-2015 election, claiming that Dr Chee had basically abandoned the Holland-Bukit Timah residents he had vowed to represent. Even claiming that the residents who voted for Chee were now wondering where he had gone.

Next, Chan Chun Sing went after what he perceived as a lack of heart shown by Chee Soon Juan, asserting that no matter how long or how many chances you give someone (hint, hint), if he had a lack of heart, he would achieve nothing.

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Tan Chuan Jin Facebook - 1 May 23:48
HMM. Mr Chee disdainfully says that we are all hobos 😁 That we go round coffee shops just to say "ho boh ho boh?" (好吗 in Hokkien). (In the interview with the media, amongst other things, he said that MPs just go to the coffee shop once a week and say 好吗好吗 and that's it, while he will show how he'd be a better MP) Don't see any hobos here as our activists and volunteers do housekeeping to make sure... our Meet the People's session files are in order so that we can better serve, groceries are organised for those who need the extra helping hand. I don't see any hobos amongst our Grassroots/ People's Action Party activists/volunteers who follow up and visit families. Every week. Nor are there hobos amongst the various stakeholders who discuss and trouble shoot issues whether municipal or families with difficulties or individuals with mental health concerns etc. Or any hobos amongst those who organize activities to bring the community together. Or any hobos who help go round visiting residents to say hello and gather feedback.

If this is what it means to 'hobo hobo'...then I'd say that we are #proudtobehobo ! #itscooltobehobo

Lee Wei Ling: Chee Soon Juan not fit to be in Parliament

Someone had used Dr Lee Wei Ling's name to pen support for an online petition calling for the People's Action Party's "personal attacks and character assassination" of Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan to stop.

Dr Lee, the daughter of Singapore founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, put up a post on her Facebook page this morning to declare that she was not the one who signed the petition, and that she has good reasons not to do so.

She wrote: "I have a very poor opinion of Dr Chee, and do not think he is fit to be in Parliament."

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Lee Wei Ling Facebook - 1 hr

It has been said that I have signed a petition asking to stop attacking Chee Soon Juan's character. This is false, I have a very poor opinion of Dr Chee, and do not think he is fit to be in Parliament . The man has not changed at all, though he is now posing as a changed man, using his family.

Last week, he allowed his speakers to Attack David Ong and then came on stage and pretended to be magnanimous and said we should not attack character. When pressed, he admitted he knew... what the fellow speakers were going to say.

What do you say about such a man? And having made character attacks, when this is pointed out, he then played the martyr, saying his character is being attacked.
Your argument applies to the PAP as well, Dr Lee

Let us, first of all, remember that it was also Dr Lee who labelled her own brother, the prime minister, “a dishonourable son”.
So, one would wonder if Dr Lee feels that someone who is described by her as such is also unfit to be in Parliament. Second, Dr Lee was silent when the PAP itself went back on its words to adhere to a clean fight in Bukit Batok.
On Nomination Day, the PAP’s CEC member, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, promised that the PAP’s campaign in the SMC would be a clean one.

related: Dr Lee, it is David Ong not fit to be in Parliament, not Dr Chee

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MParader Facebook - 1 May at 16:59

Since my name is mentioned in the Bukit Batok by-election, I say: don't kick up a fuss over CSJ rudely shouting at me in Jurong. Words or actions do not define a person; character is not important for a would be MP, so say SDP.
And the fox to the farmer, "Hire me to look after your hen house. I have the perfect plan". --- gct

MOM slams Chee Soon Juan’s “alarmist” job market picture

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has said that secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, Chee Soon Juan, has “misunderstood” certain labour statistics and “painted an alarmist picture of the job market for Singaporeans”.
The Ministry statement, released on Wednesday (4 May), was in response to Chee’s rally speech on Tuesday (3 May) for the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election.
“In all of last year, the Government created only 100 jobs. Yes, you heard it right, 100 jobs for citizens and permanent residents,” Chee said.

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Chee misunderstood MOM data, painted ‘alarmist picture’ of jobs market: Ministry
In the SDP’s rally for the Bukit Batok by-election on Tues, Dr Chee had said: “In all of last year, the Government created only 100 jobs. Yes, you heard it right, 100 jobs for citizens and permanent residents. That means, one job per constituency. Voters of Bukit Batok, only one job was created per constituency. How many of you voters here think you are going to fight for that one job if and when you are retrenched?”

MOM said in a statement on Wednesday that the increase in local employment that Dr Chee refers to is not the total number of new jobs taken by locals in 2015. It refers instead to the difference between total number of locals entering jobs and those leaving jobs, for example owing to retirement, MOM stated.

“This difference, or the ‘net’ number of new jobs taken by locals, was 700 in 2015 and it does not reflect the total number of new jobs for locals,” the ministry added.

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Who said what? The war of words in the Bukit Batok by-election
It’s two days to polling day. Here’s some of the best quotes from the Bukit Batok by-election campaign.
  • Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan - “All I know is that I’m getting very confused who my opponent is. I thought it is Mr Murali. It is turning out to be everybody else except him.”
  • PAP candidate for Bukit Batok K. Muralidharan Pillai - “Chee said what he said. There is a need to deal with the local residents as they are the ones who elect a MP. It is one thing to talk in Parliament and push for an issue, but we also need to have concrete plans to help local residents.”
  • PM Lee Hsien Loong - “Last night, I was watching the rallies on live streaming, and at the SDP rally, all the speakers fired away at Mr David Ong, and then came Chee Soon Juan at the end, and Chee Soon Juan says: ‘No, you must not hit somebody who is down – that is very bad.’ That is completely hypocritical.”
  • SDP’s Professor Paul Tambyah - “This campaign, I learned a new phrase. It’s called inclusive journalism. Apparently, now, editors feel that they can include words that people never said in headlines, without apologising for doing so.”
  • Grace Fu: Minister for Culture, Community and Youth - “Let me be clear - I’m not criticising his decision to not hold a full-time job for so long. No, that is his personal choice. But the work experience, or the lack of it, is a relevant fact when we consider the credentials of the candidate.”
  • Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yaacob - “You may gloss over it and you may say, well, that’s not important. But I never forgot. Particularly, we are Asians…we respect our elders, people who hold important positions. We still respect them regardless of the party they are in.”
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Grace Fu questions SDP’s ability to deliver on campaign promises SDP’s ability to deliver on campaign promises

She began with an apology to Bukit Batok residents for the resignation of its former Member of Parliament (MP) David Ong, saying the People’s Action Party (PAP) was “deeply sorry to have (brought) this on you”.
Then, Culture, Community and Youth Minister Grace Fu swiftly moved on to challenge the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and its candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan, the party’s chief, asking if the SDP was resorting to the race card as an election tactic, and questioning Dr Chee’s credentials and ability to deliver on his campaign promises.
The party’s maiden rally last night was attended by PAP heavyweights, including Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is MP for Jurong GRC, as well as Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, a long-time Jurong GRC MP before moving to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC for the General Election last year.

PAP and SDP square off in first rallies of Bukit Batok by-election
By-election candidates should be judged by character and experience: Grace Fu

Calling Murali Pillai, PAP’s candidate for the 7 May by-election, a humble person, Fu noted that the lawyer has been serving as a grassroots leader for 16 years. She contrasted Murali’s track record with that of Chee Soon Juan, the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chief and its candidate for the by-election.

“He (Chee) wants to be a full-time MP. As far as I know, he has not held a full-time job for a long time. Working experience is essential and when you want to employ someone, you will look at their experience.

"It will be interesting to see if there is a referral letter (for Chee) from Chiam See Tong,” she said. Various media reports have said over the years that Chee ousted former SDP chief Chiam from the party in 1993. But Chee and his other SDP members have denied the claim, saying that Chiam left the party voluntarily.

Mdm Halimah Yacob’s speech gets lambasted by netizens for character assassination

Last night at the People's Action Party's election rally for the Bukit Batok By-Election, Speaker of the Parliament, Mdm Halimah Yacob took the stage in support of the PAP candidate, Mr Murali Pillai.

She said in her speech, "Mr Goh Chok Tong was the prime minister at that time and he shouted at Mr Goh Chok Tong, I was shocked at a new candidate standing for election, to see a candidate behaving in that manner."

At this point, someone from the crowd shouted ""Gangster, he is a gangster!"

PM accuses Dr CSJ being a racist for failing to remove comments on his Fb
On integrity & hypocrisy & setting bad examples at Bukit Batok By-election
RCs in Bukit Batok SMC putting up and taking down PAP candidate’s banner
Reform Party Moves to Support the Singapore Democratic Party
Dr CSJ does not think PAP did a good job in its welfare programme
Murali said nothing of David Ong’s $23.6 million NRP promise when he
Did Mr Tharman & Ms Grace Fu take leave from their ministerial appointments
PAP states SDP’s accusations of the PAP breaching the law were “absurd”
Straight fight in Bukit Batok for PAP’s Murali Pillai and SDP’s Chee Soon Juan
Reflections of a MP in Aljunied GRC on the NRP and Bukit Batok By-election
Is Murali giving false impression that residents will not get improvement plans
SDP: Wrong for Murali to make Bukit Batok upgrading as an election issue

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Singaporeans Against Gutter Politics
We are a group of Singaporeans who have been following the progress of the current Bukit Batok by-elections

We would like to categorically state that we do not condone the personal attacks and character assassination made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, against Dr Chee Soon Juan of the SDP.

We are deeply saddened at the manner in which the campaign is run, having deteriorated to a level that undermines our Singaporean values. It is indeed a sad state of affairs when people who have been entrusted with positions of power and leadership perpetuate such unbecoming behavior.

We want an election campaign that addresses the pertinent issues facing Singaporeans, rather than one that is marred primarily by the vilification of anyone's person.

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MARUAH statement on conduct at Bukit Batok By-Election
We refer to recent reports on the comments made by the ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the opposition party, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), during the campaign of the by-election in Bukit Batok
Parts of the campaign are currently degenerating into a sloganeering on the character of Dr Chee Soon Juan, the SDP candidate. This looms ominously as the statements are made by ruling party members in the name of the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu and the Speaker of Parliament, Halimah Yacob.
As election campaign watchers, MARUAH, a human rights group, would like to put on record that this is a disappointing approach taken on by the ruling party. We cite our research in 2011 that showed how media and public figures had conducted themselves at the 2011 General Elections. At the 2013 by-election in Punggol East it did not deteriorate to the current extent, though the opposition candidates were many and the PAP candidate also made some distracting statements that had some of us scratching our heads. In the 2015 hustings, there was improvement by all political parties. The views on candidates were taken up by citizens and in many instances over social media. All revealing a healthier engagement by citizens even as one acknowledges there will be partisan comments. We say it is part of our growth into a democracy.

'Ah Ma' rails against gutter politics in SDP rally; releases open letter signed by prominent figures

Last night's rally in Bukit Batok by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held a surprise — the appearance of veteran local TV and theatre actress Neo Swee Lin on stage, behind the microphone.

Though she was not an card-carrying SDP member, her support for the party has been notable this year. Decked in the standard red SDP uniform, the 53-year-old — known for her beloved role as Phua Chu Kang's Ah Ma — delivered an emotional speech at the open field along Bukit Batok Industrial Park A, objecting against gutter politics displayed so far.

Neo and her husband Lim Kay Siu — fellow veteran actor and Phua Chu Kang's Frankie Foo — have been known to be supporters of SDP, with Dr Chee Soon Juan writing about them in a Facebook post last month.

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Chee Soon Juan says PAP should ‘consider their own hypocrisy’

The chief of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has accused the People’s Action Party (PAP) of “gutter politics” and of being guilty of the very charges made against him, such as racism and hypocrisy.

Speaking at the SDP’s second rally of the Bukit Batok by-election on Sun (May 1), candidate Dr Chee Soon Juan said: “They don’t tell you how they can be better than opponents, they tell you how bad the opposition is by running smear campaigns so that you will vote for the PAP by default.”

“They don’t consider their own hypocrisy,” he added, noting that this sort of behaviour seemed “baked into the PAP’s DNA”.

SDP rally for Bukit Batok by-election, May 1

Murali to focus on helping Bt Batok residents affected by economic downturn
The PAP’s Bukit Batok by-election candidate Murali Pillai said he wants to focus on his own agenda, to help residents of the constituency who are affected by the gloomy economic climate. FOTO: Ernest Chua
PAP candidate distances himself from the war of words between his party and SDP
Staying out of the barbs traded between his party and his Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) rival in the by-election in Bukit Batok, People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai said yesterday that he wanted to focus on residents who are affected by the gloomy economic climate on the occasion of Labour Day.

Speaking to reporters after mingling with bus captains at the Bukit Batok interchange, the 48-yr-old lawyer sought to drive home the benefits of the job placement programme he unveiled for the constituency in his campaign manifesto last week.

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Only Competition will Force the PAP to Up Their Standards

If you’re a Bukit Batok resident like me, you’ll realise that over the past one month there’s been many PAP MPs milling about. I’ve seen Low Yen Ling, PM Lee and Tharman in this short span of time. Even at night, I get to shake hands with the MPs and volunteers at the coffeeshop when dabao-ing food. Have you ever seen this in your own constituency? Maybe once in a year, hopefully!

This makes me recall Aljunied GRC in 2011. When George Yeo and his merry men and women got kicked out, the PAP tried all means to win it back. AHPETC saga aside, you see Victor Lye and the current Bukit Batok “Ah Mu” going around and actually getting their hands dirty with ground work. If they wore blue, you would mistake them for WP MPs!

That’s why it’s so important to vote in a good opposition. It keeps the ruling party in check at the top level in parliament, and at the bottom level of estate management. Without competition, the PAP gets lazy and we will suffer. Get an opposition in and you’ll see them dao kah chiu even more!

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PAP ministers warn against SDP's brand of populist politics

Two heavyweight ministers took to the stage on the final day of campaigning for the Bukit Batok by-election to warn about the Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) brand of populist politics, saying that it will not advance democracy in the country.

Addressing Bukit Batok residents at Bukit Gombak Stadium, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Thursday (5 May) that the ruling People’s Action Party does not stop people from speaking out against government policies.

But the politics articulated by Chee Soon Juan, the SDP chief who is contesting against PAP’s Murali Pillai in the by-election, is tilted towards “spreading fear and alarm” and “populism”, said Tharman.

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Two revelations in the past 24 hours that breaks Chee Soon Juan Campaign
 As polling day draws nears, the internet is filled with chatter supporting Chee Soon Juan, They are appealing for the public to give this ‘misunderstood’ Singapore son a chance and to  make a difference in Parliament. Based on online comments, I would say that the people were willing to give him a chance (or considering to).

In the last 24 hours however, two pieces of information has surfaced.

These two revelations, I believe,  had just crushed his hopes of ever entering into Parliament.
  • Lee Wei Ling (PM Lee’s sister)
  • The Chiams comes out with the truth
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Why Dr Chee will likely lose in Bukit Batok by-election despite hard effort and warm reception

Yup, you read that headline. Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party and its candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election, is likely to lose, even though he has done his very best, and focused discussions solely on policies that he and his party hope to implement for Bukit Batok residents.

The article, "Bukit Batok By-Election: Which way would it go?" shared an in-depth analysis of Dr Chee's situation. In the 2015 General Election, SDP only won 6,585 votes, or 26.4%, in the three-corner fight. For SDP to win in this by-election, there needs to be a swing of 24%. In comparison, when Workers' Party's candidate, Lee Li Lian won the Punggol East by-election in 2013, they achieved a swing of 13.49%.

Take a look at this video of his walkabout, where residents approach him to express their support, and note the diversity in races and age groups.

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Bukit Batok by-election: Which way would it go?

Since the Anson by-election in 1981, it has become something of a norm in Singapore that the opposition would stand a better chance of being elected than the PAP in a by-election in a Single-Member Constituency. However, things don’t appear to be so clear in the current by-election in Bukit Batok. Too many factors have been thrown into the mix to blur the crystal ball.

In case you are wondering if any political party has managed such a large swing in a by-election, look no further than the Anson by-election of 1981 when the WP led by JB Jeyaretnam pulled off an upset. Anson had been won by PAP in the 1980 general election with Devan Nair obtaining 84.1% of the votes. In the 1981 by-elections, there was a 37% swing against the PAP that resulted in the historic win for the WP.

Will we see such a swing in Bukit Batok? Your guess is as good as mine and I am not taking bets.
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"There's also something important that I want to say to you at this later stage. As we wrap up this campaign and the cooling off day looms, I fear that the PAP will be up to its usual tricks. It's been a disappointing campaign and the PAP has spared no effort in engaging in the most revolting and vicious type of gutter politics

The worst is Mr Lee Hsien Loong using a made up headline from the Lianhe Wanbao to attack me. How low does the PAP want to go?

But even as I cannot rebut these accusations on cooling off day, the newspapers are free to attack me as they are not bound by the rules of cooling-off days. You can be sure that they will use the opportunity to attack me

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Are rules on Cooling Off day still relevant and do they actually work to achieve the intended objective?

While Singapore has inherited the British Westminster System of government and adopted many features of the democratic processes found in many first world countries, it has also developed certain unique nuances such as the Elected Presidency (EP), the Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and the Cooling Off day to name a few.

Given the upcoming by-election in Bukit Batok, it is no surprise that the topic du jour is the ongoing war of words between Dr. Chee Soon Juan, Mr Murali Pillai and the wider PAP stalwarts. As election date creeps up on us, it would be timely to examine the dos and don’ts of Cooling Off day.

The widely publicised intent behind Cooling Off day is ostensibly to give voters a chance to reflect uninfluenced by campaign activities. To facilitate this time out, there is a raft of regulations put in place to regulate the conduct of candidates and campaigners on this political Sabbath day.

What Can You Say on Cooling-off Day?
Why Dr Chee will likely lose in BB by-election despite hard effort & warm reception

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Police reports filed over by-election ad breaches
Bukit Batok polls: The aftermath
Bukit Batok by-election: And The Winner is
Bukit Batok by-election: Polling Day
Bukit Batok by-election: Cooling-Off Day
Bukit Batok by-election: Whose side are you on?
Bukit Batok by-election rallies - 1
Bukit Batok by-election rallies - 2
Bukit Batok by-election to be held on May 7
The Upcoming Bt Batok By-Election
Bt Batok MP resigns over 'personal indiscretion'