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SDP lays down challenge to Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has issued a challenge to the Minister for Community, Youth and Sports, and Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

The SDP calls on Dr Balakrishnan to engage the party in a “public debate before voters of the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC as well as Bukit Panjang SMC.” The SDP has declared its intentions to contest the two constituencies in the upcoming General Election and has been working the ground there.

Specifically, the SDP wants Dr Balakrishnan to explain to residents three issues: his ministry’s over-spending on the Youth Olympic Games; the “$8 million of the residents' sinking funds your Town Council lost in toxic investments in 2008”; and why Dr Teo Ho Pin, the MP for Bukit Panjang SMC “failed to speak up on the buy-over of the Fajar wet market in Bukit Panjang by Sheng Siong which caused rentals and prices to increase.”

The SDP’s challenge is issued after Dr Balakrishnan told Channel NewsAsia that he was “looking forward to a contest from the opposition parties.”

"Our residents know us,” Dr Balakrishnan said. “They know the track record. We deliver. And also, we do not believe in making empty promises or big promises.” His remarks were taken by the SDP as an “obvious referral to The SDP Promise” who the party launched over the weekend.

In his letter to Dr Balakrishnan, SDP secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan, said his party “would be happy to answer questions” which Dr Balakrishnan might want to pose to them about The Promise.

“On the question on ‘who can deliver and who can [the residents] trust’, we are happy to have that conversation with your team,” Dr Chee said.

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Here is the SDP letter to Dr Balakrishnan:

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan
Minister
Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports

Dear Sir,

According to a report by the Channel NewsAsia, you said that your team at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC have delivered and that the residents there “know your track record”. You add that you are “happy to let the residents be the judge”.

You also said that you do not “believe in making empty promises or big promises” - an obvious referral to The SDP Promise that we launched over the weekend.

If that is the case then you would have no hesitation in accepting the SDP's invitation for a public debate before voters of the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC as well as Bukit Panjang SMC.

The people can only be the judge if they hear both sides of the story. At the moment they are only hearing yours.

What we would like the residents to hear is the complete version of your track record which we want to ask you and your teammates in the debate.

Specifically we want to ask you, as MCYS Minister, to tell the residents how much and on what items was spent for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG). We would like to invite you to show the country the full accounts of the YOG and to answer questions on how your Ministry came to over-spend the budget by three times.

We also want to ask you and your team-mates about the $8 million of the residents' sinking funds your Town Council lost in toxic investments in 2008.

Thirdly, we would like to debate your fellow MP Dr Teo Ho Pin on why he failed to speak up on the buy-over of the Fajar wet market in Bukit Panjang by Sheng Siong which caused rentals and prices to increase.

In return, we would be happy to answer questions that you might want to pose to us about our Promise. On the question on “who can deliver and who can [the residents] trust”, we are happy to have that conversation with your team.

So rather than talk at residents through the state media, why don't you meet us in a debate and let the residents watch and hear for themselves firsthand both the PAP's and the SDP's arguments? The residents can then go to the polls and make an informed decision on who they really want as their MPs.

Right now, all they are hearing is your voice through the television and the newspapers.

We hope that you will accept this invitation on behalf of your team-mates at the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Bukit Panjang SMC.

Sincerely,

Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party