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SDP’s youth wing – who’s in charge?

~by: Ravi Philemon~

Update: Mr Seelan Palay who has been a long-term volunteer with SDP, and has recently joined the Party spoke to TOC to clarify that Dr Chee did speak with the YD leadership that he is disbanding them. “I was right there, right next to Jarrod when he said it to some of us, the older and newer members of YD”.

Another YD member who wants to remain anonymous has also acknowledged that there was a meeting where it was explained to the YD leadership that they need to go on a hiatus, so that the newer and older members can get to know each other better. It was also communicated to the members who were not present in that meeting, this member reiterated.

Rumours have been circulating that Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has disbanded its youth wing and TOC decided to speak with the Secretary-General of SDP, Dr Chee Soon Juan to clarify this.

Dr Chee in speaking to TOC said that there is absolutely no truth to the rumour that Young Democrats (YD), the youth wing of the Party, has been disbanded.

He said that since the last General Election a relatively large number of youths have applied to join SDP and that the Party has only disbanded the current leadership of YD and not the youth wing itself.

Dr Chee said that SDP would like the new younger members to mingle and get to know the older youth members, and then elect leaders from among them at a later date. (Inside sources reveal that there may be about 500 young people who have applied to join the Party since the last General Election.)

Dr Chee said that he had spoken to the current leadership of YD and that they understand and agree with the Party’s rationale for this.

Speaking to TOC on this issue, Mr Jarrod Luo the current secretary of YD expressed surprise that the leadership of YD has been disbanded.  “This is the first time I am hearing of the dissolution of Young Democrats’ leadership”, exclaimed Mr Luo.

He said that the current leadership had a meeting with the Party’s head honchos recently and were assured that YD would take on more responsibilities.  Their scope of say in the Party will also be increased, the youth wing leadership was assured. But nothing about the dissolution of YD’s leadership was mentioned Mr Luo reiterated.  He also said that the current leadership of the youth wing does not have access to the database of new applicants who have signed up to join YD.

SDP is the first opposition party in Singapore to establish a youth wing in 1999. YD was set-up to express the Party’s commitment towards the ideas and aspirations of youths in Singapore. The Party’s website says that YD is run entirely by youths and for youths.

These youths brimming with energy has been a pillar of strength for SDP. With this youthful energy, SDP was able to make great strides in countering many misinformation about the Party, chiefly by being extremely engaged in cyberspace.  YD has also been in the forefront of organising and supporting various Party initiatives.

The Party’s initiative to reach out to youths through football, was it initiated by the YD? (see HERE). “Some members of YD will be participating, but no it’s not organised by the leadership of YD”, says Mr Luo.

Mr Luo was involved actively in the campaign of Mr Tan Jee Say, in his bid to be the elected President at the last presidential election.  Mr Tan Jee Say was also a former member of SDP. Mr Tan in speaking to Shin Min Daily recently said that he does not rule out the possibility of forming a new political party in the future (see HERE).

This article was updated on 8 September 2011 at 11.35pm after it was first published for clarity.

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