~ By Kumaran Pillai ~
A fresh new political talent has emerged from the ranks of the Singapore Democratic Party. Dr Juwita Rahmat, a 33 year old researcher with a local institution decides to follow the footsteps of what so many female political figures like Michelle Lee and Jeannette Chong have done in the past – to try her hand in politics. But, politics in Singapore is not for the faint hearted. She needs to swim with the sharks, grow a thick hide to survive the brickbats and of course she will have no private life from this point forward. Every little thing she does will be scrutinized. Every little thing she says whether knowingly or unknowingly will be a public statement of sorts.
It is way too early for SDP to introduce candidates for their next general election. It is not due until 2016; and 2016 is another four years away. Yet, they are bringing their talent forward, one by one, or in large numbers like what we saw in the launch of their healthcare paper.
Juwita seems different. She does not come across as a politician. She has such a docile demeanour that it makes me wonder if she is up to the task. But, talking to her, I realised what we need now with our current socio-economic climate is not another politician, but someone who has a big heart and one who can serve the interests of the people. Juwita connects.
She started her political journey with the SDP at the last general elections rally at Clementi on the 2nd of May 2011, where she was not only convinced with the opposition cause, but was committed to serve the people and hence, started her passage with the SDP. Over the last one year, she walked the grounds in Woodlands with party members, attended meetings and other party activities. ‘My commitment didn’t go unnoticed and I am thrilled to represent the views of so many people,’ she said.
“I am currently working on the education policy paper and I have very strong opinions about how we can make it better; create more opportunities for Singaporeans through education and skill development. Economic growth should not be at the expense of our very own talent,” she said
“The world has been very kind to me and it is my time to give back and serve the people.” She empathizes with those who do not have the same opportunities or when given the opportunity, do not fully use it. “People need to be guided, nurtured and developed; can’t just push them into the deep end and expect them to swim ashore, “she said, when asked about the current foreign talent policy.
She has strong views about all things politics. She believes in a free press, free media and in the free will of the people. When asked about what she thinks about being in the frontline, she said, “Got to do what needs to be done.” A short but firm affirmation about how she operates.
“Being in politics is liberating. I thank the SDP for awakening my political senses,” said the smart and charming Juwita.
Catch Dr Juwita Rahmat in action at the SDP May Day Rally tomorrow 1st May 2012, from 3pm – 7pm at the Hong Lim Park.