Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, will be speaking at a conference in Hong Kong titled “Promoting Growth, Reducing Inequality” from 6-8 November 2014. The event will discuss the interplay between liberalism, growth and inequality. Delegates from research institutes, think tanks, political parties, and the business community will convene to consider how the liberal economy relates to wealth creation and inequality.
The conference is jointly organised by the Liberal International and the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats.
Dr Chee will also be speaking at the City University of Hong Kong on the topic “Democracy and the Market Economy: Examples of Hong Kong and Singapore.” “Singapore shares many of the characteristics that the Hong Kong society possesses,” says Dr Chee, “Both economies vie to be financial strongholds and are dependent on open trade. But the cities are also plagued by high income inequality, reduced opportunity for the younger generation, and lack of democracy,” he said.
Some of the questions Dr Chee will address are:
- How will such political control affect the development of the two cities, both socially and economically?
- How will the respective governments react to such pressures for change?
- How can the opposition help to effect change?
“While Hong Kongers enjoy political freedom, Singaporeans are still mired in a one-party rule where elections, although conducted regularly, are far from free and fair. Fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly and association are also severely curtailed in Singapore,” – Dr Chee.
The dangers that non-open and undemocratic systems engender, which is the vital participation of the masses in regenerating and re-vitalising an economy, are of particular concern for Singapore. Like Hong Kong, Singapore is undoubtedly at a crossroads and the path the ruling People’s Action Party chooses going forward will have an impact not just for the ruling party but also for the country in the years to come.
Dr Chee will also use the opportunity to meet with Singaporeans in Hong Kong and to discuss the SDP’s efforts to win its contests at the next general election. He was in Tokyo last week to speak at the International Bar Association’s annual conference.