Dr Chee

Dr Chee rebuts on pandering to the editorial tastes of the Western media

chee soon juan HLP

Secretary General of Singapore Democratic Party, Dr Chee Soon Juan rebuts Singapore’s government reply on his article on Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and remarked that it is unfair to say that he pander to the editorial taste of the Western media.

jacky foo
Mr Jacky Foo

In his op-ed on WSJ, “A New Vision for Singapore“, Dr Chee wrote that it is shameful that the state where market values guided by an authoritarian system trump moral ones guided by a democratic process and a genuine conversation about Singapore’s future is needed.

Mr Jacky Foo, Consulate-General of Singapore wrote to WSJ in his official capacity and said, “Mr. Chee claims Singapore lacks a democracy. The reality is that elections in Singapore are free and fair. Every time Mr. Chee and his party have contested, Singaporeans have rejected them. He might do better to take the interest of Singaporeans to heart, rather than pander to the editorial tastes of the Western media.”

Dr Chee replied to Mr Foo’s remarks on SDP’s website,

The Government’s rebuttal of my Wall Street Journal op-ed A New Vision for Singapore said that I “pander to the editorial tastes of the Western media.”

It is a label that the PAP has always tried to hang on me: that I am in collusion with the West against Singapore.

What I have not made public so far is the fact that I had offered the piece to the Straits Times first. I sent it to the newspaper’s political editors on 13 November 2014 and sent a reminder on 19 November and to enquire if the ST would use it.

He added that he had offered the piece to the WSJ as he did not receive a response from Straits Times. He had intially wanted to have a discussion with the Singapore people in a Singaporean newspaper.

Dr Chee also commented that the Straits Times could have informed its readers in its report on the Government’s letter through Hong Kong Consulate-General Mr Jacky Foo, that he had, in fact, sent it the piece first.

He further noted that SDP was left out of its programme Talking Point while other opposition parties were invited and It was only after the party’s protest of discrimination that CNA relented and was invited. Dr Chee said that he was not able to participate in the programme as CNA insisted that only office-holders who were eligible for the elections could participate and he was then barred from elections because of his bankruptcy.

He further asked two questions pertaining to the response by the government and the antics of the local media,

One, if the Government says that my op-ed panders to the Western media, is it not admitting that the piece is unpalatable to the local media?

Two, should the media be the arbiter of taste in the first place or should they be facilitators of debate and discussion in pursuit of the truth regardless of taste?

Dr Chee also said that he has written a letter to Straits Times as well as other main stream media to address matters raised by Mr Foo as Straits Times has not published or reported on what he wrote on WSJ. However, it is uncertain if the other media will be publishing his reply.