When the reserves go, the economy tanks and everyone goes along with it: Dr Chee

SDP walkabout 16 Aug
Photo – Sofian Razali

By Rachel Zeng and Timothy Lai

Dr Chee Soon Juan casted doubt on the PAP government’s ability to guard Singapore’s financial reserves during their house visits on Sunday, 16 August. Dr Chee contended, “Our message to [the voters] is that what we need is to make sure our reserves are being monitored [by a strong opposition].”

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) conducted their afternoon door-to-door visits at Bukit Timah. SDP activated more than 30 members and volunteers in cars and bicycles to cover a wide area of landed properties.

While acknowledging the different concerns those staying in this area may have, Dr Chee noted everyone will suffer together when the government “does not know what is going on” with the financial market. This is because of a lack of opposition presence in parliament.

Dr Chee cited the 2008 global financial crisis triggered by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. “Between GIC and Temasek Holdings, we lost close to $120bn -$140bn,” he said.

He continued, “This is where I worry. In spite of the fact there were so many warning signals of the subprime crisis that was developing ahead, the government did not know what was going on and continued to plow in money to banks like Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, [and] Merrill Lynch.”

Dr Chee contended the opposition’s role is “to question and make sure every one of our investments in the Sovereign Wealth Funds is transparent and well-managed.”

Emphasizing the common destiny of Singaporeans of all income groups, Dr Chee encouraged the voters of Holland-Bukit Timah to support the SDP. “This is not about income. When the reserves go, the economy tanks. Everyone goes along with it.”

Ms Chong Wai Fung

Dr Chee also took the opportunity to introduce Ms Chong Wai Fung to the media despite being coy about whether she is running for office.

Ms Chong is currently the treasurer of SDP and heads the Women Democrats. She is a healthcare research analyst and holds two master’s degrees in Clinical Epidemiology and Business Administration.

Ms Chong noted that due to her job, she needs to be careful when commenting on healthcare issues publicly. Nevertheless, she had spoken at the “Free My CPF” rally and also actively champions women’s rights and issues.

Coverage in the mainstream media

Speaking exclusively to The Online Citizen, Dr Chee urged the mainstream media to report on its extensive policies because it is what the residents need to know. Dr Chee expressed his disappointment with the mainstream media’s lack of coverage on SDP’s proposals and alternative policy papers.

Rather than being solely focused on which areas the parties are contesting and which candidates might be fielded, the media should spend more time talking about reasons why each party should be voted.

Since 2011, the SDP has published annual shadow budgets, and presented several alternative policy papers on issues like population, housing, the economy, healthcare, and education. However, little of these were highlighted by the mainstream media.