By Timothy Lai
Keeping up with the trend of the past few days, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) announced the candidature of Mr Sidek Mallek, a compliance auditor for a leading security company, and Mr John Tan, Lecturer of Psychology and Statistics at Murdoch University, Kaplan Singapore.
The key themes of education and income inequality were prominent.
Mr Tan holds a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He is concerned with the issues of income inequality and education. His research on empowerment has led him to be concerned with the defeatist mindset that arises.
Mr Tan joined the SDP in 2011 and is currently the party’s Vice Chairman.
“As an educator, I am very concerned with our education policies,” Mr Tan said. “The way it is right now in Singapore, it seems our education is built to train people solely for the job market. The economy is important, but we should look at every individual as a creative being. Our system should recognize that.”
He continued, “The idea of streaming has been in Singapore for awhile, even though right now the MOE has said they have officially removed that. But streaming is still very much alive.”
Mr Sidek, who has four school-going children, added, “[My children] also fear the pressure because of exams. There is constant tuition, constant staying back after school… Our children need to enjoy their youth.”
Mr Sidek received the Finance Minister’s Commendation for Outstanding Work from Dr Richard Hu in 1989 when he was a civil servant. In 2008, he also earned the Commissioner of Police Award for Outstanding Contribution. He also has a Professional Certificate from the Institute of Administrative Management.
Explaining the SDP’s education policy, Dr Paul Tambyah explained, “The entire SDP approach to education is based on the premise that… we do not want to pigeonhole people, classify them, and stratify them at a very early age.”
Dr Paul Tambyah was earlier introduced as one of the candidates whom SDP will be fielding for the General Election.
“We recognize that everyone has something to contribute to Singapore no matter who they are. It may come out early in life, it may come out later in life. Basically, it is about what each person is good at doing.”
Veteran politician, Mr Jufrie Mahmood, who was with the candidates, also spoke up on the SDP’s stance against discrimination of the Malay community. He said in Malay, “SDP is the only political party with a policy paper for the Malays in Singapore. We aim to eradicate discrimination, as laid out in our paper.”
Vouching for the candidates, Mr Jufrie added, “Mr Sidek, together with the rest of the candidates, will fight against unjust policies for the community.”
He also commented on Mr Sidek’s nervousness when asked to speak in Malay, “Being a Malay, he speaks Malay. But to speak on a occasion like that, he is not able to express himself… Don’t worry about that. After he is elected, we will make sure he brushes up on his Malay. I will make sure of that.”