By Timothy Lai
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) unveiled its last slate of candidates this afternoon. They are Dr Wong Souk Yee, Adjunct Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore, Mr Sadasivam Veriyah, a teacher, grassroots leader and unionist, and Dr Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary-General of the SDP.
The SDP has officially revealed all of their 11 candidates for the 2015 General Elections. While there have been clues, where each candidate will stand is still unknown.
Dr Wong holds a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of New South Wales, Sydney. “There is a desperate need for more opposition MPs in Parliament,” she declared.
She explained, “Here and there we may have a few good PAP MPs who have the courage to oppose bills in Parliament. But these are few and far between. Even in those grand moments where PAP MPs oppose, there is still the party whip.”
Dr Wong is most concerned about accountability and transparency. To her, accountability means “the government must explain their decisions and actions to the citizens. It also means taking responsibility, for example, for the constant breakdown of our MRT trains.”
She notes that for accountability to happen, investigations need to be conducted by “independent inquiry, not just people appointed by themselves to check on themselves.”
Citing Temasek Holdings, the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, and the Singapore Reserves, Dr Wong noted transparency “means providing information, not just any information, but the right information, so that the public can make informed decisions about how things are run.”
Mr Sadasivam was part of the Sembawang team in the last General Elections. “As a result [of the last elections],” he explained, “The government has started to turn their face and look at the people.”
“Still, they are not listening to the voters and the citizens. They are still only concerned with their own future.”
Mr Sadasivam was a member of the PAP in the early 80s because he believed in what they stood for. However, as the party began to lose its commitment to improving the lives of ordinary people, he decided to quit the party.
According to him, this role can be played by the SDP, who are “the voice of the people.” He was adamant that “there is no point filling the seats if we can’t [speak up for the people].”
Mr Sadavisam wants to champion housing issues, amongst others. He considers the housing policies revealed during the National Day Rally as “just an election gimmick”.
Citing the studio apartments introduced, Sadavisam asked: “How well has it been distributed? Nobody knows. What is the follow up? Nobody knows. Yet the problems still exist… there is no concern and care at all.”
Dr Chee tried to take a backseat during the press conference. However, when asked to comment on the PAP’s manifesto and slogan, he replied, “We are beyond slogans here. You can come up with the most beautiful of slogans, with you, for you, whatever… The reality is still that Singaporeans are suffering and having difficulty coping with the cost of living here in Singapore. How does the PAP plan to address their difficulty?”
Dr Chee insisted the SDP’s alternative policies are the front of the party. “We have put in place a set of policies that are very workable. Not just one page write-ups here and there. But policies that Singaporeans can study. And they are on our website.”
Dr Chee also said the SDP will continue to talk about their policies during the election campaigns.
The SDP will only reveal which constituency each member will contest on nomination day. The other eight revealed SDP candidates are Mr Khung Wai Yeen, Ms Chong Wai Fung, Dr Paul Ananth Tambyah, Ms Jaslyn Go Hui Leng, Mr Sidek Mallek, Mr John L. Tan, Mr Bryan Lim Boon Heng, and Mr Damanhuri bin Abas.[youtube id=”4eotMeodHHw” align=”center” mode=”normal”]