Wednesday, 4 October 2023

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Building a credible alternative to form a government takes time, but the work continues – WP 's Yee Jenn Jong

Worker’s Party politician Yee Jenn Jong shared on his Facebook a Straits Times article published just a day after the 2015 General Elections titled “Worker’s Party will continue to walk the ground at Marine Parade despite loss”, saying that he remembers that day well.
Mr Yee had, in 2011, contested in the Joo Chiat SMC. But in 2015, Joo Chiat SMC was absorbed into the Marine Parade GRC. He stood in that election as well alongside other WP members. He lost both times.
Mr Yee said that he and his team were “very disappointed” at their loss in 2015 but noted that the work continued regardless.
“We started regular food distribution in different parts of the GRC even though resources are limited and we depend largely on goodwill donations and resources and time of volunteers. No access to PA facilities and resources funded to the tune of $1 billion a year. I have lost count of the tonnes of stuff I had to transport in my own car as well as that of volunteers during the past 4 years. When we were short on people, even my children were roped in.”
Mr Yee remarked that the Marine Parade GRC is big, spreading from the sea in the south to central Singapore.
“We distributed our time to visiting different parts of the GRC on different occasions for house visits,” he said, adding that there were also regular contributions each WP member made towards policy discussions through social media posts, comments to the press and feedback to teams working on policies.
Mr Yee, who served as a Non-constituency Member of Parliament from 2011 to 2015, went on to noted that while Singapore is 54-years-old, its democracy is still an “infant” and is “stifled”. He said that Singaporeans are also constantly told that there is only enough talent for one team.
Mr Yee explained that he joined politics in 2011 because he believes that people cannot be too dependent on just one team, adding that there will be no push for improvements if there is no competition.
He said, “I saw the lack of willingness to push for changes in policies, even when these were necessary, because things seemed well so far by international standards, and changes involve risks that policymakers dared not make because they wish to avoid mistakes.”
He continued, “Many changes had come about since 2011. The government will say these were all along in their plans but I leave you to believe it or not.”
Mr Yee pointed out that it takes time to build a “credible alternative” that is strong enough to form the government. However, he is glad that the process has begun, even long before he entered the fray. “Mine is just a small part of the ongoing story,” he said.
“Though many times, the seedlings were choked and the alternative camp held back, we have moved on,” he enthused.
“It will take more to join and more have been joining. The work continues.”

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