Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Bryan Lim Boon Heng said that invitations to SDP by Mediacorp to participate in political debates during General Election (GE) has always been at the “eleventh hour”.
In a Facebook post today (1 July), Mr Lim shared that Mediacorp only informed the party about the political debates that is set to be aired today at 2.08pm yesterday (30 June).
“Of course, it is always good to discuss pertinent issues which concern our citizens on such platforms. The problem is we always receive such notices at the eleventh hour,” Mr Lim wrote.
He added, “Even inter-varsity debates are given more notice!”
Mr Lim pointed out that the national public broadcaster would have a lot of time to plan and give all political parties advance notice.
“Let’s not forget that they would have sold the advertising spots which accompany the debates much earlier too,” he stressed.
To make it worse, Mr Lim revealed that this situation has happened before in the last general election where he was only given close to three hours to prepare for a debate on Nomination Day.
“In the 2015 GE, I was only given barely 3 hours to prepare for the Chinese debate held on Nomination Day itself.”
If that’s not all, Mr Lim felt that the format of the debate in 2015 was “skewed” in a way to make PAP’s Chan Chun Sing and Sim Ann look good.
The SDP member also added that the PAP duo “came prepared with thick files as if they were already given advance notice.”
The two political debates on GE2020 – one in English and the other one in Mandarin – will go “live” this evening for an hour.
Titled “Singapore Votes 2020 – The Political Debate”, the English debate will be broadcast on Channel 5 at 8pm, whereas the Chinese one will broadcast on Channel 8 at 9pm.
The parties invited for the debates are the People’s Action Party, Progress Singapore Party (PSP), Workers’ Party (WP) and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP).
Mr Lim said that SDP was invited because it was one of the four parties “which has fielded the most number of candidates in this election”.
Mr Lim was told that he will be handling the Chinese debate, while the party’s chief Dr Chee Soon Juan will be handling the English one.
Although Mr Lim is not “hopeful” that it will be a “fair game this time round”, he promised that both he and Dr Chee will do their best to “bring your concerns across in the debates”.