The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)’s election campaign was rendered “pointless” as one of its “Four Yes, One No” campaign” key plank, “1 No”, has been proven a “falsehood”, said the People’s Action Party (PAP) on Thursday (2 July).
Earlier on Wednesday (1 July), SDP’s chief Chee Soon Juan mentioned at an inter-political debate ahead of the General Election (GE) that PAP candidate Heng Swee Keat was “toying with the idea” of increasing Singapore’s population to 10 million people.
PAP’s candidate Vivian Balakrishnan – who took part in the debate – refuted his point, saying that it was “false statement” and Dr Chee was raising a “false straw man”.
After the GE debate – which was televised over Mediacorp Channel 5 on Wednesday – Mr Heng took to Facebook to deny that he ever targeted a 10-million population and posted a video of his dialogue at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Student Union Ministerial Forum in 2019.
In response, SDP announced on Facebook that it had “successfully extracted an assurance from the PAP that it has no intention of increasing the population to 6.9 or 10 million”.
The PAP released a statement hours later, accusing Dr Chee of twisting the facts to claim that SDP had “achieved victory” by extracting a promise from the PAP that it had no intention to increase the population to 10 million.
“Having been proven wrong, the honourable thing for Dr Chee to do would have been to admit that SDP’s election campaign was based on a falsehood, withdraw it, and apologise to Singaporeans for misleading them. But that would have been out of character,” the PAP wrote.
The Party noted that Dr Chee has “staged this drama before” when he refused to apologise for his use of wrong data on healthcare subsides at a Parliamentary Select Committee in 1996.
“Dr Chee first conjures a bogey out of thin air to befuddle, frighten and divide Singaporeans. When it is pointed out to him the bogey doesn’t exist, he claims someone else had “toyed” with the idea first.
“And when it is shown conclusively that someone else had done no such thing, he waves his arms triumphantly in the air, proclaiming, ‘see, I slayed the bogey’,” it added.
The PAP continued, “The ‘1 No’ is a key plank in the SDP’s election campaign. Its falsehood renders the campaign pointless, and calls into question the integrity of the whole party.”