SDP: Big on polices but small on votes

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Dr Chee Soon Juan

There are no prizes for guessing. Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the secretary general of Singapore Democratic Party is one of the most hardworking opposition politicians in Singapore. He may not be popular with the electorate, never has been, but he believes that he has what it takes to reshape Singapore.

He is the first to start his political campaign for the next general election. Top marks for that!

But everyone knows that reshaping Singapore to be more egalitarian and equal in the distribution of wealth is easier said than done. It is more than just having the right credentials or track record.

The precursor to policy execution is to win the hearts and minds of the electorate. Unfortunately for him, politics, whether he likes it or not, is a popularity contest.

So is CSJ, as he is affectionately called by netizens, a popular political figure? Arguably not. But he surely scores top marks for intellect and ability to convince his core group of supporters. SDP put up a formidable team in Holland-Bukit Timah in GE2011.

He promises to be “your voice in parliament.” He will champion the alternate policies in education, healthcare, housing, population and employment management, and the Malay community.

“We are asking Singaporeans to consider alternative policies we believe to be right for Singapore. These policies will be our central thought for the next general elections.” said Chee.

SDP is probably the only opposition party that has recommended policy alternatives, consistently every six months, since the last general election.

Again, they score top marks for being diligent. Whether, his policies will resonate with the masses is another topic, and I’m sure he has considered each carefully.

Chee has spent his entire career on politics. He sacrificed his family, his friends and put his entire party at stake to stand for what he believes. Many have questioned his wisdom and his ability as a party chief. He has suffered talent loss and he has also been battling the negative image created by the ousting of Chiam See Tong from SDP and the bad press he received for defaming the ex-prime ministers Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew.

Unfortunately for him, at the age of fifty-one, he does not have the luxury of time to live his dream. He needs to win in the next election to show his party colleagues that he has what it takes to lead the party, or he’ll just lose more talent.

The party, apart from Chee, needs a win a parliamentary seat to gain a foothold in politics. Otherwise, their only place will be in the pages of Wikipedia!

image credits: TOC