Well, the nomination papers have been filed and the candidacy of the People’s Action Party’s Murali Pillai and the Singapore Democratic Party’s Chee Soon Juan have been accepted by the Returning Officer as candidates for the upcoming Bukit Batok By-Election on 7 May 2016.

Frankly, there is really nothing much for the voters of Bukit Batok to mull over.

In September last year, they stridently voted in the PAP’s candidate.

Bad luck- a by election has to be held.

So, is it time or opportune for the voters to so-called “punish” the PAP’s candidate as some social media bloggers and analysts claim?

No need to punish the PAP. Just vote for continuity and reap the benefits of progress to come both for Bukit Batok, the entire Jurong area and the nation whom we all proudly call Singapore.

Why I Won’t Vote for the SDP

I don’t live in Bukit Batok and so no chance or need to vote on 7 May.

But I’ll share with you  just three reasons (my own opinion of course) on why I will never vote for or even encourage voters of Bukit Batok to vote for the Singapore Democratic Party’s Candidate Chee Soon Juan for this by election. That is why there is no need to ponder over an argument which will come up soon during SDP’s campaign- the by-election effect.  The cries will come out loud- “Vote for the SDP since the PAP is already the Government”. I say, no such thing.

Whether by-election or GE- what matters is credibility of the Party and the candidate and not a rah-rah show of calls for “one more” opposition face in Parliament.


The Previous GE victory:  In the September 2015 General Election, the PAP’s Candidate, David Ong scored a 73 per cent vote share against his opponent, also from the SDP.  Just because the PAP candidate has had to resign after six months, does that really change the mood and the strength of support voters had given to the PAP in the last GE? It cannot be and it must not happen that way. What plans did SDP have for Bukit Batok during the last General Election? Did they even have a constituency manifesto in September 2015? And where did all these hurriedly put together plans suddenly come from for the SDP for the by-election?

The PAP’s Bukit Batok plans are already in running. Would voters of Bukit Batok want to scuttle all these plans just like that? Very wrong to do that by voting unwisely .

Running A Town Council: Did the previous SDP candidate in the 2015 GE reveal his plans to run a single constituency town council? I don’t recall anything at all. The current Bukit Batok town is under the ambit of the Jurong Town Council and running a TC is serious business. Every year the Ministry of National Development assesses town councils in various areas and according to the latest town council management report published late last year, the Jurong Town Council scored green for key areas like Corporate Governance and Service and Conservancy Arrears management. I would never want to diminish or lose this confidence in the running and management of the town I live or work in by casting a devastating vote for the SDP, no chance!

The Candidate and The Party: Some election candidates always hope that when they field themselves for a general election or a by-election, their past would be passed off by voters of the division in particular and Singaporeans in general. That’s just not on my cards.


To refresh Dr Chee Soon Juan’s mind, in his own words at the SDP Lunch time rally in September last year, “Character is Permanent”, and indeed it is. Dr Chee Soon Juan’s favourite catchphrases for this by-election are “Now Is The Time” and “Get Me Into Parliament”. My question is, “Whatever For”.

First, a candidate must have the heart to serve and look after the interest of the residents in his ward. At no time during the last GE did the SDP or any of its candidates display that interest to serve residents. All that they wanted was to hopefully get voted in and probably also wishfully hope that they could end up being the top loser and qualify for the Non-Constituency MP scheme. Singaporean voters rightfully denied them both desires all for the good of a Better Parliament in Singapore. Dr Chee Soon Juan has nothing good to offer Singapore and more so voters of Bukit Batok.

He claims to want to speak up? Speak up for whom?  All the anti-Singapore International Bodies where he has friends to bad mouth about Singapore? Is he going to speak up for Reporters Without Borders? Who does Dr Chee want to speak up for? Is he really a changed man now, as claimed by social media political pundits? I don’t think so, personally.


Let us look at Murali Pillai- before being fielded in Aljunied GRC, he’s served in Bukit Batok for more than ten years under past PAP Advisors. Inside sources claim he had in fact beaten Workers Party’s Chen Show Mao in the division vote for Paya Lebar in the last GE, one of the better performing candidates in the PAP Team, though they lost.

Murali’s achievements in the legal fraternity are aplenty. I would go as far to say he is what we coin a “Minister Material” too.

So, let us come back to the original question. What is this by election all about.

In two words- it is about Continuity and Progress. Singaporeans voted resoundingly for the PAP on 11 September 2015 for these two qualities to continue to soar to even greater heights. Bukit Batok was already part of that victory. No need for second thoughts- keep that victory flag flying even better on 7 May 2016.

Image Credits: Straits Times, Straits Times, mothership.sg, Channel NewsAsia.

About the author

RS Rama

RS Rama has covered political news and Parliamentary budget sittings for nearly 25 years and continues to be a keen watcher on political developments and issues that matter to the man in the street in Singapore.

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