25 Apr 06
The Singapore Democrats have been ordered to remove our podcasts, including the address Dr Chee Soon Juan gave regarding the persecuting of the SDP and its leaders. Below is the text of the speech.
My fellow Singaporeans,
This is Chee Soon Juan The elections are upon us again and the Singapore Democrats are busy preparing for the polls on May 6.
But unlike previous campaigns, this one is a little different in that even before the hustings begin, the PAP is up to its favourite tactic of suing its opponents for defamation. It is certainly whipping up anti-SDP sentiments through the mass media that it controls.
But that’s not all. The PAP is hell-bent on crippling the SDP’s election campaign.
First, it bans podcasting knowing full well that we had set up our podcast last year specifically so that we can better reach out to voters in this election.
Two, MM Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong have sued our Party for defamation.
Three, the PAP has even gone after the SDP’s printer, Mr David Sum, who is now so fearful he dares not print our election material.
Four, everywhere that we go for our walkabouts, undercover police agents are on hand to harass us and issue us warnings.
Five, the PAP is so desperate that it has even changed the rules to bar both Mr J B Jeyaretnam and I from speaking at the election rallies. It goes to the extent to rule that no one can read my speeches out for me at the rallies.
Let me ask you one simple question: Does this sound like a Government that is confident of the popular support that it claims to have or does this sound more like an insecure regime determined to prevent the SDP from telling voters its views and competing with the PAP for votes?
Mr Lee Kuan Yew says that Singapore should have a First World Government and opposition. I couldn’t agree more. But I’d like to remind him that First World Governments don’t sue their political opponents or their printers, they don’t have police officers tailing the opposition wherever they go out to meet voters, or prevent them from speaking at election rallies, or ban podcasting.
What First World Governments do is to have public debates with their opponents uncensored and unedited so that voters can watch and make up their own minds. To this end, I would like to invite Mr Lee Kuan Yew and/or Mr Lee Hsien Loong to demonstrate the PAP’s First World-ness by engaging my colleagues and I in public debate during one of our rallies – telecast live.
This would be a wonderful opportunity for the PAP to show how much of a First World government it is and if what Mr Lee Kuan Yew says about the SDP being a ‘hooligan’ party is true or not. The SDP is confident of letting the people of Singapore be the judge. What about the PAP?
The truth of the matter is that Singaporeans must not let the PAP dictate what kind of an opposition Singapore should have. The state-controlled media will portray the SDP as a party not worthy of the people’s support. That’s not surprising because the Singapore Democrats are openly calling for reform of our political system and for the Government to truly serve the people and not vice versa. The PAP is terrified of this message and wants to shut the party down.
An opposition must speak clearly and loudly when the people are being bullied, when ministers are paying themselves millions of dollars in salaries while the people continue to take cuts in their wages and CPF.
An opposition must spell out its alternative ideas clearly as we have done in our newspaper and various books and reports.
An opposition must not be intimidated by the ruling party no matter how tough the going gets.
Because ultimately an opposition exists to keep democracy alive by speaking up for the people.
Clearly, the Government is going all out to crush the Singapore Democrats. It wants to shut the SDP down. We’re not surprised by this because that’s what undemocratic regimes do to parties that call for reform – reform so that power can be rightly returned to the citizens.
Everything I’ve done, I’ve done it with our nation at heart. You may not agree with everything I say or do. But you cannot accuse me of not speaking up for the people. I love my country as much as anyone else in Singapore. But loving my country and being loyal to it doesn’t mean I have to bow down to the PAP and look the other way when injustice occurs.
We, the members of the SDP, will continue to speak up and we will tell the PAP when it is wrong no matter how much we are persecuted. We will not kow-tow to bullying and to arrogance.
We will continue to speak up and to fight for you. Why? Because Singapore belongs to us Singaporeans, not the PAP. Whatever happens in this election, the SDP will always remain true to our beliefs, our people and, most important, our nation.
Thank you and may God bless all of you and your loved ones.