18 Apr 2006

No manifesto, but Chiam shows his hand

By Loh Chee Kong, TODAY

SINGAPORE : Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) chairman Chiam See Tong is taking a realistic approach to the coming General Election and has decided not to come up with a party manifesto.

His reasoning? Manifestos sketch out plans of governance and there was no point in talking of taking over a government at a time when there are only two Opposition MPs in Parliament.

"From what I know of a manifesto, it consists of the programmes a party would carry out if it came into power. In that sense, what we, as the SDA, have is not a manifesto. We call it the election agenda. We don't want to call it a manifesto because in any event, our party will have only a limited number of candidates," Mr Chiam told Today. The SDA has posted its agenda on its website.

Instead, SDA will focus on local issues in the wards it is contesting and will make the lack of opposition an issue in itself.

"We want to tell the electorate what we believe in and what the country should have. For example, there must be competition in politics," said Mr Chiam.

Mr Chiam also indicated that the Opposition grouping that he headed was willing to start the long grind to build up its support base.

"One big mistake the Opposition parties made in the past was that while we built up a strong momentum during the elections, we did not take the trouble to follow through with it after the election was over. This time, we should not make the same mistake," he said. - TODAY

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