Bukit Batok by-election

Chee: No racist comments by SDP

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for Bukit Batok SMC, Dr Chee Soon Juan speaks at party rally at Bukit Gombak Stadium, on May 1, 2016.
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for Bukit Batok SMC, Dr Chee Soon Juan speaks at party rally at Bukit Gombak Stadium, on May 1, 2016.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan yesterday rejected suggestions that his party was a racist one.

SDP members have not made racist comments - unlike members of the People's Action Party (PAP), he said at a rally.

He was responding to comments that race has surfaced as an issue in the Bukit Batok by-election.

 
 
 
 

During a PAP rally last Friday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said "some people" have been "asking Chinese residents to vote for Chinese only" - not PAP candidate Murali Pillai.

"I hope this is not the position taken by SDP and hope they will clarify this position," she added.

Last night, Dr Chee challenged residents to find something SDP has said that is remotely racist.

"Do a search on the Internet and tell us if we've said anything racist," he said, charging that Ms Fu had "tried to paint (the SDP) as racist" while ignoring "her own party's racist statements".

Dr Chee brought up former PAP MP Choo Wee Khiang, who quipped in Parliament in 1992 that Little India was "in complete darkness". He also cited the case of PAP member Jason Neo, who in 2011 on Facebook labelled a bus of Malay kindergarten pupils "young terrorist trainees".

He also noted that PAP MP Denise Phua had to apologise after her comment last month that crowds of migrant workers were "walking time bombs". He said: "Even the late Lee Kuan Yew made disparaging remarks about the Malays, for which he had to apologise. And yet Grace Fu can stand there with a straight face and insinuate that SDP is racist."

Janice Heng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2016, with the headline 'Chee: No racist comments by SDP'. Print Edition | Subscribe