GE 2015

Chee to 'work closer' with WP

 Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), speaks to his supporters at Chua Chu Kang stadium during a rally ahead of Singapore's September 11 election, on Sept 3, 2015.
Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), speaks to his supporters at Chua Chu Kang stadium during a rally ahead of Singapore's September 11 election, on Sept 3, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

Singapore Democratic Party secretary-general Chee Soon Juan has raised the possibility of his party "working closer together" with the Workers' Party at the next general election.

Dr Chee, 53, said in a Facebook post yesterday that many of his supporters had put the idea to him, as they felt this would "present a more coordinated opposition strategy and message".

"Given the outcome of the polls, I think so too," he added.

"I'll discuss the idea with my CEC colleagues when we meet later this week. Will keep you posted," he said, referring to the party's central executive committee.

The PAP's landslide win at the Sept 11 general election, with 83 out of 89 seats in Parliament and 69.9 per cent of the popular vote, disappointed many opposition members and supporters, some of whom have called on the parties to work together.

Dr Chee also said he spent the weekend quietly with his family.

"It's been an intense past week and yesterday was a day with a bit of much-welcomed downtime," he wrote.

SDP had been billed as the comeback kids of the general election, with Dr Chee's more moderate image and articulate speeches proving to be a draw at the party's rallies.

It was also the first time in three elections that Dr Chee, a former psychology lecturer at the National University of Singapore, contested. He had to sit out the 2006 and 2011 elections as he was a bankrupt then.

This time, he led a team to contest Holland-Bukit Timah GRC against a People's Action Party (PAP) slate led by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. The other three members of his team were medical professor Paul Tambyah, healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung and compliance auditor Sidek Mallek.

SDP managed only 33.4 per cent of the votes - a drop from the 39.9 per cent it obtained in 2011 - in a contest many expected would be close. The party did not fare well in the other four constituencies it contested: Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, and Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang and Yuhua SMCs.

In an interview with The New Paper on Sunday, Dr Chee's second daughter, 13-year-old E Lyn, said she was confident her father would be back next round.

"Just keep going and don't give up... this time, it doesn't matter because next time, he can work harder," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'Chee to 'work closer' with WP'. Print Edition | Subscribe