Bukit Batok by-election

SDP will elaborate on town council plans at rally: Chee

SDP chief Chee Soon Juan giving out fliers at Bukit Batok MRT Station yesterday. He said the party will spell out how it plans to ensure a smooth takeover of the town council should he win the Bukit Batok by-election.
SDP chief Chee Soon Juan giving out fliers at Bukit Batok MRT Station yesterday. He said the party will spell out how it plans to ensure a smooth takeover of the town council should he win the Bukit Batok by-election.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has what it takes to run a town council, and that will be a core message at its rally tonight, party chief Chee Soon Juan said.

He told reporters yesterday that the party will give details on how it will ensure a smooth takeover of the town council from the People's Action Party (PAP) should he win the Bukit Batok by-election.

The party will also outline specific goals on the town council transition for the first 100 days after the by-election, he added, assuring residents that their estate will be in good hands even with a change of management.

"We want to make sure the voters here know how serious we are about ensuring a smooth takeover of the town council," he told a media conference outside Bukit Batok MRT station, where he handed out campaign fliers to the evening rush-hour crowd and posed for photographs with supporters.

The SDP had, last May, released a town council management plan that, among other things, sets targets and deadlines, such as aiming to gather all of the town council's financial information within the first 30 days of taking over.

The party has also named a four-man resource panel to advise it on town council issues in the first 100 days if Dr Chee is elected.

Besides town council issues,Dr Chee said, speakers at the rally will touch on the topic of job security amid the current economic slowdown.

Dr Chee was also asked if he had reached out to the voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs), such as Fei Yue Community Services, that the PAP has roped in to help with social programmes in Bukit Batok.

He replied that he was confident that the VWOs would remain involved in the various social programmes if the SDP wins the by-election on May 7.

"If they are VWOs, why do they worry who runs the town council? You mean just because SDP runs the town council, VWOs say, 'Okay, we don't have to care about the residents here any more'?" he said.

He added that a "truly caring candidate" would hope for the VWOs to stay on to help the community, whether or not he is elected.

Dr Chee began his day at the MRT station yesterday reaching out to voters on their way to work before doing his usual round of house visits. He also gave several media interviews.

In the evening, he said that, with Nomination Day over, he sensed that residents were more tuned in to the ongoing campaign as Polling Day drew nearer.

But he declined to speculate on whether the month of groundwork he has put in had made an impact on voters.

"We don't have time right now to conduct all these little polls," he said. "The most important poll we will encounter is the one on May 7."

Chong Zi Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2016, with the headline 'SDP will elaborate on town council plans at rally: Chee'. Print Edition | Subscribe