SINGAPORE - Holding a by-election just eight months after a general election is a waste of public money, said Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Sadasivam Veriyah at his party's rally on Friday (April 29) night.
The 63-year-old, who stood in the constituency at last September's polls, hit out at People's Action Party (PAP) MP David Ong for the personal indiscretion that led him to step down leaving the Bukit Batok seat vacant.
"As a politician, if you are standing for election, your concentration should be to serve residents. Not about personal life. If you have got other interests, other commitments, you should not be standing for election," he said.
Mr Sadasivam, a former teacher and PAP member, brandished a copy of Mr Ong's pamphlet from the GE2015 hustings and said: "Most of you could have received this pamphlet distributed by David Ong. Please refer to the last page where he has said it's a privilege to serve you. Where is he now?
"You believed in his promises, you believed what he said, 73 per cent voted for him, but within six months, he has vanished from the political scene!"
Mr Sadasivam had polled 26.4 per cent in the three-cornered fight at the constituency.
He was among several speakers last night who accused former Bukit Batok MP, Mr Ong, of breaking his promise to residents. Mr Ong stepped down on March 12 over an alleged extramarital affair.
However, SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said as he wrapped up Friday night's rally: " You never kick a man when he's down, there's no honour in that. For all I know, David Ong is a good guy, but sometimes good guys make bad mistakes. Who
Dr Chee said some people have advised him to capitalise on what they termed the "weakest point" of the PAP, but he did
not want to do so.
He noted that this is the second by-election in three years sparked by similar circumstances surrounding PAP MPs. The first was at Punggol East in 2013.
He said: "Let's leave Mr Ong alone for him to find his life again and let his family heal again."
Speakers at the rally also called for Bukit Batok residents to vote Dr Chee into Parliament, holding him up as an alternative voice.
SDP member Damanhuri Abas, accused the PAP of not being upfront over $1.9 million worth of estate upgrading plans for a precinct in Bukit Batok in a saga that unfolded over the past week.
He said: "Fortunately in this instance, they were caught like David Ong with his pants down."
This was but one in a series of recent incidents that Mr Damanhuri cited, arguing that Singapore's meritocratic system has lost its way.
The examples include the two SMRT workers who were hit and killed by an oncoming train last month, and the hepatitis C outbreak at the Singapore General Hospital last year.
There were "serious flaws" in how leaders get appointed, he said, adding that they appeared to be protected by the PAP government and had a lack of accountability.
He said these were issues that Dr Chee would raise in Parliament.
National University of Singapore (NUS) medical professor Paul Tambyah said: "The Government will not change on May 7... But with Dr Chee in Parliament, you'll have a fresh voice, someone who is not afraid to stand up, to speak up for the least and the last of us."