SDP holds Hong Lim Park rally, which it says is 'full-dress rehearsal' for next general election

The crowd sings the national anthem during the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) pre-election rally held at Hong Lim Park on Oct 19, 2019.
The crowd sings the national anthem during the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) pre-election rally held at Hong Lim Park on Oct 19, 2019.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Central Executive Committee pictured ahead of the SDP pre-election rally held at Hong Lim Park on Oct 19, 2019.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Central Executive Committee pictured ahead of the SDP pre-election rally held at Hong Lim Park on Oct 19, 2019.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) members and supporters were out in force on Saturday (Oct 19) evening at Hong Lim Park where the party held a pre-election rally with the theme "Shake It Up!".

The event had a carnival-like atmosphere, with band performances and even a group of parrot enthusiasts who showcased their colourful birds.

As the evening progressed, SDP leaders including secretary-general Chee Soon Juan and chairman Paul Tambyah, along with other central executive committee members and new faces, including marketing and communications professional Min Cheong, 34, took to the podium to address the crowd.

Dr Chee criticised the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) for breaking election promises and Dr Tambyah said unlike in Hong Kong, voters in Singapore could choose their own leaders, and that when the PAP loses votes, it will not then raise taxes. Other issues addressed during the rally included the rising cost of public transport and workplace harassment.

The pre-election rally ended with a light up display, in which participants held up torchlights and umbrellas to form the word "SDP" .

Dr Tambyah told the media that while the party does not know when the next general election will be called, it is actively getting ready. The Saturday evening pre-election event was a significant part of those preparations.

The next general election must be held by April 2021.

He said the SDP is prepared "whenever it is called" and also has its slate of candidates ready, although he declined to reveal their identities.

"What we are doing here today, is similar to the election stage. It's our full-dress rehearsal," Dr Tambyah added.

Party vice-chairman John Tan said the event provided party volunteers with the experience of helping out in areas like logistics, and speaking in front of a live audience.