Due to ‘personal indiscretion’, David Ong, Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency resigns. By-Election (BE) seems imminent to fill the vacant parliamentary seat. Contending for the seat is Mr Murali Pillai from the ruling PAP and Dr Chee Soon Juan from SDP.
There’s been much speculation how this BE will turn out. Ape just wanna join in and give his primitive primate thoughts starting with his assessment of the two potential candidates.
Mr Pillai will without doubt be given much needed support from the grassroots activist and main stream media. It is claimed that he has been an active grassroots leader and if so, that too can work in his favour. To his benefit in the sense that he has an advantage on the ground sensing. However, as to whether the constituents of Bt Batok will give him his votes due to his grassroots work, that depends how positively visible he has been as a grassroots leader. In terms of how well known he is to Singaporeans and in particular to the constituents of Bt Batok, ape thinks he lost out to Dr Chee.
Dr Chee is definitely a more famous or infamous candidate, depending on which side you’re taking. He has been portrayed as a fool hardy, psychotic, rude politician back in the days where main stream media was the only media. With the introduction of online social media, he was able to reach out to a wider community since GE2011 and made steady progress to improve his image or should ape say, seek redress to correct what was misleading? However, Dr Chee and SDP or any other opposition parties, will always be facing an uphill battle against the incumbent PAP that has been the ruling party for more than half a decade.
As to how the votes will turn out, ape’s guess is as good as anyone. Looking back at statistics, GE2015, BBSMC candidates were relatively unknown but the incumbent PAP won with more than 70% votes? Ape hesitates to use that as a measure to predict the result of the coming BE. After all, nationwide, PAP scored very well in GE2015, much to the surprise of netizens and the incumbent and everyone else. However, in this coming BE, By-election effect and Dr Chee’s relatively well knowned standing may work in his favour. Going further back when Bt Batok was an SMC and SDP contested in GE1988 and GE1991, SDP was able to garner more than 40% of the votes. Assuming the profiles of Bt Batok constituents didn’t change much since, ape’s guess is that Dr Chee stands a good chance to enter parliament.
What if Mr Pillai gets voted in? Things will more of less be the same in Bt Batok and parliament. The exciting part will be when Dr Chee gets voted in. Singaporeans will most likely be treated to more debates and residents of Bt Batok will get to experience how their town will be run by a different entity, for better or worse.
Before all these excitement gets into the heads of anyone and everyone and especially Dr Chee and SDP, do brace for the possibility that SDP will face a slew of technical challenges especially in the running of Town Council. Getting into parliament is only a step. Holding that MP seat will take a lot of efforts on any opposition MPs. Ape thinks it will do any opposition party a favour if they could work with grassroots leaders for the better of the community instead of viewing them as redundant or worse, PAP’s lackeys. The same applies to civil servants. Do not forget, PA’s grassroots leaders and civil servants are duty bound to support the government who has been voted in by the majority of Singaporeans, regardless of their personal inclination and vote cast. When a politician make enemies of grassroots leaders and civil servants, he is loosing their votes.
Let’s see how the BE will turn out.