Fri. May 31st, 2024

TL;DR – Do you think SDP can execute social programmes better than PAP?

SDP held a press conference yesterday (22 April) to announce range of four social programmes they would run in Bukit Batok if Dr Chee Soon Juan is elected in the upcoming by-elections. We were there to have a listen, and here we are, unscrambling the programmes for our readers.

Collectively, the social programmes are themed

We are One, We are Bukit Batok“.

The programmes sound ambitious, although as pointed out by, sound like the existing Bukit Batok social programmes.

One programme called “Hearts for Bukit Batok” aims to get households in Bukit Batok to “adopt” other needy families and provide them with financial and emotional support. A trust fund will also be set up to provide the elderly and the poor with monthly stipends or food vouchers.

A second programme, “Pathfinders“, aims to build confidence in students and develop their potential. It will provide a space for students to come together and explore their talents. Pathfinder will also provide subsidised tuition for students from low income families.

A third programme, “Dollars and Cents“, seeks to assist residents facing financial difficulties to resolve their financial problems. Financial advisers and experts will meet with residents individually or in groups.

The last programme, “Legal Lifeline“, aims to provide legal advice to low income residents when needed.

Dr Chee Soon Juan and SDP Vice Chairman John Tan with coordinators of SDP’s social programs for Bukit Batok (Image source:

None of the individuals who will be coordinating these programmes are SDP members. In fact, they took the trouble to remind all of us present at the media event yesterday evening that they  were not party members, although they ARE affiliated in various ways with the party. Wong, for instance, had volunteered with the party since last year, while Rajakumari’s father is an SDP member. Regardless, it still shows that Dr Chee has the ability to rally people to his cause.

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And if you were there at the press conference, it’s not hard to understand why there are people who would respond to Dr Chee’s rallying call. His message sounds very inspirational. He said:

“I don’t want to be just an MP, I want to be that spark, that catalyst that brings out the best in the people of Bukit Batok, to inspire everyone to reach for their best, to appeal to the better angels in all of us and to discover that side of our community that we didn’t know we had so that we can build a compassionate town, a town that will, dare I dream, become the model and one day spread to all of Singapore.”

Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing against the programmes and vision that SDP has for Bukit Batok. If well executed, these programs will certainly benefit the residents of Bukit Batok. If well executed… That is really the crux – execution.

[alert color=”green” icon=”fa-bookmark”]Will SDP be up to the task of executing these programmes successfully?[/alert]

Dr Chee certainly is confident that SDP will be able to do so. He has said that he will contribute part of his MP allowance toward funding these programes. He has also committed to be a “full-time” MP. He said:

“We dare to commit to this programme because I will do the work full time and give my undivided attention as MP.”

That is certainly a veiled criticism aimed at PAP’s Murali Pillai. Mr Murali will likely continue working as Head of Commercial Litigation in renowned local law firm Rajah and Tan even if he gets elected. But Mr Murali will have the support of a large well-oiled party machinery. He will be able to work closely with the PA and draw on the army of grassroots volunteers. What’s stopping PAP from promising to use the vast resources and manpower at their disposal to roll out similar social programmes?

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At the end of the day, it will be down to whether Bukit Batok residents are convinced that SDP will be better able to successfully execute social programmes than PAP? Will Bukit Batok residents be convinced that a “full-time” SDP MP will better serve their interests? Or will they rather have a “part-time” PAP MP who has more resources and manpower at his disposal? The party which is able to convince Bukit Batok residents that they can better execute their respective social programmes will determine, in large part, who emerges victorious.

Believe, you, me, when it comes to implementing social schemes and all, the devil’s in the execution.

By Joey Wee

I am nice, most of the time!

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