Speaking to reporters at a walkabout in Bukit Batok yesterday (26 Jul), Dr Chee confirmed that the party he leads – the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) – will contest Bukit Batok SMC in the forthcoming general election (GE).
Bukit Batok SMC was recently carved out from Jurong GRC by the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC).
Dr Chee said, “You know that the SDP has been here before, before this constituency got redrawn into Jurong GRC. So in a way we are coming home. This has been our place.”
“We’ve been running a campaign, and you will probably also remember that we won Bukit Gombak here and when we contested Bukit Batok, we did very well,” he added.
“We feel very good that we are stepping into this single seat again.”
In 1988 and 1991, SDP garnered 44.1% and 48.2% of the valid votes respectively, narrowly losing to PAP in Bukit Batok. The 1991 election was especially close with SDP losing only 858 votes.
But by the next GE in 1997, it was subsumed under Bt Timah GRC, probably to prevent a possible loss to PAP, given that SDP was garnering close to the 50% mark in Bukit Batok.
In 2001, it was transferred to Jurong GRC and has stayed in Jurong GRC till today. PAP probably feels that after 20 years, Bukit Batok is “safe” by now to contest as an SMC.
SDP is also considering contesting in the same constituencies as it did in the last election, Dr Chee said.
SDP contested in Holland-Bukit Timah and Sembawang GRCs as well as Bukit Panjang and Yuhua SMCs in the last GE.
But he remained mum on which constituency he will personally contest in. He was barred from running in the 2006 and 2011 elections because he was bankrupted by defamation lawsuits initiated by ESM Goh Chok Tong and the late Lee Kuan Yew. He was discharged as a bankrupt in 2012.
“The most important thing really, for me, is to get into Parliament. To press, push for these fresh alternatives and to ensure we have that kind of intelligent, substantive debate in Parliament. And I am relishing this opportunity right now,” he said.
PAP MP surprised that Bukit Batok has become SMC
Meanwhile, MP for Jurong GRC David Ong, who looks after the Bukit Batok division, said he was surprised at EBRC’s decision to turn it into an SMC.
“I was surprised, but I think also in a way when PM talked about GRC not more than an average of five, we do in our own way try to look at how our GRC may be carved out. So in a way it’s a surprise that Bukit Batok is now selected as an SMC,” he said.