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SDP’s May Day mesage

Posted by theonlinecitizen on May 2, 2008

The following is the Singapore Democratic Party’s May Day message received by theonlinecitizen on May 2.

Gandhi Ambalam, Chairman,

Singapore Democratic Party


Friends and fellow Singaporeans,

May Day is an annual event to honor the workers of the world. In Singapore, it is only appropriate that our workers, who hold up our economy, are honored and have their rights protected.

There are about 2.5 million workers in Singapore. But they are left with no rights under the PAP which, ironically, came to power on the backs of our workers in 1959.

After winning power, one of the first things that the PAP did was to remove some of those basic rights – the right to decent wages, the right to proper annual leave, medical care etc.

What was worse, the PAP introduced draconian laws in the late 60s such as the Employment Act, the Trade Unions Act and the Industrial Relations Act to deny our workers their rightful entitlements.

These three pieces of archaic legislation that are still being retained at present are in fact used by the employers to exploit our workers. In other words, our workers became victims of big business, including Government and Temasek-linked companies.

Over the years, instead of improving the lot of our workers, the PAP has further exploited them through the National Trades Union Congress.

The PAP set up the NTUC in 1961 after arresting trade unionists and deregistering their genuine trade unions that existed then.

The NTUC has been a failure in representing the interests of our workers. Despite being around for 47 years, the NTUC has been able to bring under its fold only less than 20 per cent of our workforce.

The NTUC seems to be everywhere and doing everything including running supermarkets, selling anything from insurance to duck rice, and even running massage and funeral parlors – everything except looking after the interests of our workers.

What is most obnoxious is that NTUC is in collusion with the government to indiscriminately let in foreigners to take away the jobs of our workers. One-third, or more, of the workforce in Singapore is made up of foreigners.

The uncontrolled influx of cheap foreign labor has led to our workers reduced to doing contract and casual jobs.

It is common to see our workers holding two jobs with long working hours just to survive. In contrast, our ministers demand millions of dollars in what they call salary.

The PAP government manages one of the most centrally controlled economies in the world and it often intervenes and manipulates market forces with the result that our workers are left high and dry at the mercy of the employers.

There’s no minimum wage. The PAP government and the NTUC are sacrificing the workers’ right to earn a decent living wage by retaining labor intensive industries whose needs are met by the foreign cheap labor.

Most of the jobs created go to foreigners, leading to economic hardship and displacement of Singaporeans.

This downhill path of depending on cheap labor is badly hurting the morale of our workers and their productivity.

Another bugbear is inflation that has hit a 26-year high. To a certain extent the problem is global. But the major responsibility for this high inflation has to be borne by the Government that has introduced a slew of increases for govt services including ERP gantries, GST, transport costs, hospital charges and exorbitant fees at institutions of higher learning while foreigners are provided with subsidized and free education with taxpayers’ money.

The continued neglect of Singaporeans have led to families finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the constant upping in the price of essentials while their incomes remain stagnant or further suppressed by the foreign cheap labor.

School children go hungry because they can’t afford to pay for the food at the canteen. Can you imagine all this is happening in a First World country that Singapore claims to be?

The Government claims that a record number of 234,900 jobs were created last year, up from 176,000 jobs in the previous year.

But of these only 38 per cent of them went to locals, which include permanent residents. We are not given the unemployment rate for citizens.
Here I remember what the founding chairman of the PAP, Dr Toh Chin Chye said some time back.

He said that he did not believe the statistics and data put out by the government and that we don’t know whether we are on solid rock or thin ice!

But billions of dollars of our reserves are being used to rescue sinking Western banks and financial institutions ravaged by the sub-prime crisis. But when it comes to helping our poor with an additional $30 in allowance a month, extensive debate takes place.

The Singapore Democratic Party wants our workers to regain their lost rights and free themselves from the clutches of the greedy, exploitative and dictatorial PAP and its approved NTUC.

The fact that PAP ministers and MPs are running the union makes a mockery of the labor movement.

Our workers must be allowed to form independent trade unions to protect their interests. Employers, including those from the US, Germany and Japan have their own organizations in Singapore to ensure that their demands are met. But our workers have no say in their own country.

Forty-nine years of PAP rule and domination has led to a mass exodus of our bright and young to other countries.

This is due to PAP’s economically, socially and politically stifling attitude.

Those who are unable to emigrate find themselves increasingly displaced by foreign workers who are prepared to accept low wages.

What happened to PAP’s core value of placing community interest first before self?

Like other PAP promises of more good years, a golden period and that no one will be left behind, this one is also an empty rhetoric.

Let’s not be fooled by the PAP and its NTUC on this May Day.

It’s time that we say enough is enough. Let us unite to call for the repeal of the archaic and draconian anti-labor laws that shackle the labor movement.

We are in a different age where innovation and creativity are crucial talents if our country is going to compete in the league of First World nations.

To do this we cannot have a First World for the PAP with Third World wages for our workers.

On May 1, my colleagues and I will be at Toa Payoh Central to mark Workers’ Day.

We will have the Tak Boleh Tahan petition calling on the Government to stop exploiting our workers.

Come and join us for the day and support the campaign. I look forward to seeing you.

Together, let us work towards a free and democratic Singapore where prosperity belongs to all.

Thank you. Happy MAY DAY.

————–

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29 Responses to “SDP’s May Day mesage”


  1. “…what to do, it has happened…”

  2. Wind of Change. said

    What to do? SDP helps to strengthen the PAP mah. People gave SDP,
    during Chiam’s time, all their full support; then you guys cocked
    it up and until now you are still struggling. You must do some
    soul searching and change your image before big things can happen.

    All opposition/alternative parties should unite together to pull
    resources, supports and leadership qualities, even if there are
    certain things which you guys cannot agree on. Look at what DAP
    and PAS are doing. If they can cooperate for a common good, why
    can’t SDP, WP, SPA and RP, unless all of you are just for shows?

  3. seebeng said

    The recently held electoral reform forum was for the common good of all the opposition parties. No one can argue over the issue of wanting free and fair elections.

    The SDP and RP attended but WP and SDA stayed away. In Malaysia all the opposition parties, NGOs and CSOs came together for a common cause of clean, free and fair elections.

    Who is helping to strengthen the PAP? Is it the SDP that questions Singapore’s compliant judiciary or the WP that gives it world class ratings?

    Since Chiam left SDP, there had been three general elections but the SDA under his leadership is unable to expand beyond his Potong Pasir. Furthermore, NSP, a partner in SDA left the alliance to go it alone due to Chiam’s leadership.

    Finally, who is suffering from an image problem? A party that was ridiculed by posters and fliers during its 50th anniversary dinner or a party that had successfully staged the Tak Boleh Tahan campaign at the same place in Toa Payoh?

  4. Minjiang said

    SDA under his leadership is unable to expand beyond his Potong Pasir. – SDP under Chee leadership lost ALL their seats in one elections

    A party that was ridiculed by posters and fliers during its 50th anniversary dinner – wrong, this shows WP is a bigger threat than SDP for pple to do such childish things

  5. sarek_home said

    Dear seebeng,

    WP did not gives PAP world class ratings.

    What Mr Low said:

    ‘Perhaps it is time the PAP should benchmark themselves politically against international mature democracy standards. Then we can talk about a First World opposition, a First World Parliament, a First World government. Then we can talk about a truly First World Singapore.’

    What MM Lee said:

    Mr Lee said that if the PAP did not have the capabilities of a First World government, Singapore would not have risen up to the First World standards as measured by the World Bank, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) and the Transparency International.

    ================================

    First world countries have first world opposition because they are practicing liberal democracy. If Singapore want to have first world government, it need to be a liberal democracy. PAP need to benchmark its uniquely Singapore democracy against first world liberal democracy.

    The organizations quoted by MM Lee is not weighting PAP government on its political / democratic quality.

    Did MM Lee misunderstand what Mr Low say?

    You may want to review the exchanges between WP and PAP regarding First World Government in GE 2006.

    Regards.

  6. seebeng said

    It’s the PAP that wants him to be in Potong Pasir and also it doesn’t want anyone other than the two opposition in parliament. So, I’m not puzzled why only Potong Pasir and Hougang voters repeatedly elect opposition and not the other voters in the rest of Singapore.

    The posters and fliers exposed the threat posed by a fake to the growth of opposition!

    By the way, no one in the right mind would call the recent Tak Boleh Tahan campaign at Toa Payoh childish. If it was so, the people there would have condemned it then and there – the way they had exposed the fake during its 50th anniversary dinner.

  7. sarek_home said

    It may interest the readers that in places like Taiwan, some people who push for Taiwan independent and ant to see everyone takes a strong political stance against communist PRC also label people disagree with their views or don’t sing their tune as traitors who would betray Taiwan to communist PRC. It is a common attack against political opponent like the Nationalist Party (KMT) and media.

    In Singapore, PAP has been doing similar thing, claiming only PAP is truly serving Singapore interest and pro-Singapore, all other political parties are driven by self-interest.

    Now we have some individuals doing similar thing. They think only certain way and approach is the right way for the greater good of opposition and any one not sing that tune is fake.

    From bigger society like Taiwan to small community like Singapore opposition, we find people who don’t see differences in approach and views as the natural consequence of diversity of thinkings and personal tempers common and well respected by democratic minded people. Instead, they choose to demonize those they disapprove and dish out all sort of attack. To the democratic minded people, they can only respect these individuals and their views as part and parcel of natural consequence of diversity of thinkings and personal tempers and respect their right to act in the framework of freedom of expression.

    In the end, it is up to the general public to judge and decide.

  8. seebeng said

    Diversity of thinking is what democracy means. But to not come together with other opposition to call for free and fair elections is to negate the very democracy that is being denied by the ruling PAP. No one could have any ground of dispute over the need for free and fair elections except the PAP.

    Despite their differences, all the opposition parties, together with NGOs and CSOs, linked hands in unity to demand for free and fair elections in Malaysia.

  9. sarek_home said

    “The white men pay Martin Luther King, subsidy him so he can continue to teach African Americans to be defenseless, that is the meaning of non-violence…..”

    This was how Malcolm X saw Dr. Martin Luther King and his non-violence movement. Should we be surprised history repeat itself today in Singapore?

  10. seebeng said

    Is it possible for anyone claiming to be opposition but not prepared to work towards electoral reform?

    By the way, I don’t know what has the late Malcolm X got to do with opposition parties in Singapore coming together on a noncontentious issue such as wanting free and fair elections!?

  11. sarek_home said

    Diversity of thinking is what democracy means. But to not come together with other opposition to call for free and fair elections is to negate the very democracy that is being denied by the ruling PAP.

    Is it possible for anyone claiming to be opposition but not prepared to work towards electoral reform?

    Opposition parties do share the view that there is a need of electoral reform just like many bloggers and well known opinion makers. They just do not necessary share the same approach to work towards electoral reform.

    If we observe and respect the diversity of thinking as what democracy means, then we have to observe and respect the diversity of actions resulted from the diversity of thinking. Calling others as fake, mice, wimp for not signing on to your idea of “real” action is hardly the way to respect diversity and democracy.

    Ask this: How many bloggers and well known opinion makers who called for electoral reform sign on to this? How many NGOs and CSOs sign on to this? Is SDP calling them fake, mice, wimp because they do not sign on?

    Seeing the way Malcolm X thought about Dr. Martin Luther King and his non-violence movement and the way some individuals in Taiwan and Singapore think about others who do not sign on to the version of view, we can only say some human character persists across time and culture.

  12. seebeng said

    The SDP is not an issue here and I don’t hold any brief for it. A forum to seek electoral reform was organized by SDP to which another opposition party the RP, together with a couple of civil society activists participated as panalists to share their views. There were close to 80 people at the forum.

    Here, the fact that escapes attention is why can’t the opposition parties come together on a noncontentious issue such as electoral reform to find common ground to oppose the ruling PAP. The late Malcolm X and Martin Luther King both championed the cause of Afro-Americans, albeit with different approach.

    In Malaysia all the opposition parties with diversity of thinking banded together when it came to demanding clean, free and fair elections from the ruling BN. Is seeking free and fair election in Singapore that contentious to warrant disunity among opposition parties?

  13. Fever Guy said

    WP is getting more and more wayang. I am looking to support RF and SDP. I don believe in a party that work only during election time. Look at SDP they work all year round. They don even sacred to be jailed. Change can only happen through overcoming fear. Which party is fearless? Supporting WP will only get sinkies no where near the 2 opp seats. We have to hope WP stop acting like a PAP proxy. We dont need a PAP to praise the WP as world class. I dun rate PAP world class either. WP need soul searching fast and the younger generations are more sympathetic to SDP and will more likely to support it.

  14. sarek_home said

    The late Malcolm X and Martin Luther King both championed the cause of Afro-Americans, albeit with different approach.

    Did they come together? Malcolm X said: “The white men pay Martin Luther King, subsidy him so he can continue to teach African Americans to be defenseless, that is the meaning of non-violence…..” Just like some individuals calling others “fake, mice, wimp”.

    If one really think Malcolm X and Martin Luther King had “come together” even when Malcolm X said: “The white men pay Martin Luther King and had taken different approaches, then one should be fine that political parties like NSP, SPP, and WP have different approaches from the like of SDP and RP.

    I asked this:

    How many bloggers and well known opinion makers who called for electoral reform sign on to this? How many NGOs and CSOs sign on to this? Is SDP calling them fake, mice, wimp because they do not sign on?

    Why no one want to look hard into the answer of the questions. The truth is out there.

  15. seebeng said

    I don’t understand what the late Malcolm X and Martin Luther King have got to do with electoral reform in Singapore? Nevertheless, both of them were against white supremacy and on that basic issue they never compromised. Only their approaches differed.

    My question is: in Singapore, why can’t the opposition parties, by setting aside their differences, come together to seek electoral reform, a basic noncontentious issue, unless some of these opposition parties think that the present electoral system does not need changing?

    When it comes to contesting elections, opposition parties in Singapore get together to reach constituency sharing. Why can’t they show the same understanding and set aside their diversity of thinking for the common cause of reforming the electoral machinery that remains, among other things under the prime minister’s office?

  16. patriot said

    Imho, Singaporeans are comprehensively divided by many years of political upbringings by a very silly Ruling Party. There cannot be much united front in any organization in Sg, even the Ruling Party itself cannot be said to be united if rumours of ideological infightings within itself are true. I am inclined to believe the Rumours as I personally feel that the Prime Minister himself may not be able to command full respects from his underlings.

    As for Oppositions in Sg, they are liked broken porcelain, impossible to serve its’ purpose when glued together. And most of their leaders are true to the meaning of the word, each of them just wants to lead and not be led, none wants to follow, so to say. I dare not hope for their collective efforts in anything. Do we see members of different political parties in Sg joining hands in any cause?

    And why do I say the Ruling Party is silly? Because sooner or later the Party itself will crack, it is only a question of time. It may come sooner than expected.

    patriot.

  17. sarek_home said

    When it comes to contesting elections, opposition parties in Singapore get together to reach constituency sharing.

    The event saw Chee’s representative Uncle Yap kicked out by the true SDP representatives and Chee insisted on contesting Sembawang after the gathering with the silly excuse that SDP need to contest Sembawang to raise NKF questions to Kwan. Chee has to be totally out of touch with the advance of communication technology and the small size of Singapore to come up with this silly excuse.

    I asked this:

    How many bloggers and well known opinion makers who called for electoral reform sign on to this? How many NGOs and CSOs sign on to this? Is SDP calling them fake, mice, wimp because they do not sign on?

    Why no one want to look hard into the answer of the questions. The truth is out there.

  18. seebeng said

    As far as the GE 2006 was concerned, there was understanding at the end of the day not to create a three-way contest.

    At the electoral reform forum, there were bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants and panalists. The aim of the forum was to get the opposition parties and like-minded people to demand for a free and fair election. On this issue, there could never be any disagreement.

    In Malaysia opposition parties with diversity of thinking set aside their differences and came together on the need to have free and fair elections.

  19. sarek_home said

    Care to name the bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants and panalists? How many of these bloggers and “opinion makers” joined that election reform working group? The devil is in the details. Show us the details.

    That understanding at the end of the day not to create a three-way contest was the result of WP’s sensible decision in the face of Chee’s silly excuse that SDP need to contest Sembawang to raise NKF questions to Kwan.

    In light of such silly act from Chee, should we be too surprise that other political parties want to avoid SDP?

    I asked this:

    How many bloggers and well known opinion makers who called for electoral reform sign on to this? How many NGOs and CSOs sign on to this? Is SDP calling them fake, mice, wimp because they do not sign on?

    Why no one want to look hard into the answer of the questions. The truth is out there.

  20. Logicalman said

    I mentioned elsewhere on TOC that SDP should rethink and review her image and style if she wants to be part of a credible opposition. It will do her well to consider this seriously. Many of us who support the opposition will think twice when it comes to SDP. To put it mildly, she subscribes only to her idea of how politics should be played out, which is rather old economy style.

    The majority of the post-65ers and the Gen X/Y/Z are not unschooled; neither did they grow up working/studying only in Singapore. Most are well-exposed to the global culture, do know what’s good and necessary for the country, and do agree that the ruling party’s way of doing things need to go. We grew up with Singapore and we know where she has failed. We are familiar with the wayang-speak from the ruling party, and can tell a genuine servant-leader from one who’s in the game for the power, fame and wealth. BUT, we would rather engage on the same frequency like what many netizens are doing, and slug it out in the ring, not float like a butterfly or dance like a chimpanzee outside it.

  21. Fever Guy said

    to all opp supporters,

    People must understand that no matter how silly Dr Chee is can it be more silly than what is going on in the parliament? Why are we carping over GE2006 again? Have WP themselves free from gomez silly issue too during election? They are fighting fire themselves too. WP and SDP should get their acts together. Dr Chee is silly(his acts are too advanced than what people can accept now, maybe our children will see his acts differently) sometimes but he did not cause WP to lose seats coz WP has no ability to win anymore seats other than hougang and we have bigger clowns in parliament to boot out. Only a united front can save the opposition.

    No time to treat every opposition like enemies, even i dislike Mr Low ‘s management of WP and his weakness in bringing out key points in parliament, i still vote him many times over a Pappies.

  22. commoner said

    Of all opp, I think only J. B. Jeyaretnam is capable of straightening the ruling party. He is always full of steam and courage. Even the old man is afraid of him. Haha! Wonder how he is doing now. The rest is either wayang wayang or not too brainy.

    I thought Mr Low would be a good successor but nowsadays seems to loss steam and brain.

  23. seebeng said

    Why keep harping on how many “bloggers and opinion makers” attended the forum that was meant mainly for opposition parties to come together to demand for change in the electoral system that is in the hands of the ruling PAP?

    The RP was there together with the SDP and some representatives from NGOs and CSOs who really cared about the pathetic state of PAP-controlled electoral process. Why was the WP not there? Is it because the party is satisfied with the electoral system to be free and fair and that it requires no further change?

    If Malaysian opposition parties with diversity of thinking could come together and demand for clean, free and fair elections, what is it that is holding back the WP from sitting with SDP and RP to call for reform in Singapore’s electoral system?

  24. sarek_home said

    Why claims there were bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants but can’t back the claim with details when the question is asked. The devil is in the details. Show us the details.

    Why keep harping on this? To find out the truth about this claim. Name those representatives from NGOs and CSOs. Why no names no details? None were there???

    Ask again:

    Care to name the bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants and panalists? How many of these bloggers and “opinion makers” joined that election reform working group? The devil is in the details. Show us the details.

    I guess the truth is none “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants.

    This may be the good reason why no other political parties and bloggers and “opinion makers” want to get involved with SDP:

    That understanding at the end of the day not to create a three-way contest was the result of WP’s sensible decision in the face of Chee’s silly excuse that SDP need to contest Sembawang to raise NKF questions to Kwan.

    In light of such silly act from Chee, should we be too surprise that other political parties want to avoid SDP?

  25. seebeng said

    Let me repeat, I’m not here holding any brief for SDP.

    The forum is for stakeholders in the PAP electoral process to make sure that the present unsatisfactory conduct of elections by a govt dept is changed to a system that is free and fair. I’m sure there can’t be any quarrel over this noncontentious issue.

    The forum was attended by two opposition parties and two individuals who also spoke as panalists. It was attended by 80-odd people.

    If Tang Liang Hong and Francis Seow had been around, they would certainly have lend their support to such a move to separate the electoral management from the ruling PAP.

    Only those who feel comfortable with the PAP bogus elections would shun any attempt to make the electoral process free and fair.

  26. Poser said

    Of all opp, I think only J. B. Jeyaretnam is the only one NOT capable of straightening the ruling party. He had 30 plus years to prove himself and PAP is still as strong as ever. What did he ‘straighten out’?? Same goes to Chiam See Tong. Low Thia Kiang and Chee Soon Juan, they are still in their prime and their political career is not end yet. I rather bank on the younger opp.

  27. sarek_home said

    Why claims there were bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants but can’t back the claim with details when the question is asked. The devil is in the details. Show us the details.

    Why keep harping on this? To find out the truth about this claim. Name those representatives from NGOs and CSOs. Why no names no details? None were there???

    Ask again:

    Care to name the bloggers and “opinion makers” among the 80-odd participants and panalists? How many of these bloggers and “opinion makers” joined that election reform working group? The devil is in the details. Show us the details.

    We have seen enough silly claims made by PAP that when questioned, they side step the questions and tell us to move on. We are seeing it here again.

    This may be the good reason why no other political parties and bloggers and “opinion makers” want to get involved with SDP:

    That understanding at the end of the day not to create a three-way contest was the result of WP’s sensible decision in the face of Chee’s silly excuse that SDP need to contest Sembawang to raise NKF questions to Kwan.

    In light of such silly act from Chee, should we be too surprise that other political parties want to avoid SDP?

    The saying that Only those who feel comfortable with the PAP bogus elections would shun any attempt to make the electoral process free and fair. is no different from Malcolm X saying

    “The white men pay Martin Luther King, subsidy him so he can continue to teach African Americans to be defenseless, that is the meaning of non-violence…..”

  28. JDread said

    Seebeng said: Finally, who is suffering from an image problem? A party that was ridiculed by posters and fliers during its 50th anniversary dinner or a party that had successfully staged the Tak Boleh Tahan campaign at the same place in Toa Payoh?

    I was told at the WP dinner some Malay boys were tricked into giving flyers and the real culprit did not dare to show his face. The boys were promised some payment which did not manifest. Now why should WP be worried about having such lowdown people as ‘enemies’.

    I respect Chee Soon Juan but you might wanna know that when he spoke at Speakers Corner years back on the Tudung issue, people went up to him to tell him off in his face. If Seebeng thinks WP has an image problem because of some cowardly flyerman, what about Chee whom people did not bother to hide their faces? If Seebeng thinks they are PAP dogs, then what makes him think the guy who hired the Malay boys is not PAP dog?

  29. JDread said

    Seebeng: As far as the GE 2006 was concerned, there was understanding at the end of the day not to create a three-way contest.

    What I remember was SDP insisted to go sembawang after all opposition parties carved the turf. Seem that SDP did not bother to attend the opposition meeting at all. I am not shooting Chee just wanna be fair to WP and SDA too.

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