Leadership Unchanged, for Now
The Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) 19th Ordinary Party Conference held on 31 October saw the party’s main leadership, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), mostly unchanged: Dr. Chee Soon Juan remains Secretary-General, while Prof. Paul Tambyah retains his role as Chairman. Other party members who have been re-elected include Mr Christopher Ang, Mr Damanhuri Abas, Mr Jufri Salim, Mr Bryan Lim, Mr Gerald Sng, Mr John Tan, Mr Matthew Tan, Ms Wong Souk Yee and Mr Francis Yong. The exception is Ms Mansura Sajahan, who has been replaced by Mr Khung Wai Yeen, an SDP member who ran in the 2015 election as an SDP candidate. The SDP has also seen an increase in younger party members, for which Dr. Chee intends to “provide the opportunity for… to rise” and have them “assume leadership roles within the party”.
Earlier on 19 October, the SDP held a pre-election rally at Hong Lim Park, in which 2000 members of the public attended. Prior to that on 28 September, SDP had released a printed manifesto for the upcoming general election detailing alternative policies. Among those are instituting a single universal healthcare plan, scrapping the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) along with school rankings, and nationalising pre-school education.
Preparations have been done in light of the Elections Department declaring the formation of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) on 4 September. The committee is planning to reduce the size of Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) while increasing the quantity of Single-Member Constituencies (SMCs) for the forthcoming election.
Plans to Target Millennial Voters
Prof. Tambyah, during his walkabouts around Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre on 3 November, noted that millennials have concerns that are not being addressed. These include fewer opportunities for younger people, the changing nature of work and the rise in living costs. The SDP also plans to contest five constituencies: Holland-Bukit Timah, Marsiling-Yew Tee, and single-seat wards like Bukit Batok, Yuhua and Bukit Panjang.
With the date of the elections unknown, it is yet to be seen how important of a demographic millennials in Singapore would be.