We have been criticised for being confrontational. Again, we do not deny this. But we confront the PAP not with violence but with reason and with the truth. And the truth is that the continued denial of democratic freedoms to Singaporeans is harming our nation.
Resisting immediate gratification
Admittedly, it is easier to keep our heads down and go with the political flow. But times such as these call for leadership – effective and bold leadership.
Effective leadership means being able to look beyond the immediate horizon. As the masses march towards the edge of the cliff, lulled and silenced by the PAP, we must sound the alarm – loudly and persistently. We must alert our fellow citizens of the approaching danger.
Effective and bold leadership also means that we must resist the temptation of immediate gratification. We cannot exclusively focus on contesting the elections and hope to win a seat or two against a system controlled by the PAP, one that Mr Lee Hsien Loong admits to fixing his opponents and buying support.
Without a reform of the electoral process, the opposition will be forever consigned to contesting in unwinnable elections – much like kittens chasing their own tails. We must store up for the future and not indulge in short-term but temporal gains.
Participate or not
But this does not mean that the Singapore Democrats will not take part in the coming elections. We are gearing up to take on the PAP at the ballot box. In fact, we pledge to run a campaign that will make our supporters proud.
But calling for reform also means that the PAP will do whatever it can to destroy our efforts. One obvious way that the PAP can do this is to black out news about the Singapore Democrats. It will report unfair and untrue criticisms of the party and refuse us our right of reply.
This, however, is a signal for the opposition to rise to the challenge, not a deterrent to submit to the repression.
Again, we do not complain. We state it as a matter of fact that this is what we have to fight against. And fight against it we will.
With the advent of the Internet, we have an opportunity to overcome the hurdle of media-control in Singapore. But the reach of the Internet is miniscule compared to the mainstream press. The PAP still has a mountain of an advantage.
We will strive to overcome this obstacle and in so doing continue to provide honest and unyielding leadership. (16 July 2009)