Everything is falling in place for Dr Chee Soon Juan. But will he deliver?
Seems like the stars have aligned for Dr Chee Soon Juan to do well in the upcoming Bukit Batok by-elections.
There’s a whole slate of factors working in Dr Chee’s favour
Straight fight contest (One v One)
It is likely to be a straight fight between SDP and PAP, now that NSP announced that they wouldn’t contest. (In comparison, the Punggol East by-election saw a four-cornered fight.)
PAP screwed up (literally)
The by-election comes on the back of David Ong’s resignation, and some residents might decide to punish the PAP after David Ong screwed around.
People have nothing to lose
Swing voters might moderate their votes this time round to keep PAP on its toes, especially when PAP had done unexpectedly well (69.9%) the last GE. Voters also vote knowing that the PAP remains the government at the end of the day. (More commonly known as the “by-election” effect)
No More SG50. No more Ah Gong
The feel-good atmosphere present during the last GE has waned (no more SG50 goodies and no more LKY effect). The current economic outlook remains bleak.
Murali is very very shy
Dr Chee’s opponent, Murali Pillai, is quite media shy and low profile. Definitely much lower profile than Dr Chee who is an opposition heavyweight.
History favours CSJ
Historically, By Elections are tricky business and favours the opposition. The late JBJ won 51.9% of the vote in the 1981 Anson by-election when the opposition had earlier only won 15.9% of the votes in Anson during the 1980 GE.
That’s a swing of 36% against PAP!!
More recently, WP managed to improve their share of their vote in the 2013 Punggol East by-election by 13.5 percentage points.
Election result for Bukit Batok during #Ge2015
|PAP (Winner)||David Ong Kim Huat||73|
|IND||Samir Salim Neji||0.6|
While it might still be tough for Dr Chee to win (he has to overcome a 24 percentage point deficit from last year’s GE), IT IS NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK
Even if Dr Chee fails to win, he should be able to do well in this by-election due to the reasons cited earlier.
Truth be told, SDP should easily win at least approximately 40% of the vote this time round (if not really very xia suay).
Failing which, Dr Chee and the SDP should start rethinking their future.
After all, Dr Chee has been leading SDP for 23 years since 1993 (when Mr Chiam See Tong was ousted). Yet he has little to show for.
SDP had three MPs in parliament when Chee first took over, but this became zero in the 1997 GE. (And they still don’t look capable of an electoral break-through after all these years.)
(In comparison, Mr Low Thia Khiang has been WP’s secretary-general for 15 years since 2001. Look how he transformed WP. And Pinky Lee has been PAP’s secretary-general for 12 years since 2004.)
I am quite optimistic that Dr Chee will get at least 40% of the votes in this by-election since everything is falling in place for him this time round. The odds are really in his favour.
Otherwise I think that it is perhaps time for another secretary-general to chart SDP’s future should Dr Chee fail to get 40%?
In other democratic countries, party leaders will resign if their party does very badly in elections, since it is clear that the voters have rejected their leadership.
This is something for SDP members to think about if they want SDP to reach new heights in the near future.