Dear readers,

It’s me, the Bukit Batok resident again. In case you missed my earlier posts, I wrote about SDP’s response to Budget 2016 and about SDP’s social programmes.

Today, I would like to talk about the pros and cons of voting for either Chee or Murali.

I will evaluate the candidate according to four aspects:

  • Character

Now, PAP is trying to show that Murali is a better candidate because he is someone who is sincere, honest and hardworking. Basically a man of good character.

On the other hand, many are trying to paint Dr Chee as someone of poor integrity, given his past record (being sacked from NUS, ousting Mr Chiam See Tong from SDP, heckling Mr Goh Chok Tong, and getting jailed.)

To me, character isn’t all that important. I mean sure, the person has to at least be a decent human being, which I’m sure both Dr Chee and Murali are.

But to expect moral perfection from politicians is naïve thinking. Everyone has their flaws, and politicians are well, politicians. Murali may present a clean front, but we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. Your hands can never be clean once you enter the realm of politics. And it shouldn’t matter that much as long as it doesn’t affect their ability to discharge their duties as an MP.

Verdict: Inconsequential

  • Level of Commitment

On paper, this seems quite clear cut. Dr Chee said that he will be a full-time MP for Bukit Batok and run the town council full-time, whereas Murali can’t possibly devote as much time since he is a top notch lawyer at power law firm Rajah & Tann.

However, it must also be noted that Murali has spent more time in Bukit Batok as a grassroots volunteer over the years. On the other hand, Dr Chee has moved from constituency to constituency.

In any case, I think whether an MP is full-time or not is not diagnostic of a MP’s ability to run his constituency well. A good MP who has a full-time job can very well manage his time – I think PM Lee’s and DPM Tharman’s wards are not slums despite their busy daily schedules. Whereas a bad full-time MP can make a mess in his constituency.

At the moment, it is difficult to tell how this will play out if Dr Chee or Murali gets elected.

Verdict: Can’t really tell

  • Estate/Town Council management

This one is clear. Murali brings with him the entire Jurong team that has a stellar track record when it comes to running town councils. The ruling party also has much more experience in running estates and upgrading projects.

Dr Chee has raised some good proposals in his proposed plans for Bukit Batok. But ultimately his team is inexperienced, and the proposals are not so different from the ones already in place. I think most Bukit Batok residents wouldn’t want to take the risk on this one.

Verdict: Murali, hands down

  • Voice in Parliament

Murali is likely to toe the party line, and will probably be one of the many generic MPs in the PAP dominated parliament. He is unlikely to raise anything radical or controversial (look at him, so gentle, he is incapable of that). So if you vote him in, it means that you’re generally happy with the status quo at the national level.

If you’re generally unhappy with the status quo, then Dr Chee is your guy. After all, he has a proven track record of speaking up against the government. Fearless, that’s what people use to describe Dr Chee. And if you feel that the WP has been complacent and silent on certain issues you want to see debated in parliament, you can count on Dr Chee.

However, if you’re generally unhappy with the government, but don’t want radical changes – only want a light slap to remind the driver to wake up, then Dr Chee probably won’t be a good choice given his more confrontational and aggressive stance. Better off spoiling your vote to show your dissatisfaction with both PAP and SDP in that case.

Verdict: Chee or Murali or spoil your vote, depending on your political leanings.