Friday, May 6, 2016

A cliffhanger Bukit Batok by-election

The last nine days have witnessed a very vigorous campaign by the PAP candidate Murali Pillai and SDP candidate Dr. Chee Soon Juan for votes of the Bukit Batok electorate. There had been daily meetings with the residents and PAP election rallies and SDP rallies. Both candidates worked very hard to capture the minds of the voters with their respective programmes and it looks like the BB voters are spoilt for choice in trying to decide which candidate to vote for.

PAP candidate Murali Pillai had been very meticulous in enumerating the benefits that he and his PAP colleagues from the Town Council and constituency have brought to the residents of Bukit Batok for the elderly, the children and healthcare especially for the elderly. In addition, he had the services of PAP big guns like PM Lee Hsien Loong and DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam to appeal to the voters to vote in his favour. His sixteen years of voluntary service to the constituency could also be a factor in his favour. Therefore, Mr. Murali sees himself as a candidate that deserves the support of the electorate.

SDP candidate Dr. Chee Soon Juan on the other hand is a more dramatic and flamboyant individual who shows great intent that he is a more favourable candidate with his diligence and acumen in fending off accusations of character flaws and management disabilities from his PAP opponents and giving a optimistic account of what he could do, if elected, to bring enhancements to the welfare and livelihood of Bukit Batok residents. He has assembled a transit team to take over the Town Council and to make it more efficient and resident-friendly that it will surpass the performance of PAP Town Councils. Most important he has pledged to work full time in the constituency as its MP to which Mr. Murali has no answer. Another important factor is that he will act as a potent alternative voice in Parliament. At times Dr. Chee had appeared to have gone over the top in his eagerness to expose the so-called 
 political flaws of the PAP Government which could not have been to his credit. SDP rallies had been better attended but, from past experiences, this is not an indication of better vote gathering. 

The polling starts today and judging from the vigorousness and competency of the respective campaign, the chances of the respective candidates appear to be equal with neither side appearing to have an overwhelming advantage. For Dr. Chee to romp home in this contest, he will need divine help to tilt the balance in his favour, for example a 50.01 per cent win. There is a Chinese saying: Heaven will not forsake a person with great pains taken in a plan (皇天不负苦心人). Whether this applies to Dr. Chee's case, only the election result will tell.