Despite losing the Bukit Batok by-election, there was no question Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan was the far happier man on Saturday (7 May). The political veteran won 38.8% of the vote while People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Murali Pillai got 61.2%.
On paper, it seems a clear win for the PAP except the fact that during the 2015 General Election, SDP candidate Sadasivam Veriyah garnered only 26% of the vote. This meant that there was a swing of over 10% is just 8 months! Not only that, the PAP did a full-court press on Dr. Chee. All the PAP bigwigs from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong down went to town on Dr. Chee. So much so that at one point of the campaign, Dr. Chee half-joked that he wondered who his opponent was. He even mocked Mr. Murali, asking journalists if any of them want to ask him questions on anything on what Mr. Murali had said.
In the end, not only did he survive, he even thrived under the attacks of the PAP. No wonder the SDP looks like winners on Saturday. Considering what they were up against, they did better than they had any right to.