Bukit Batok By-Elections

What? When? Huh? Murali Pillai? Chee Soon Juan?? A couple of you may be asking what’s all the hype with Bukit Batok and all.

Well folks, its the By-Elections fever again…. and this time it’s gonna take place at Bukit Batok!

Bukit Batok MP David Ong
Mr David Ong(PAP)

We¬† may be wondering why is there a By-Election, wasn’t there a Minister of Parliament(MP) there already? Yes, you’re right, there WAS, the previous MP, Mr David Ong, tendered his resignation to leave the party due to personal reasons and we have the inside scoop of what really happened! Read more about MP David Ong’s extramarital affair with a fellow PAP grassroots member.

Singapore’s constitution states that a By-Election will only be held if it meets the following criteria:-

  1. Expulsion of a sitting minister by his party representing the constituency
  2. Resignation of a sitting minister representing the constituency
  3. Death of a sitting minister representing the constituency

Mr David Ong had been serving Bukit Batok under the Jurong Group Representation Constituency(GRC) since 2011. It was on the 12th of March did Mr David Ong announced his decision to resign.

It has now started a flurry of backlash from both residents and non-residents alike with some showing support of their Minister, and others, stating that it was not Ministerial to behave as such(which got me thinking, aren’t we all creatures of lust after all??) .

Mr David Ong had campaigned well throughout his tenure at Bukit Batok and he was widely recognized, and accepted by a majority of the residents there. The poll results when he campaigned under the PAP banner showed proof of it when he championed the party to a phenomenal feat of 73% compared to the only opposition party that contested, Singapore Democratic Party, led by Sadasivam Veriyah, who only garnered only 26.4%. of the valid votes. (Editors note: Source of polls were pulled from the Straights Times)

Murali Pillai and Chee Soon Juan
Left:Mr Murali Pillai(PAP)
Right: Dr Chee Soon Juan(SDP)

Moving forward to present day 2016, the aftermath of the incident has pitted the People’s Action Party(PAP) to defend it’s seat against the same opposition party it fought against in the last General Elections. The only difference is that we see two different faces now; PAP’s representative will be Mr Murali Pillai and Dr Chee Soon Juan would be SDP’s.

In a nutshell, Mr Murali Pillai had previously been fielded by the Governing party to campaign as part of the “suicide-squad” to overthrow the defending seats controlled by the Workers Party in Aljunied. He’s being handpicked by the PAP to field in this campaign.

Dr Chee Soon Juan, has been around for a long time. Ever since we were running around in Primary school I’d beckon. He has had unsatisfying results in Politics and has never made it to Parliament. Word has it that he usurped the Party’s Leadership from Mr Chiam See Tong, who long held the opposition ward in Potong Pasir.


Faceoff between two party “heavy-weights

People's Action Party logo
People’s Action Party Logo
SDP Logo
Singapore Democratic Party Logo

Both men are considered to be heavyweights in their respective parties, its a fight between a veteran lawyer and a seasoned politician. The WeThinkLife team has came up with a few factors into consideration to compare between these two men:-

  1. Experience in Politics
  2. Does he/she does the right things at the appropriate time?
  3. Leadership style
  4. Must the Minister-Elect be a fox or a lion?
  5. Civil Disobedience a part of leadership qualities?

Team PAPMr Murali Pillai

  1. Experience in Politics
    • He has been active in Politics since 2001, when he joined the Party.
  2. Does he do the right things at the appropriate time?
    • We know that Mr Murali served as a Senior Officer in the Singapore Police Force briefly for four years before being called to the bar in 1996. From this we knew that he had his sights set on law, and him doing Policing work would have served him some purpose in his future. Good foresight we’d agree.
  3. Leadership style
    • He is the head of Commercial Litigation with a law firm and manages over 100 over lawyers reporting to him.
  4. Must the Minister-Elect be a fox or a lion?
    • We’ll never know this part about Mr Murali due to the fact that he has had a clean sheet thus far. Besides, he has had regimental qualities drilled in him from his stint in the force, and if he was called to the bar within his four years of service with the Police, it would be assumed that he had broke his bond to make a jump to the legal profession.
  5. Civil Disobedience a part of leadership qualities?
    • Has had no run-ins with the law, but here’s an interesting fact. His father, P.K Pillai was a unionist which was strongly against the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s government policies.


Team SDPDr Chee Soon Juan

  • Experience in Politics
    • He has been active in Politics ever since 1992, when he was recruited by the then-Secretary General of SDP, Mr Chiam See Tong.
  • Does he/she does the right things at the appropriate time?
    • Oh boy. We do know that Dr Chee has the knack for doing this at the most appropriate time. He is by far the most vocal opposition Politician we’ve seen in decades. His long list of receiving defamation suits can attest to that.
  • Leadership style
    • Is questionable. We can only deduce what sort of leadership style he has; he managed to get Mr Chiam See Tong to relinquish his seat as the Secretary-General of his own Party. Poor old man.
  • Must the Minister-Elect be a fox or a lion?
    • Dr Chee has had many run-ins with authority and the state. One example was cited above, when he outwitted Mr Chiam to become the Sec-Gen of SDP, and now he himself in running for Bukit Batok’s seat, where to us, it should be the previous SDP member, Mr Sadasivam Veriyah who should resume campaigning. Do you think introducing a new face to the residents would be a good card move?
  • Civil Disobedience a part of leadership qualities?
    • Dr Chee was jailed before as being unable to pay for the defamation suits filed against him, and he has protested in the speaker’s corner and also outside the Istana without a valid permit. Some of us may say that it would be good to have a check and balance in parliament, but do we really want a sort of leader who has shown signs of civil disobedience previously? We’d think not.


What is your take on the two Politicians? Which one would you support and why? Whatever it is, the choice that is made on the 7th of May falls on Bukit Batok residents that will mold Singapore’s future. Now that analogizes that a butterfly does have its effects!

Cheerios People!








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