SDP's Dr Chee: I could have attacked PM Lee but I didn't
Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan addresses character issues at rally
Facebook comments by Dr Lee Wei Ling critical of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were raised by Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Dr Chee Soon Juan and party member Dr Paul Tambyah at their second rally last night.
But it was not a potshot.
Instead, Dr Chee took pains to emphasise to the crowd - which filled almost the entire field and stands of Bukit Gombak Stadium - that it would be the first time he ever made any comments on the matter.
Dr Chee used the issue as an example to address Mr Lee's comments about his character.
During a Saturday morning walkabout in Bukit Batok with the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate, Mr Murali Pillai, Mr Lee had criticised Dr Chee for being "hypocritical".
He accused Dr Chee of allowing his fellow party member to make fun of former Bukit Batok MP David Ong's alleged personal indiscretions even though Dr Chee had appealed for people to refrain from making personal attacks.
In response, Dr Chee said his colleague had "cracked a joke" and that these remarks would not be allowed in future.
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SDP speakers such as party member Jaslyn Go, vice-chairman John Tan and SDP's 2015 General Election candidate for Bukit Batok, Mr Sadasivam Veriyah, took turns defending Dr Chee's character last night.
They cited the sacrifices he made by choosing to stay in Singapore despite getting job offers overseas.
Dr Chee explained why he chose not to say anything after Dr Lee Wei Ling made some comments about PM Lee, which were published in a Facebook post last month.
Dr Lee had said that her brother had "no qualms abusing his power" to have a commemoration for Mr Lee Kuan Yew just a year after the elder Mr Lee's death.
Dr Chee said: "I had ample opportunity to attack him on this but I did not.
"And this would have been a very potent attack because it's not your political opponent saying it, it's your own flesh and blood making these statements about you."
In an earlier speech at yesterday's rally, Dr Tambyah echoed Dr Chee's stand, saying: "We could have used Dr Lee's public allegations to expose the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister's statements on character but we will not."
Dr Chee added that if his own sister had made such comments, the PAP would have "gone to town" with it.
"I bring up this incident because I want to show you that even though I had the perfect opportunity, I refrained (from) using Dr Lee Wei Ling's dispute with her brother because it's not the kind of politics I want to engage in.
"And even though I did not attack Mr Lee, he has no hesitation in continuing to disparage me."
Dr Chee 'shocked' at Wanbao story
A Lianhe Wanbao headline, which stated that Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan did not regret his "crazy past", was mentioned several times during the rally yesterday.
Dr Chee explained the circumstances behind the exclusive interview he did with the newspaper, which was published on April 28.
He said he was approached by Wanbao after he complained about an unflattering photo that was published in the paper.
In contrast, the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate, Mr Murali Pillai, was shown smiling.
Dr Chee agreed to the interview at a coffee shop in Bukit Batok, but was shocked by the newspaper's headline later that evening.
He said in Mandarin: "I asked them how they could do this, put in something that I didn't say and let the PAP use this to attack me?"
Dr Chee also clarified that what he had said in the interview was that he was proud of his struggles.
Minister of Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had referenced the Wanbao article in their critiques of Dr Chee.
Mr Lee had said: "(Dr Chee) says he is not sorry for anything he did; he's proud of his record, he's proud of his crazy history, and yet when he comes today, he presents himself as a changed man."
Mr Ting Kheng Siong, associate news editor of Lianhe Wanbao, yesterday said the headline of the online version of the article has been changed "to reflect the story clearer".
He added that the paper did not apologise for the article and that the rest of the article remained unchanged.
The article was also slammed by several speakers, including SDP member Jaslyn Go and president of the SDP youth wing Bryan Lim.