Everything you wanted to know about Singaporeans First
This is the second in a series of articles going through the parties contesting in the General Elections. Our previous article about Reform Party can be found here.
Blur Sotong is on a quest to get to know every political party contesting in the upcoming General Elections. This time he has stumbled on a party with an interesting logo
which resembles Walls Ice Cream!
Insert obligatory Blur Sotong picture.
1. Blur Sotong: Okay, what’s with that logo and party name, and why do I suddenly feel like having ice cream from a certain brand?
The logo represents “(placing) the heart at the centre of whatever (they) do”, while there’s a circle around the heart indicating that they “think with their hearts”.
Red signifies passion and determination to bring about a fair society with strong families. The white background represents transparency and accountability.
As for the party name, Singaporeans First, it does what it says on the tin — the party’s focus is on making Singaporeans the priority of Singapore governance, as it feels that liberal immigration policies and pursuit of economic growth have made Singaporeans disadvantaged in their own country.
They seem to have noticed the similarity of their logo to an ice cream brand, as this tweet shows:
2. Blur Sotong: I don’t think I’ve heard of SingFirst before??
That’s because they’re a relatively new party, only formed in May 2014 and officially registered on 25 August. Former Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) member Tan Jee Say is the founder of SingFirst.
Tan Jee Say has had an interesting past — he was a civil servant for 11 years, before becoming then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong’s principal private secretary from 1985 to 1990. He then went into the finance industry for several years and entered politics in 2011 under SDP, contesting in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. The team garnered 39.9% of the vote.
Following the 2011 election, he resigned from SDP to contest in the presidential election, which Tony Tan eventually won.
He appears to have some beef with his former superior Goh Chok Tong, recently lashing out at him for contesting in the 2015 elections and calling him an “overstayer”, as Mr. Goh is the oldest contestant at 74 years old.
Similar barbs were traded during the 2011 election when Goh claimed that Tan left civil service because Goh thought he “did not make the cut” to be a permanent secretary, a statement later refuted by Tan.
3. Blur Sotong: If Reform Party is a “liberal democratic” party, what is SingFirst?
As quoted on their website:
We are neither left nor right but a party of the centre. Parties on the left believe in having high taxes to finance generous welfare benefits for the people while the right wants low taxes to encourage investment and effort but does not believe in a strong social safety net as they think it will demotivate workers and make them lazy. Singaporeans First takes the best of the left and right namely, a strong social safety net and a low tax regime. We are a centre party.
4. Blur Sotong: Hmmmmmm, okay. Sounds like the best of both worlds, huh? What will they do if elected?
- Remove the Goods & Service Tax (GST)
- Reduce the length of full-time National Service for males
- Encourage companies to hire more Singaporeans instead of foreigners, especially in managerial and executive positions
- Make the economy less dependent on cheap low-skilled foreign labour
- Introduce policies to raise the fertility rate of Singaporeans from 1.2 to “well above 2”
- Provide a strong safety net for Singaporeans, with pension, unemployment insurance, as well as ‘truly affordable’ and universal healthcare insurance
5. Blur Sotong: Where will they be standing in the upcoming general election?
They will be contesting a total of 10 seats. These 10 seats are shared among 2 Group Representation Constituencies (GRC).
They will be contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC and Jurong GRC.
Jurong GRC will be contested by the following:
- To recap, Tan Jee Say, 61, was a SAF scholar-turned-civil servant-turned-secretary-turned-finance manager/director-turned-politician-turned-presidential candidate. Now he’s the leader of a political party.
- Chirag Desai, 38, is a market risk manager and part-time university lecturer. He also volunteers at the Red Cross and the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA).
- Fahmi Rais, 48, is a Trainer as well as a Communication and Media Consultant. Juggling several hats, he is also a performance coach, motivational speaker, author, brand and public relations strategist, broadcast veteran and community leader. Besides a Masters in Mass Communication, he holds a law degree with Honours.
- Wong Chee Wai, 44, is an IT consultant who has worked for HP, Sun Microsystems and Fuji Xerox. He was in the middle of a PhD programme but quit to enter politics instead. In his spare time he tutors children from lower-income families.
- Chiu Weng Hoe Melvyn, 36, is a sales executive with a multinational corporation (MNC). He joined politics as he noticed that government policies were affecting people such as himself (PMETs), and wants to be a voice for this group.
Here’s their Tanjong Pagar team:
- Dr Ang Yong Guan, 60, is the Chairman of SingFirst. He is a psychiatrist and former army colonel, and contested together with Tan Jee Say in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
- Dr Foo Ming Jin David, 51, is a chemist and logistics professional, and a member of the audit committee with the Singapore Catalysis Society and serves as a member of a school advisory board.
- Sukdeu Singh, 64, is a retired police officer who worked in the Singapore Police Force for over 31 years. After his retirement, he had been doing community work in Indonesia from 2000 until 2013, before joining SingFirst in 2014.
- Tan Peng Ann, 67, is also a retired army colonel, active in community work both locally and overseas. His concerns are mainly with shortsighted policies affecting Singaporeans, especially senior citizens.
- Wong Soon Hong, 57, is a chemical sales director. He is also active in community work and has concerns such as rising costs of living, escalating home prices and “the unsettling feeling that things are not quite right in Singapore.”
6. Blur Sotong: The average age of SingFirst candidates seem to be pretty old, huh?
Indeed — the average age for SingFirst candidates is 53. There is also a notable lack of female representation in SingFirst. However, they seem intent on making up for these with ample knowledge and experience of civil service. There are also numerous candidates who are active community workers.
7. Blur Sotong: Where can I follow them online?
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