Process of proving to be from a minority group for GE is “discriminatory and divisive”, says SDP chairman Paul Tambyah – The Online Citizen

Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) chairman Dr Paul Tambyah said in a Facebook post on Monday (29 June) that he had to endure another round of humiliation to prove he is “Indian enough” to be part of the upcoming general election (GE).

Dr Tambyah explained that while preparing the nomination papers for next month’s GE, he had to also produce a certificate of the Indian and Other Minorities Communities. This certificate is required to be produced by every group of persons who wish to stand in a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) for Parliamentary election as a minority candidate.

While filling up this form, Dr Tambyah said he was required to also include the languages he spoke, not just languages spoken at home.

“Five years ago, I shared the humiliation that I felt as a national servicemen, a Singaporean son, who had to ‘prove’ that I was ‘Indian enough’ to be a specific part of GE 2015,” the party chairman wrote.

He added, “This year, I had to do the same thing – a similar form but this time I was asked for languages spoken, not just languages spoken at home. I thus added Mandarin (seeing as I did pass AO level oral CL2 twice!) which seems even more perplexing in an application for certification of my “Indian-ness”.”

“I duly received the certification from the chairman of the committee. (I apologise, I cannot make out the signature or find the name on Google).”

As such, Dr Tambyah said the whole process of the GE is “discriminatory and divisive”, urging the votes to change this in the upcoming election by proving that “we are one united people who believe in justice and equality”.

“Even one of PAP candidates appears to have tacitly acknowledged the limitations of a multi-syllabic surname in Singapore. We need to have an honest dialogue on integration in Singapore,” he pointed out.

If that’s not all, Dr Tambyah also said that it is not right for the ruling party to call for an election during a global pandemic. However, this can be addressed in the future if more people from alternative parties enter Parliament to discuss on such issues.

“A snap election in the middle of a pandemic is NOT the best time or place but with a diversity of views in parliament, we will hopefully begin to address these issues soon,” he concluded.