Stung by attacks Chee Soon Juan turns focus on PAP record on race, hypocrisy and character

Chee accuses PM Lee and the People's Action Party of engaging in "gutter politics" contrary to their pre-election promise.

The bye-election campaign in Bukit Batok has taken on a rare twist with issues such as race, hypocrisy and character being raised often.

SDP candidate Chee Soon Juan came down heavily on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a PAP aattak on his character and employment status.

Chee accused Lee and the People's Action Party of engaging in "gutter politics" contrary to their pre-election promise not to criticize candidates on the personal front.

Turning the charges of hypocrisy and lack of character to represent Bukit Batok on the ruling establishment, Chee said the very truisms PAP leaders preach are not practised by them.

"They don't tell you how they can be better than opponents, they tell you how bad the opposition is by running smear campaigns so that you will vote for the PAP by default ... They don't consider their own hypocrisy..." Chee said.

Chee, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) leader who is taking on PAP's Murali Pillai in a tight race in Bukit Batok, was angered after the PAP turned the limelight on his employment status to argue that he is not fit to represent the constituency.

Prime Minister Lee had also brought to the table the issue of 'character", suggesting that Chee lacked the qualities to be a member of Parliament.

Commenting on Chee's promise to be a full time MP for Bukit Batok the PM had raked up the fact that Chee did not have a regular job.

"I mean, it's easy to say but what do you bring which you would be able to contribute and show you can do for the voters ... It's partly your record, it's partly your ability but it is also your character," the PM said.

The prime minister had also raised the issue of race being used by Chee and his campaign team. The PM said campaign materials with racial overtones had been uploaded on Chee's website.

However, Chee challenged the ruling party to show an instance of race being used as a campaign issue and said the PA elders, in fact, have often used the race plank.

He also cited the example of PAP lawmaker Denise Phua's recent comments about foreign workers that denigrated certain races.

Stung by the attacks the PAP launched at him as it tries to defend the Bukit Batok seat, which it had won in a landslide in the last election, Chee also turned the focus on the allegations raised against the prime minister by his own sister.

Chee said he hadn't raised this issue up unit the moment when the PAP took aim at him on a personal front.

"I had ample opportunity to attack on this but I did not. And it would have been a very potent attack, because this is not your political opponent saying it, it is your own flesh and blood," Chee said.