Character is something that has to be demonstrated and earned, not just talked about, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan said yesterday.
This follows a weekend where the issue of character has dominated exchanges between the SDP and the People's Action Party (PAP).
Speaking to reporters after a cycling outreach event in Bukit Batok, where he is facing PAP's Murali Pillai in the May 7 by-election, Dr Chee said he agreed that the character of a candidate is something voters are concerned with.
But voters can discern this for themselves, he added.
"If you want to talk about character, then show yourself to have character," he said.
"When there is character, you don't have to go and tell other people 'that guy has poor character'. Ironically, it reflects on that person."
Dr Chee's remarks came after Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, a member of the PAP's central executive committee, hit out at the SDP's argument that the character of election candidates should be off-limits.
The PAP did not hold a rally on Sunday but SDP did, and Dr Chee called on PAP to "stop the gutter politics" and focus on policy issues.
Dr Chee added that there is no need to "run down" a person or talk bad about him behind his back.
"Character is when you show other people what you can do for them, not how badly you talk about them," he said.
"I keep saying, let's not get into this thing where you show everybody how holy you are, how unblemished you are. People see this in you, (so) be humble."
The SDP will also hold a rally tonight.
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