A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline ‘No tie-up plans for Tanjong Pagar yet’. Link http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/no-tie-up-plans-for-tanjong-pagar-yet
Talk of opposition parties joining forces to contest Tanjong Pagar GRC at the next general election is just that, Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party chief Tan Jee Say said yesterday.
At a morning walkabout in Commonwealth, he said there has been no formal proposal from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which mooted the idea of joining hands with SingFirst to face off against the People’s Action Party (PAP) in Tanjong Pagar GRC, which has been uncontested and was helmed by late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
DPP secretary-general Benjamin Pwee also said that an official offer has not been tabled to SingFirst. “Our position is we want to talk to Jee Say. If everyone in his five-man team is strong, and stronger than ours, then we will pull out. If ours is stronger than theirs, then we hope they will pull out,” he said. But in the event that several members on each team are strong, “then we should combine and put our best candidates forward”, he said. He added that this tag team of sorts can contest under either party’s banner or under a DPP-SingFirst joint ticket.
Mr Tan said he expects these issues to be explored at tonight’s meeting of opposition leaders to discuss who stands where in a bid to contest all seats and avoid three-cornered fights. “I think we are united in one cause. The question is how to go about it. There will always be problems along the way. Even within the same team, the same party, there might be issues too – how to do it? How to position ourselves? Whether the balance is right or not… Of course, the matter is bigger when you have more than one party involved,” Mr Tan said.
Pending a decision on a possible joint team, the DPP disclosed last Saturday that it had two potential candidates for its own team to contest the five-member Tanjong Pagar GRC. They are social enterprise owner Edwin Fernandez, 55, and veteran politician Seow Khee Leng, 75. The identities of the three others will be revealed later, it said. “I think it is a good endeavour to have a joint team, and to collaborate over our resources. Each person has a different focus in mind. Mine is on education. If we join forces, at least our resources and our think-tanks will be stronger,” said Mr Fernandez.