ST Article : No tie-up plans for Tanjong Pagar yet

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

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.

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3 replies »

  1. seow khee leng good meh? A mediocre leader of an insignificant party n now so old some more. Please lah , he is no heavyweight .

  2. As a resident of Tanjong Pagar, here’s some feedback on the concerns we have. As mundane as they sound, they are affecting decisions in voting opposition. Goto an opposition ward, say Sengkang Eastway and you will find that the cleanliness there are a sad state of affairs. Rubbish piled up are left unclean and feedback given are not responded to. How can you assure that you are able to manage the town council if we vote you in? In speeches, can you address issues on the local level as well as on the national level? The top 3 concerns of Singaporeans, are jobs/ job security, healthcare and housing. That is on the national level.

    On the local level, the concerns are cleanliness, conservancy charges and contingency measures to cope on the mass exodus of staff from the town council once the opposition takes over. That has always been the modus operandi of the PAP and we don’t expect how it will be any different this time. Has Singfirst taken any lessons from the saga Worker’s party had to endure over the very recent months? Will Singfirst proactively come up with counter measures to PAP foreseeable attacks so Singaporean Residents there will not bear the brunt of voting them? These are the things SingFirst have to address. As an opposition party, yours will be an uphill task. You will have to fight for change on a national level while fend off attacks on credibility on the grassroots level. Also, go easy on attacking LKY. The man is dead and the recent PR campaign granted him alot of good publicity. You do not want backlash. SingFirst must have the tack to spin it right.

    The recent move by PAP’s Lui Tuck Yew has also removed heat on the hot button issues on the poor handling of the public transport issues. The move made it like PAP has somewhat taken their responsibility on the MRT breakdowns. But that can be exploited to say how impotent LTA is in being unable to get SMRT to do more on maintenance. And how competent the CEO of SMRT is in addressing issues? Make a mockery of “meritocracy” in how SMRT under Temasek is run. And ask them on When, make them give deadlines, on WHEN will the breakdown stop?

    Next, rally the unemployed. There are many PMETs in their 40s and above that are unemployed. The government has recently introduce an incentive to subsidize their hires but that will only happen in October. Is that enough? Can more be done for middle PMETs? Rally the underemployed and Singaporean contract workers. Do you know that Singaporean contract workers can get their pay delayed or even don’t get paid at all and the employers can get away with it? The MOM does not care for Singaporean contract workers! I quote this from a Miss “Lenny” a representative from MOM when I called the MOM to ask about my pay delay and she said that the MOM does not have the responsibility to care about Singaporean Contract workers. There are also other issues. Like housing prices and how it affects retirement. Like job security. How if one is fired, the whole family will fall into disarray. The list goes on and on.

    On ground issues that involves the town council and it’s day to day operations Singfirst must not be blindsided since they have WP’s experience. Address the issues. Fight a good fight. Be pre-emptive and be pro-active. I wish you all the best for the upcoming elections.

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