Singapore—However which way one looks at it, the Workers’s Party (WP) is facing a tough battle at the East Coast GRC, with its slate going head to head against ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), whose team is led by Deputy Prime Minister (and presumptive Prime Minister) Heng Swee Keat.
Mr Heng, who made the move from Tampines GRC, where he served as MP, is joined by Dr Maliki Osman (Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Tan Kiat How (former CEO of the Info-communications Media Development Authority), Cheryl Chan (MP for Fengshan Single Member Constituency), and Jessica Tan (incumbent MP for East Coast GRC.
On the other hand, the WP team that PAP is up against is made up of four people who had contested in the past elections, plus a newcomer to the political arena. Nicole Seah, Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, who contested in the 2015 General Election in Nee Soon GRC; Dylan Ng and Terence Tan, who both contested in the 2015 General Election in Marine Parade GRC; and newcomer Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, who works in engineering, completing WP’s East Coast slate.
The most prominent among the WP slate is Nicole Seah, who had contested in the 2011 General Election in Marine Parade GRC under the National Solidarity Party. Ms Seah, who had only been 24 in 2011, gained enormous popularity for her intelligence and speaking ability, to the point of being dubbed as a “rockstar” by The Straits Times. Her party, the NSP, was sometimes even known as the Nicole Seah Party.
Her team lost to the incumbents that year, but gained a respectable 43.35 percent vote share, which many, including Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who had anchored PAP’s Marine Parade slate for many years, credited to her.
Ms Seah resigned from NSP in 201, and then started volunteering with the WP the following year, becoming a member afterward.
At least Ms Seah, who after all had faced off against ESM and former Prime Minister Goh in 2011, is not a first-timer in going head to head with such a high profile figure as DPM Heng.
In her speech on Nomination Day (June 30), Ms Seah said, “I believe that it is important to see a fair and transparent discussion on the issues that matter. I hope that people who might speak up respectfully and out of concern will not get mocked or bullied for their differing views.
As Singapore continues to develop, I also believe that if we want to be a truly progressive society where different views can co-exist in harmony and with respect, then we need to ensure that the respect is being shown in the highest office in our land. How our leaders behave will also signal to the public what kinds of behavior and debate are acceptable. We need to move towards debating in the spirit of the argument instead of resorting to character assassination, astroturfing, and gutter politics.”
Ms Seah has received much support on the WP Facebook page.
Many lauded her for her speech.