Singapore—Has the People’s Action Party (PAP) given up on winning at Workers’ Party (WP) stronghold Aljunied GRC? Having seen this year’s lineup from the ruling party, netizens are wondering why a minister was not sent to anchor PAP’s slate. Moreover, others are voicing doubts that the PAP is serious about winning the GRC back from the WP.
On its part, the opposition party brought out its big guns for the Aljunied fight. All five candidates have served in Parliament, with WP’s team headed by secretary-general Pritam Singh, party chairwoman Sylvia Lim, vice-chair Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap, all three of whom are incumbent Aljunied MPs; as well as two Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), Leon Perera (2015-2020) and Gerald Giam (2011-2015).
The WP team faces off against PAP’s candidates Victor Lye, Alex Yeo, Chan Hui Yuh, Chua Eng Leong, and Shamsul Kamar. Messrs Lye, Shamsul and Chua had also contested in Aljunied in 2015.
Mr Lye is an artificial intelligence fintech chief executive, while Mr Yeo is a lawyer. Mr Chua is a bank executive, Mr Shamsul is the executive director of the Centre for Domestic Employees, and Ms Chan is a marketing director.
Netizens seemed puzzled at PAP’s Aljunied line-up. The ruling party traditionally has a minister to anchor a team, and for the Aljunied slate, there is none.
“If the ruling party is serious about winning back this GRC I thought they would have put a minister there as anchor,” commented one netizen.
Many names were suggested as to who could have helmed PAP’s Aljunied team, including National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who had co-chaired the ministerial task force assigned to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in Singapore, and who had been perceived to have done a good job.
Others suggested the Education Minister Ong Ye Kung or Desmond Lee, Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development.
One commenter wrote, “Dpm Heng switch to East Coast grc….coz the last time they nearly lost…
If they wanna take back Aljunied, send in a powerful minister lor”
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat is contesting this year at East Coast GRC, having moved from Tampines.
More than one netizen wrote that Mr Heng should have contested at Aljunied instead.
Others called the PAP team at Aljunied a “suicide squad” to indicate their belief that it has very small chance of winning.
Another netizen wrote pointedly, “Basically, ‘we can’t afford the bad PR of not contesting so lets just put in the C team’.”
Another speculated that PAP is “more afraid” of Progress Singapore Party (PSP) than of WP.