Singapore—It was reported in straitstimes.com (ST) last Friday (Jan 3) that four parties had united in forming an opposition alliance, the Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), Reform Party (RP), People’s Power Party (PPP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which would be led by Tan Jee Say, the secretary-general of SingFirst.
The report also said that the new alliance intended on fielding around 30 candidates for the upcoming General Election.
Mr Tan wrote on his Facebook account the following day that ST had not reached out to him for a comment on the alliance, but that the potential alliance had already been proposed to opposition leader, Dr Tan Cheng Bock of Progress Singapore Party (PSP), after a meeting on November 2 of last year, which had been called by Dr Tan.
He added that at that point the alliance was still at the idea stage, with no formal leader yet, although he clarified that he was the one who approached other parties to propose joining the alliance.
Mr Tan also wrote that the number of candidates to be fielded by the alliance had not been finalised, but “The 4 initial parties in this proposed alliance contested in 6 GRCs and 1 SMC in the last GE.”
By the following day, January 5, TODAY Online reported that the alliance had been confirmed, and were collaborating on the number of candidates to field in the next GE.
Mr Tan told Today that the alliance was looking forward “to Tan Cheng Bock agreeing to lead the alliance,” and that it was planning to apply for approval for the Registry of Societies within the month, which they hoped would be given in March.
Mr Tan, who once served as principal private secretary to former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and who unsuccessfully contested in the 2011 general election under the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), said that the alliance is open to other opposition parties.
“Other parties can join us anytime. We believe one united front is what the voters want to see instead of too many different parties contesting for opposition votes.”
The alliance has expressed a desire for Dr Tan to emerge as its leader, Mr Tan enjoys support among his fellow opposition leaders, with Hamim Aliyas, the secretary-general of DPP quoted by TODAY as saying that he “will be a good leader.”
However, the four parties that make up the alliance still wish for all opposition parties to come together, including the Workers’ Party, pointed out Goh Meng Seng, the secretary-general of the PPP.
He underlined that all parties are welcome to the table to discuss differences. “It is not about the number of parties that we have. It is about the confusing messaging where we have different parties and policy views. It would be quite confusing to the voters what to actually vote for.”
TODAY added that Singapore People’s Party (SPP) has so far been the only group to turn down the bid from the alliance to come together.
According to Mr Goh, if Dr Tan declines to join the alliance, what will happen is that a council of leaders will be formed to co-lead it, including Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the RP secretary-general, Mr Tan and himself.
He told TODAY, “Unfortunately, we cannot wait forever because the general election is taking off soon.” -/TISG