Veteran opposition politician Goh Meng Seng is set contest a Single Member Constituency (SMC) for the first time in his political career that spans over a decade. He will be the only candidate his People’s Power Party (PPP) will be fielding in the upcoming election.
The PPP announced that the decision to field its secretary-general in an SMC was taken given the “overcrowded opposition landscape” and a technicality that prevented one of their members from contesting the election.
The member was unable to return to Singapore from overseas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by the country he is presently in. The Elections Department apparently told him that he cannot use a representative to file nomination papers on his behalf, unlike unwell or quarantined candidates who may use a proxy to file papers.
The PPP had been planning to field this member as a key candidate in the upcoming election. The opposition party was considering contesting a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) led by Mr Goh but their plans were derailed when this key candidate was unable to return to Singapore to stand in the election.
Revealing that it will field Mr Goh as its sole candidate in the impending election, which may be held as soon as next month, the PPP said on Facebook: “We hope that Singaporeans and Voters would give our Secretary General all the support we need to send him into Parliament so that we could strengthen the Parliament as an important institution of Checks and Balances on PAP’s Ministers.”
The party did not reveal which ward Mr Goh will stand in.
Mr Goh had been actively participating and engaging in Singapore politics for a number of years before he was fielded as part of the Workers’ Party (WP) A-team to contest Aljunied GRC in the 2006 General Election. The WP team lost the ward then but garnered an impressive 43.9 per cent vote share.
The WP’s Aljunied GRC team were eligible to appoint a member to take up a Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) position since they finished as one of the top three non-ruling party district performers. The role was taken up by team leader and party chairman Sylvia Lim. Sylvia Lim and a new WP team eventually won Aljunied GRC in the next General Election in 2011 and successfully defended the ward in the 2015 General Election.
Mr Goh, however, left the WP after the 2006 election despite being a member of its Central Executive Committee (CEC) and a member of the WP’s top slate of candidates. He subsequently joined the National Solidarity Party and became its Secretary-General.
Mr Goh contested the 2011 General Election in the five-man Tampines GRC as team leader against the then-Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan and received a 42.78 per cent of the votes. Though his team lost, they improved significantly compared to the Singapore Democratic Alliance team that contested in the same ward and finished with 31.49 per cent of the votes in the 2006 general election.
Following the 2011 election, Mr Goh stepped down as NSP chief and left partisan politics to help ex-NTUC Income CEO Tan Kin Lian in his bid for presidency. Four years later, in May 2015, Mr Goh returned to the political sphere with a new party – the PPP.
The PPP, which was registered months before the 2015 General Election, contested the four-seat Chua Chu Kang GRC and lost to the incumbents, with a vote share of 23.11 per cent.