Singapore—Speaking for the first time since the announcement of the changes to the electoral boundaries for the next General Election, Worker’s Party (WP) Secretary-General Pritam Singh told members of the press that it is “quite uncanny” that the Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) where the WP fielded candidates in the most recent election have been removed.
On Monday (Mar 16), at a Meet-the-People session on Bedok Reservoir Road, Mr Pritam said, “I think it’s quite uncanny that SMCs which the WP contested are sort of removed even after just one election, which is quite curious.”
The WP head added, “We are price-takers, not price-setters.”
The SMCs in question are Fengshan, Sengkang West and Punggol East, which are now part of Group Representation Constituencies (GRC).
After the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) released its report on Friday (Mar 13), the WP issued a statement pointing out that the Committee had “not explained why it chose to carve out some new SMCs while dissolving Sengkang West, Fengshan and Punggol East SMCs, areas where WP has been active for many years.”
This is also echoed in the WP statement, which ended with, “There is finally clarity. The WP will decide on the areas where it can best serve Singaporeans, and make its announcement when the elections are called.”
Candidates were fielded by the WP in five GRCs- Aljunied, East Coast, Jalan Besar, Nee Soon and Marine Parade in the last GE in 2015.
When asked if the WP would need to field more candidates in GRCs rather than SMC based on its experience in 2015, Mr Pritam said that it was too early to tell, adding, “I think we have to take it one step at a time.”
He did not also say whether or not the same candidates would contest again in Aljunied GRC, but simply replied ”Let’s see what happens during nomination,” when asked.
The WP head said that the party’s is keeping on with its house visits despite the coronavirus outbreak, while maintaining precautions in doing so, “You still have to canvas for support, you still have to ask residents how they are doing. There is some risk, but I think we take all precautions,” he told the press.
But straitstimes.com reports that the party has pared down its activities and will make changes to its campaign strategies for the upcoming GE in order to guard public health.
It is temporarily halting the sale of its newsletter, Hammer, on Saturdays, which was usually done during walkabouts.
Mr Pritam said, “I think that we would rather err on the side of caution at the moment.
But let’s wait until we have more announcements from the Elections Department as to how the campaign will be conducted.”
Regarding scheduling the next election, the WP has asked the Government to “take caution and exercise judiciousness in calling for a GE. Whatever decision that is made must be one that is in the best interests of Singapore, our democracy and the public health of Singaporeans.” —/TISG