Nicole Seah, one of the Workers’ Party’s (WP) candidates in the upcoming election, has said that one of the reasons she returned to politics is for the sake of her two-year-old daughter’s future. WP chief Pritam Singh confirmed Ms Seah’s candidacy on Thursday (25 June), two days after the authorities scheduled the next election to take place on 10 July.
The former National Solidarity Party (NSP) member drew intense national popularity when she was fielded as a candidate for Marine Parade GRC in the 2011 General Election.
Ms Seah, who was only 24 years old then, was pitted against the ruling party’s candidate for the ward, Tin Pei Ling who was only a few years older than Ms Seah was. While Ms Tin’s selection as a candidate sparked great backlash since she was perceived as immature, Ms Seah won people’s hearts as she came across as intelligent, well-spoken and personable on the campaign trail.
The young opposition candidate was so popular that the Straits Times referred to her as a “rockstar” while Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong – the anchor politician for Marine Parade GRC – noticed how Ms Seah was front and centre of the opposition’s campaign for the five-seat ward. Ms Seah grew so famous that the NSP was even dubbed the ‘Nicole Seah’ party.
Despite her tremendous popularity, Ms Seah and her team lost Marine Parade GRC to the incumbents with a notable vote share of 43.35 per cent. Mr Goh Chok Tong, Singapore’s immediate-past Prime Minister, said he had expected better results for the ruling party and cited Ms Seah as a factor for the NSP’s good showing at the polls.
Ms Seah resigned from the NSP in 2014. The associate director of a multinational advertising firm began volunteering with the WP in 2015 and became a party member some time ago.
After she was confirmed as being a part of the WP’s slate of candidates in the impending election, Ms Seah explained why she decided to return to politics. She said:
“To be honest, I’m having a very stable career right now. My personal life is in a very good state, and I do recognise that coming back out would also mean increased scrutiny. But I do it for the party because I believe in the leadership and I believe in the vision.
“And I do it for my daughter because she’s the next generation of Singaporeans and I want to leave behind a legacy for her where she would feel comfortable regardless of her political inclinations or the kinds of views she’s expressing.”
Sharing that she chose to join the WP since it does not oppose for for the sake of opposing, she said: “I hope that people who might speak out respectfully and out of concern would not get mobbed or bullied for their differing views.”
Ms Seah added that she observed the 2015 General Election and noticed that the warm welcome the WP received on the ground did not translate into votes. She said: “We need to recognise the urgency and importance of this.
“Every single vote counts. I urge you to keep an open mind and I urge you to vote us in, because otherwise, we could be in the situation where we might have absolutely no opposition parties in Parliament as elected MPs when this election is over.”
Former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Yee Jenn Jong, equity research analyst Louis Chua Kheng Wee, and self-employed Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip were the three other candidates who were confirmed by Mr Pritam on Thursday.
The WP chief added that his party will stand in six wards in the upcoming election: Aljunied GRC, East Coast GRC, Marine Parade GRC, Sengkang GRC, Hougang SMC and Punggol West SMC.