Singapore — The country saw a different sort of Nomination Day for this year’s General Election, marked by the absence of the usual droves of supporters because of safe distancing measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
For the opposition Workers’ Party (WP), this year’s elections are a test of whether or not it will be able to hold on to the parliamentary seats it won in 2015, with WP Secretary-General Pritam Singh warning a few days ago that there could be a “wipeout” of the opposition if the People’s Action Party (PAP) wins in all constituencies.
The WP is defending its bailiwick, Aljunied GRC, which was the party’s historic win in the 2011 GE. It was the first GRC won by an opposition party since GRCs were introduced in 1988. In 2015, WP won again by the smallest of margins, just a shade over 50 per cent of the vote.
The party has, naturally, brought out its A-team in Aljunied. For the five seats at stake, the WP slate includes Mr Singh, party Chairman Sylvia Lim, incumbent Muhamad Faisal bin Abdul Manap, and two Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), Leon Perera (2015-2020) and Gerald Giam (2011-2015).
The WP faces off against the PAP’s Victor Lye, Alex Yeo, Chan Hui Yuh, Chua Eng Leong and Shamsul Kamar.
Over at the newly-created Sengkang GRC, another race that everyone is looking at closely, the WP team will be lead by lawyer He Ting Ru. The team is also composed of economist Jamus Lim, equity research analyst Louis Chua and social activist Raeesah Khan.
The PAP team for Sengkang is made up of labour chief Ng Chee Meng, who will anchor the party’s slate in this new GRC. He will be joined by Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, as well as newbie Raymond Lye, a lawyer.
East Coast GRC
Perhaps the WP’s toughest challenge is winning in East Coast GRC, as it faces off against Deputy Prime Minister (and presumptive Prime Minister) Heng Swee Keat. Mr Heng made the move from Tampines GRC, where he served as MP. He is joined by Dr Maliki Osman, Tan Kiat How, Cheryl Chan and Jessica Tan.
The WP is fielding Nicole Seah, who contested in the 2011 General Election in Marine Parade GRC under the National Solidarity Party; Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, who contested in the 2015 General Election in Nee Soon GRC; Dylan Ng and Terence Tan, who both contested in the 2015 General Election in Marine Parade GRC; and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.
Marine Parade GRC
For seats in the Marine Parade GRC, the WP team is headed by former NCMP Yee Jenn Jong. He is joined by Ron Tan, and newcomers lawyer Muhammad Fadli Mohammed Fawzi, IT professional Nathaniel Koh and business owner Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip.
The PAP line-up is considerably different this year, due to the absence of Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who has resigned from politics. This year, the party’s team is anchored by Parliament Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin, who will be joined by newcomers Mohd Fahmi Aliman and Tan See Leng, as well as incumbents Edwin Tong and Seah Kian Peng.
The Hougang Single-Member Constituency is also a WP stronghold. Hougang has been held by the WP since 1991, with former WP chief Low Thia Khiang holding the seat for many years, followed by Yaw Shin Leong and Png Eng Huat.
This year, the WP is fielding former NCMP Dennis Tan, who contested in the 2015 GE in Fengshan SMC and served as an NCMP. Running against him is the PAP’s Lee Hong Chuang.
Punggol West SMC
The WP is fielding a new candidate in Punggol West SMC, Tan Chen Chen, who is an associate contract administrator for energy and chemical projects. She will be facing the PAP’s Sun Xueling, who is the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development since 2018 and has been the MP for Punggol West since 2015. /TISG