People’s Action Party (PAP) parliamentarian for the Ayer Rajah division of West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC), Foo Mee Har, seems to be feeling the heat after Dr Tan Cheng Bock announced that many have stepped forward to serve in his new opposition party, the Progress Singapore Party.
Dr Tan entered the political arena in the 1980 general election under the PAP’s banner, and became the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Ayer Rajah Single Member Constituency (SMC).
He won his first election with a vote of 83 per cent and came to be perceived as one of the best-performing candidates in Singapore over the next two decades, maintaining an average vote share of 77 per cent in subsequent elections. Dr Tan achieved his best score in the 2001 General Election, with a vote of 88 per cent.
The 2001 General Election was the last election Dr Tan contested in as a PAP candidate. It was also the last election in which Ayer Rajah was an SMC. Dr Tan left politics ahead of the 2006 general election, while his constituency was redrawn to the nearby West Coast GRC.
The Ayer Rajah division was held by S Iswaran until 2011, when Foo Mee Har began to represent the area.
On Monday (1 July), Dr Tan shared on Facebook that his party has received a good response from potential candidates. Revealing that many have stepped forward to serve in his new party, Dr Tan urged interested applicants to contact the party.
Sharing photos from the membership meet ups he has been organising, Dr Tan wrote: “Over the last 2 weekends, I had the wonderful privilege of hosting the Progress Singapore Party’s membership meet ups. We had a good response and I am encouraged that so many Singaporeans have courageously stepped forward to serve.”
Dr Tan’s post was published at 7.55am. Hours later, at 7pm, Foo Mee Har shared photos from a “Friends of PAP” gathering at Ayer Rajah she had hosted and thanked the attendees for their support. The event was about the friends of PAP “strengthening” their support for MP Foo Mee Har:
Some have speculated that the PAP MP’s post could be indicative of the heat she feels from veteran politician Dr Tan’s outreach efforts and his party’s progress, in preparation for the next General Election.
It is widely expected that Dr Tan will lead a team to contest West Coast GRC, although he has yet to reveal his plans for the next election.
MP Foo may not be the only one anxious to face Dr Tan at the polls. Three PAP MPs “bumped into” Dr Tan at coffeeshops in different wards, in the span of two weeks after he announced his intention to contest the next election:
On 18 Jan, Dr Tan announced that he has applied to register a new opposition party with fellow ex-PAP cadres, called the Progress Singapore Party. A day after announcing his return to politics, Dr Tan visited Chong Pang Hawker Centre at Yishun Ave 5.
Dr Tan bumped into Law and Home Affairs Minister Mr K Shanmugam at the food centre. Despite their very public differences in the past, both men were all smiles as the camera clicked a picture of them at the hawker centre.
Less than a week after he visited Chong Pang Hawker Centre, Dr Tan visited Tampines Hawker and Food centre on 26 January. Again, Dr Tan bumped into another PAP MP, Tampines GRC’s Desmond Choo, who gave Dr Tan a Chinese New Year package.
Just over two weeks after he announced his re-entry to the political field, Dr Tan visited Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong own GRC with PM Lee’s younger brother, Lee Hsien Yang, and bumped into MP Ang Hin Kee. This means that three PAP MPs bumped into Dr Tan in within 15 days of him announcing his return to politics.