Featured News Nicole Seah: Not just WP’s but also Singapore’s loss

Nicole Seah: Not just WP’s but also Singapore’s loss

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Sense and Nonsense by Tan Bah Bah

I think the biggest casualty/fallout of the People’s Action Party and Workers’ Party extra-marital scandals is the loss of Nicole Seah. And that is also Singapore’s potential loss. This point is made with the utmost respect for the well-being of the affected families of all the parties involved.

The other three – Tan Chuan-Jin, Cheng Li Hui and Leon Perera – have already, for lack of a better word, “profited” from the experience of being a Member of Parliament. Tan Chuan-Jin was Minister and Speaker, besides being an MP. Cheng Li Hui, with whom Tan had an affair, has been a PAP MP since 2015. Leon Perera was a WP NCMP and then MP. Whether they could have gone on to serve in higher political capacities is now a moot point. But, as they say, the trio will just move on. And, harsh though it may sound, the country will be none the worse for the lack of their services in Parliament. Others will step in to fill the gaps.

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But the stepping down of Nichole Seah because of inappropriate behaviour with Leon Perera could possibly have a ripple effect on Singapore’s immediate future political landscape. We do not now quite know what will happen to the East Coast GRC in GE2025.

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Seah was part of the WP team which contested in 2020 on the East Coast against the PAP team headed by DPM Heng Swee Keat. WP lost, but it garnered a creditable 46.59 per cent votes to the PAP’s 53.41 per cent. Come GE2025; she was expected to be part of a winning team with momentum on its side, whoever the PAP tries to put up on East Coast other than the incumbent Heng.

Nicole Seah was a major factor in GE2020 and was heading in the right direction of being an even bigger draw in the next GE.

South China Morning Post described her as “charismatic”. The Straits Times said she was a rock star. Goh Chok Tong acknowledged her “star” quality. I would add that she is quite telegenic or photogenic. In this TikTok era, that is a tremendous asset. In the media world, cameramen and editors do not have to search for the least unattractive picture to project you.

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Seah was an almost indispensable component in the WP’s plan to capture East Coast GRC in a scenario which could also see a domino effect on Marine Parade, Tan Chuan-Jin’s constituency. Marine Parade is itself also in a small flux because of the vacuum created by the former Speaker’s infidelity.

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Let me put it this way. Suddenly, everything seems fluid.

It seems easier to fill the gap left by the absence of Leon Perera in Aljunied GRC. There are strong and proven alternatives within the ranks there.

But there is only one Nicole Seah, for no other reason than that voters simply like her. Young voters want someone like her in Parliament.

Does the WP have another unique personality like her for East Coast – a Peranakan woman with a naturally strong empathy for ordinary people, meaning someone who can involve the middle class in community work or narrow the social divide?

So in order to expand in the East Coast region, this is one possible scenario as a result of the Perera-Seah affair.

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Pritam Singh should do a Low Thia Khiang.

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Leave Aljunied, which is already a party stronghold, and head the WP team in East Coast GRC in GE2025.

Tan Bah Bah, consulting editor of TheIndependent.Sg is a former senior leader writer with The Straits Times. He was also the managing editor of a magazine publishing company


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