Singapore—The candidates for the People’s Action Party (PAP) contesting in opposition stronghold Aljunied GRC said on Wednesday morning (July 1) that Aljunied is “not owned by one party” and that they “think we can do better.”
Moreover, the candidates said that the issue that affects the residents of Aljunied, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, are bigger than the fight between the Workers’ Party (WP) who has held the GRC since 2011, making it the first GRC to be under an opposition party. As such, the WP is expected to fight valiantly to keep the GRC, and has sent its A-team for this purpose.
WP’s slate is composed of secretary-general Pritam Singh, party chairwoman Sylvia Lim, vice-chair Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap, all three of whom are incumbent Aljunied MPs; as well as two Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMP), Leon Perera (2015-2020) and Gerald Giam (2011-2015).
The WP team faces off against PAP’s candidates Victor Lye, Alex Yeo, Chan Hui Yuh, Chua Eng Leong, and Shamsul Kamar. Messrs Lye, Shamsul and Chua had also contested in Aljunied in 2015.
The WP won over PAP by the slimmest of margins, winning just a shade over fifty percent of the vote. Back then, the WP team included former party chief Low Thia Khiang, a much-respected figure. Mr Low had an accident earlier this year and was hospitalized for some time. Last week it was announced that he would not contest in this year’s GE.
When reporters asked PAP candidate Victor Lye if Mr Low’s absence would affect their team, he said, “The answer is no, flatly no. We have never looked at who is on the other side. We look at our residents, always.
We also look at those that have been given the chance to serve and how they have served. And we look, we understand. We think we can do better. The people will decide.”
He spoke of his hopes for the residents of Aljunied.
“In this election, we want to bring the people of Aljunied to the national table. We cannot be on the sidelines for another five years. This is a crisis and we need to chart a very special way for Singapore to go forward.
We can see the cries for help that come through the internet, we see a younger generation that need jobs. Let’s care about that first. And the people of Aljunied (need) representatives to do that for them.”
“We’re not fighting against a political party… We are fighting for the people of Aljunied,” Mr Lye said in a Facebook post.
Fellow candidate Alex Yeo echoed Mr Lye’s sentiments. “(You can) see our track record over the past nine years – even when we couldn’t find any government funds to tap, and even when we don’t run a town council. It’s about going the extra mile, and trying our best to understand the concerns of our residents.”
If elected, Mr Lye said he would fight not only for Aljunied residents but for all of Singapore.”If we are in Parliament, do you think we will be a passive voice? We will work even harder, not just to prove to the people of Aljunied, but also to the whole of Singapore.”
However, netizens have expressed puzzlement at PAP’s lineup. Netizens seemed surprised at PAP’s Aljunied line-up, as the ruling party traditionally has a minister to anchor a team, and for the Aljunied slate, there is none.
“If the ruling party is serious about winning back this GRC I thought they would have put a minister there as anchor,” commented one netizen. —/TISG