Translated by Donaldson Tan
This is a non-verbatim translation of Zaobao report 《淡滨尼嗅出“三角战”烟硝味》 by Ho Si Wei & Cai Yong Wei dated 06 May 2012.
（2012-05-06）● 何惜薇 蔡永伟
Three-cornered fight at Tampinese next GE
The next General Election (GE) is still a long time away, yet 2 leading opposition parties are already locking horns with each other. The Workers’ Party intends to contest Tampinese GRC at the next GE, which was contested by the National Solidarity Party (NSP) during GE2011, and this will result in a three-cornered fight.
WP Chairperson Ms Sylvia Lim revealed to Zaobao in an email that the WP has begun preparation for the next GE and that it will target the same eight constituencies it contested during GE2011 as well as Tampinese GRC.
During GE2011, the WP contested 4 GRCs and 4 SMCs. They are Aljunied GRC, Moulmein-Kallang GRC, Nee Soon GRC, East Coast GRC, Hougang SMC, Joo Chiat SMC, Sengkang West SMC and Punggol East SMC. In the last few months, the WP has visited Moulmein-Kallang GRC, East Coast GRC and Tampinese GRC.
According to Ms Lim, the WP always had an interest to contest Tampinese GRC due to its proximity to Hougang SMC, but it eventually withdrew from contesting Tampinese GRC because of NSP’s intention to contest there.
Ms Lim added that these nine GRCs and SMCs are in the East and Northeast parts of Singapore and their proximity would allow the WP to allocate resources efficiently.
However, the NSP will not bulge from its claim to Tampinese GRC. NSP President Sebastian Teo told Zaobao, “As we had said before, we will never give up the constituencies which we have contested. Our position on this matter remains unchanged.”
The NSP, founded in 1987, contested Tampinese GRC in GE2006 and GE2011. During GE2011, NSP won 42.78% of votes for Tampines GRC against the incumbent PAP team led by then Minister of National Development Mah Bow Tan. This was not only an 11 percentage point improvement for NSP compared to its performance in GE2006, Tampines GRC was also NSP’s best performing ward in GE2011.
Will NSP contest the Hougang By-election?
Will the NSP contest the Hougang By-election in response to WP’s assertion to contest Tampinese GRC? Mr Teo said that the NSP has yet to deliberate on the matter and this will be decided by its Central Executive Committee (CEC).
On the other hand, former NSP Secretary-General Goh Meng Seng speculated in his blog during March 2012 that the NSP will send its political starlet Ms Nicole Seah to contest Hougang By-election in response to the WP’s aggression during GE2011. However, Ms Seah said that she has no interest to contest Hougang By-election.
Mr Goh also blogged that during GE2011, the WP was very aggressive in asserting claims over Moulmein-Kallang GRC and that it meant business even if it means sending a second- or third-tier team to contest at expense of the NSP. Eventually, the NSP bit the bullet and withdrew from Moulmein-Kallang GRC in order to avoid a three-cornered fight.
Mr Goh believed as a result of this experience, the WP will act more aggressively in future and that it will not hesitate to flag Tampinese GRC and Marine Parade GRC as its own territory, even if it means fighting head-on with the NSP.