Strategic options for Tan Jee Say

Chan Jia Hui

点亮如斯 造福人民

Presidential candidate Tan Jee Say and family members were warmly received by supporters on Nomination Day.

The verdict is out, with Tan Jee Say scoring 25.04% in the recent Presidential elections. The reactions were varied with opponents from other camps opining on hindsight that one or more of the candidates should have pulled out in order to give the candidate with the best fighting chance to better Dr Tony Tan. True, if it was a three-horse race or even two-horse race.

However, such debates are now purely academic based on a 20/20 hindsight, and what is done is done. There is no turning back now, and the reality is that Dr Tony Tan is our seventh President, so all the best to Tony.

For Jee Say, to state the obvious, his current contest in the Presidential elections has indeed raised his profile. At least now, more Singaporeans have heard of him.

There is another less obvious insight, and this one will be known to Jee Say’s counting agents and even the man himself – the areas where his support were the strongest.

We were given hints of areas where he did well according to a Todayonline report quoting Nicole Seah, a National Solidarity Party candidate who has backed him, revealing that he did “particularly” well in some areas within the east of Singapore.

Jee Say’s performance in the east has not gone un-noticed, with political analysts and commentators pointing out that voters in the east tend to prefer an alternative voice against our PAP-dominated government, and will support a candidate whom they feel will provide such.

With that being said, at least he will know where in the east he has done well. Jee Say previously contested during the General Elections in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, a ward that covers the northern, western and central part of Singapore.

As of now, Jee Say has not indicated whether he will return to opposition politics, revealing that he will speak to supporters and various people. However, if one day, he chooses to make a return, he will have the benefit of statistics and numbers from the current Presidential contest on areas where he has the strongest support.

Targeting areas where he has the strongest support during the Presidential elections will give him a headstart. From there, he can consolidate and expand on his support.

However, there can be a potential complication. He has to work out with other members of the opposition on which targeted areas they wish to contest. Obviously, the opposition as well as Jee Say himself do not want a situation where history repeats itself, a multiple or more than two cornered fight.

During the May General Elections, the Workers’ Party, National Solidarity Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance contested the eastern part of Singapore. There was a three-cornered fight at Punggol East Single Member Constituency involving Lee Li Lian of the Workers’ Party and Desmond Lim, of the Singapore Democratic Alliance.

Jee Say, who himself is fresh out of a four-corner Presidential contest will be keen to avoid that. A three-corner fight, especially where two of the parties involve the opposition will not benefit either of the parties. The votes will be split between both camps.

Right now, as Jee Say mulls over his future, if a return to opposition politics is on the cards, data on areas of strong support from the Presidential election will be useful. In addition, an amicable discussion with members of the opposition is also necessary to avoid a three or more-corner fight.