SINGAPORE – Here are some seats to watch when Singaporeans head to the polls on Friday, July 10.
Group representation constituencies
The Workers’ Party (WP) wrested the five-member GRC from the ruling party at the 2011 polls in a historic win. In the last election, the WP was able to cling on with 50.95 per cent of the vote against 49.05 per cent for the People’s Action Party (PAP) team led by veteran MP Yeo Guat Kwang.
The GRC – home to 151,007 voters – is likely to again provide the hottest contest between the ruling party and the WP.
The issue of the WP leaders’ management of the town council’s finances could play a role in swaying voters.
Last October, the High Court found that WP chief Pritam Singh and his fellow Aljunied GRC MPs Sylvia Lim and Low Thia Khiang had breached their duties towards the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, which is said to have made millions in improper payments under their watch. They have appealed the ruling and the matter is still unresolved.
The three were part of the team – with Mr Chen Show Mao and Mr Faisal Manap – that won the GRC in 2011 and 2015.
The slate in Aljunied is likely to see changes, with rumours that Mr Chen is stepping down and uncertainty over Mr Low’s candidacy after he suffered a fall.
Mr Low is recovering, the party said, but sources said he was thinking of retiring even before his accident.
EAST COAST GRC
The WP has faced off here against the PAP in the last three general elections, and the WP is expected to again put up a fight this year, likely fielding its second-best team.
For the PAP, it is unclear who will lead the charge. Two incumbent MPs on the team, Mr Lim Swee Say and Mr Lee Yi Shyan, are expected to step down. There has also been talk that the party will bring in a heavyweight from a constituency with two ministers to anchor the East Coast team.
The latest electoral boundary changes put Fengshan back in the GRC, after it was carved out as a single-member constituency (SMC) in the last election.
With 121,772 voters, it is one of 11 five-member GRCs in this election.
In 2015, the PAP held East Coast with 60.7 per cent of the vote – their worst-performing GRC in that election. In Fengshan, PAP backbencher Cheryl Chan fended off a challenge from WP candidate Dennis Tan, winning 57.5 per cent of the vote.
Mr Tan and his WP colleagues – Associate Professor Daniel Goh and Mr Leon Perera – qualified for Non-Constituency MP seats in Parliament after the polls. Prof Goh has said he will not stand for election this year.
The new GRC has been formed by taking the Sengkang Central ward from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and combining it with Punggol East SMC and part of Sengkang West SMC. It has 120,166 voters.
Sengkang West and Punggol East have traditionally been WP stomping grounds. The PAP won Punggol East by a slim margin in the 2015 election, and the WP has continued to walk the ground in the areas now under Sengkang GRC.
In the last election, Dr Lam Pin Min from the PAP defeated his WP opponent Koh Choong Yong in Sengkang West with 62.1 per cent of the vote.
Over in Punggol East, PAP stalwart Charles Chong in 2015 took the SMC from Ms Lee Li Lian from the WP, with 51.76 per cent of the vote.
Ms Lee, who won the SMC in a 2013 by-election, is expected to lead a WP team in Sengkang GRC.
The WP is traditionally tight-lipped about disclosing its new faces early but there is a chance it could field one of its better teams here. Pundits say Sengkang – a four-member GRC – may have been created to draw the WP’s B Team to contest there instead of in East Coast GRC.
The Straits Times reported in April that Ms Lee was introducing residents in the area to new faces like Ms Raeesah Khan, the founder of Reyna Movement, which runs programmes to empower women.
Other likely WP candidates for Sengkang GRC are equity analyst Louis Chua and Essec Business School associate professor of economics Jamus Lim.
The PAP team in Sengkang will likely consist of labour chief Ng Chee Meng, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, and lawyer Raymond Lye.
WEST COAST GRC
Former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock returns to his old stomping ground as an opposition candidate for the first time, making the battle for West Coast GRC one to watch. Dr Tan is a well-known face here. He was a popular MP who held the Ayer Rajah seat for the ruling party for 26 years from 1980 to 2006, when his stronghold was absorbed into West Coast GRC.
This time, he is expected to lead a team from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) but it has been 14 years since he retired as a PAP MP, and voter profiles in the area are likely to have changed.
West Coast has been bumped up to a five-member GRC with 146,251 voters, and it gave the PAP a 78.57 per cent win in the 2015 election.
The Straits Times understands that the PSP team will include Ms Hazel Poa – a former government scholarship holder who in 2011 was the star catch of the National Solidarity Party – and political newcomers Jeffrey Khoo and Nadarajah Loganathan.
As to who will complete the line-up, it is a toss-up between PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, a former managing director at OCBC Securities, and party member Abas Kasmani, a senior trainer at a design and engineering firm.
The Reform Party had initially announced plans to contest here, but has since backed out, avoiding what was set to be a three-cornered fight.
Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran, former minister Lim Hng Kiang, Mr Patrick Tay and Ms Foo Mee Har are part of the PAP team in West Coast GRC.
KEBUN BARU SMC
Signs point to a three-cornered fight between PAP, PSP and DPP in Kebun Baru SMC, which has been carved out of Nee Soon GRC. Before that, it was part of Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Kebun Baru has 22,653 voters. Two in five residents in the ward are Pioneer and Merdeka Generation seniors, and it has traditionally been a PAP stronghold.
Several potential candidates have been spotted in the area in recent days.
The PAP’s Henry Kwek and PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock both visited the Mayflower Market and Food Centre last week.
With Dr Tan were PSP central executive committee member Michael Chua and three PSP members – chartered accountant Kayla Low, former SingFirst chairman Ang Yong Guan, and online news portal The Independent Singapore’s former publisher Kumaran Pillai.
Dr Tan said the party members with him were going to be candidates, but he did not say who would be fielded in Kebun Baru.
A three-cornered fight appears to be shaping up in the single seat of Marymount, this time among the PAP, PSP and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
The seat, which has been carved out of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, has 23,444 voters.
Both the PSP and DPP were spotted at Shunfu Mart Food Centre last weekend.
Potential PSP candidate Ang Yong Guan, joined by several volunteers and party members, ran into members of the DPP and exchanged a fist bump with DPP secretary-general Mohamad Hamim Aliyas.
Dr Ang stood in the 2011 election for the Singapore Democratic Party in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, and in 2015 under the Singaporeans First (SingFirst) banner in Tanjong Pagar GRC. He declined to say if he would be fielded in Marymount this time.
Mr Hamim said his party, as part of a proposed bloc with the Reform Party, People’s Power Party and SingFirst, has discussed the possibility of avoiding three-cornered contests with PSP, but no deal has been reached yet.
The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) previously said it wanted to contest here, but has since dropped its claim.
PUNGGOL WEST SMC
The seat has been carved out of the sprawling Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, and has been helmed by Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sun Xueling.
The area is home to many young families and has 26,579 voters.
There is no indication, so far, of who will enter the race here against the PAP.
YIO CHU KANG SMC
The PAP, PSP and RP could face off in this new single-seat constituency, which was previously part of Ang Mo Kio GRC.
A likely PAP candidate in this SMC, with 26,005 voters, is former public servant Yip Hon Weng, who recently stepped down as group chief of the Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care.
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