For some reason, this weekend was particularly exciting in the political scene
We are 5 weeks to September (the projected month of General Election), political updates are coming in at such a fast rate, the average human being can’t possibly be expected to absorb everything. For starters, we have 10 political parties (People’s Action Party, Workers’ Party, Singapore Democratic Party, Singapore People’s Party, National Solidarity Party, Reform Party, SingFirst, Singapore Democratic Alliance, Democratic Progressive Party, and People’s Power Party) to choose from and even an independent candidate.
There is really just too much information for an average Singaporean voter to absorb.
To relieve your pre-election headache, MustShareNews summarises 12 important General Election happenings over the weekend from 31 July to 2 August.
1. Chief of Defence, Ng Chee Meng retires, not ruling out politics
After 29 years in service, Lieutenant General Ng Chee Meng is stepping down from the Singapore Armed Forces to venture into other avenues. Reports in the mainstream specifically mention that he does not rule out contesting in the coming General Election.
Former military men have a considerable presence in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s cabinet — Major-General Chan Chun Sing, Rear-Admiral Lui Tuck Yew, Rear-Admiral Teo Chee Hean, and Brigadier General Tan Chuan-Jin. PM Lee is himself a former Brigadier General.
With the Election all but set, Mr Ng will have to walk and connect the ground very soon if he is indeed taking part in the coming General Election.
If chosen, we think that Mr Ng will be fielded at a Group Representation Constituency (GRC) since it will be too much for the political greenhorn to contest for a Single Member Constituency (SMC) seat on his debut election.
GRCs like Bishan-Toa Payoh, West Coast, and Marine Parade have vacancies for Mr Ng to comfortably slot in.
2. Charles Chong to face Lee Li Lian in the Punggol East SMC?
Charles Chong is a veteran politician for the ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP). He has been contesting for the General Election since 1991.
There were initial rumours that Charles Chong could be stepping down from his Member of Parliament role after 14 years. However, latest reports seems to refute those rumours.
Mr Chong is reportedly tasked with the mission of winning back the Punggol East SMC seat from Lee Li Lian of the Workers’ Party.
Dr Koh Poh Koon, the “Son of Punggol” meanwhile, is set to link up with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Ang Mo Kio GRC.
3. New face spotted in Pasir Ris – Punggol: Sun Xueling
Last Saturday (1 July), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean unveiled a potential candidate for the coming General Election on his Facebook.
Her name is Sun Xueling, and according to The Straits Times, the 36-year-old is currently an Investment Director in Temasek Holdings. She has been volunteering with PAP since 2001 in various wards.
Nothing more has been revealed on if Ms Sun will be standing for the coming General Election. All we can say is that the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC may have a vacant spot, after MP Gan Thiam Poh’s South Punggol ward was redrawn into Ang Mo Kio GRC .
We have to admit, with that smile, she may just be the next big thing in the coming General Election.
4. Opposition had an ad-hoc Meeting; NSP says not really
Despite of stepping down from the post of the Secretary-General in the National Solidarity Party (NSP) last month, Tan Lam Siong is still rather influential in the politics of Singapore.
Upon announcing his interest to contest in Potong Pasir SMC in the coming General Election, Channel NewsAsia reported that 6 opposition parties held an ad-hoc meeting, presumably to discuss what the heck was going on.
It is interesting to note that the NSP questioned the accuracy of the report as they issued on their Facebook page that the President and the Secretary-General of the NSP were not involved in the ad-hoc meeting.
5. Potong Pasir set for 4-way contest?
Potong Pasir has been an opposition stronghold for 27 years under veteran politician Chiam See Tong.
The SMC was eventually lost to Sitoh Yih Pin of the PAP after Mr Chiam decided to contest at the Bishan- Toa Payoh GRC instead and left Lina Chiam (his wife) of the Singapore’s People Party (SPP) to contest for the ward.
In the coming General Election, Potong Pasir SMC may be contested by 4 parties, with independent candidate Tan Lam Siong, the latest to throw his hat into the ring.
Even before the actual campaigning, opposition parties at the Potong Pasir ward were already trading blows with each other.
Mr Tan took a swipe at the other candidates in an interview with The Straits Times by pointing out that his candidacy will give the voters of Potong Pasir a “real choice”.
As an independent, I’m not involved in horse-trading talks between the different opposition parties. Let the people have all the choices, rather than pre-select for them.
– Independent Candidate, Tan Lam Siong
Benjamin Pwee, Secretary-General of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was more blunt in his attack when he told the media that he believes the DPP will be able to field a more capable candidate than Mrs Chiam.
[B]ecause we believe we can put somebody who is a lot stronger than Mrs Chiam.
– Secretary General of Democratic Progressive Party, Benjamin Pwee
Mrs Chiam did not take the comments lying down, further reaffirming her determination to contest in Potong Pasir with a Facebook post, underlining the fact that Potong Pasir has always been her territory.
I have already sunk my roots and bonded with Potong Pasir residents long before any candidates.
– Chairman of Singapore People’s Party, Lina Chiam
The three opposition parties will be ironing things out in the opposition meeting that is set to take place.
6. Lawrence Wong given role of anchor Minister in new GRC
We predicted two months ago that Culture, Community and Youth Minister Lawrence Wong will leave
his comfort zone West Coast GRC to contest in another GRC in the coming General Election.
However, what we got wrong was the GRC that he will be contesting in. Instead of being an anchor Minister at the Aljunied GRC, Minister Wong was announced to be the anchor Minister for the newly created Marsiling- Yew Tee GRC.
A day after the announcement (2 July), Minister Wong was already diligently doing his walkabouts at the Marsiling – Yew Tee GRC with his potential colleague-to-be, MP Alex Yam.
7. 3 MPs may be stepping down at Bishan – Toa Payoh GRC
The Straits Times reported that PAP activists mentioned that Hri Kumar has asked to leave politics. Mr Nair first entered the Parliament after 2006 General Election and has being an unpopular figure among the residents since. Mr Nair was so unpopular, fellow MP Josephine Teo had to take over some parts of his ward.
If Mr Nair indeed leaves, he will be the third MP in the Bishan -Toa Payoh GRC to step down before the coming General Election.
Former deputy prime minister Wong Kan Seng and MP Zainudin Nordin have already been confirmed to be leaving.
If the 3 MPs indeed leaves their Bishan- Toa Payoh seats, we can expect plenty of new faces to arrive the Bishan- Toa Payoh GRC to fill up the empty seats.
8. Kahar Hassan of Kaki Bukit ward in Aljunied GRC replaced with a teacher
Kahar Hassan was widely tipped to be a potential candidate for the PAP team at the Aljunied GRC. That is, until he was asked to step down from his Chairman post of the PAP branch at Kaki Bukit in Aljunied GRC.
Mr Kahar replacement is likely to be Shamsul Kamar, a 43-year-old Head of Department at the Spectra Secondary School. Mr Shamsul is not a stranger to the Kaki Bukit ward having earlier worked with activists at the same ward under then-MP Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.
Mr Kahar may be reallocate to another ward, and we think it may be a ward that is in need of a minority candidate like Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC or Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
9. Goh Meng Seng reveals his party strategy
Secretary-General of the People’s Power Party (PPP), Goh Meng Seng told Today Online that the PPP will be looking to contest in Choa Chu Kang GRC and a SMC that he refuses to reveal until the opposition’s meeting this evening.
Mr Goh also made it clear that his party recognises the hard work of the other opposition parties and thus will not be contesting in Fengshan SMC, Tampines GRC, and MacPherson SMC where the Workers’ Party and the National Solidarity Party has been conducting walkabouts since the last election.
10. Nicole Seah will not be contesting in the coming General Election
It’s confirmed — the eloquent and charismatic Nicole Seah will NOT be contesting for the coming General Election.
Just the thought of not seeing Nicole in the coming election is enough to depress most of us–
11. Democratic Progressive Party not in alliance with SingFirst
Benjamin Pwee, Secretary-General of the Democratic Progressive Party, has denied that his party proposed an alliance with SingFirst.
However, he does admit that both parties are considering sending a joint team to compete in the Tanjong Pagar GRC.
To put it in simpler terms, DPP are not brothers with SingFirst, but they will cooperate with each other on a side project.
12. MP Edwin Tong most likely to parachute into Marine Parade GRC
Sightings of MP Edwin Tong at the Marine Parade Community Event with the MPs of Marine Parade suggests that Mr Tong is likely to contest in the Marine Parade GRC for the coming General Election.
Mr Tong is currently a MP of now-dissolved Moulmein-Kallang GRC.
The Straits Times suggests that Mr Tong will take over from MP Charles Chong at the Joo Chiat ward, that is being absorbed into the Marine Parade GRC under the new electoral map.
— TODAY (@TODAYonline) August 2, 2015
More political happenings to come soon
There you have it, 12 important political happenings over the weekend that you must note in view of the coming General Election.
Your headache doesn’t feel so bad now, does it?
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Featured Image via Abdul Rahman
With reference to Channel News Asia, Channel News Asia, Channel News Asia, Channel News Asia, Channel News Asia, Channel News Asia, The Straits Times, The Straits Times, The Straits Times, The Straits Times, The Straits Times, Anyhow Hantam Blogspot,