SINGAPORE - Independent candidate Tan Lam Siong has decided not to contest Potong Pasir SMC, reducing the likelihood of a three-cornered fight for the ward.
He would most likely have faced off against incumbent Sitoh Yih Pin from the People's Action Party, and challenger Lina Chiam of the Singapore People's Party.
However, independent candidate Zeng Guoyan, 63, told reporters he intends to run in Potong Pasir. Known as the "Parrot Man", Mr Zeng said he expects his supporters to come and bring the funds required for the election deposit of $14,500.
Mr Sitoh won the long-time opposition stronghold by his party's slimmest winning margin in the 2011 General Election - 114 votes - against Mrs Chiam, and the two are poised to go head to head again.
Mr Tan, announcing his decision on his blog on Tuesday (Sept 1) morning, said he was driving out from the carpark near Block 108 in Potong Pasir after 11pm after his usual walkabout when he saw a Mercedes Benz waiting to park.
He said he noticed the lady driver struggling to turn her steering wheel to move her car aside, and realised it was Mrs Chiam behind the wheel.
"She was in her party T-shirt and looked rather haggard," he wrote.
Mr Tan, the former National Solidarity Party secretary-general, said he kept thinking about the encounter and felt sorry that Mrs Chiam was still out at such a late hour.
"I recall her recent statement about this election being her last election and that she will be retiring with Mr. Chiam. I began to have this feeling of sadness and couldn't sleep after reaching home," he said.
He thus contacted his team members on Tuesday and informed them that he was pulling out of the contest for the single-member constituency.
In response, Mrs Chiam put up a statement that said: "We've heard the news about his withdrawal. We are focused on serving the residents of Potong Pasir. I have not met Tan Lam Siong."
She told The Straits Times that she has "nothing to add" beyond her statement.
Mr Tan now plans to lead his team in supporting Mrs Chiam at her rally.
"The three-cornered fight in Potong Pasir SMC that was meant to be will no longer take place," he wrote. "I am sorry to disappoint all those who have encouraged me to offer my candidacy and to serve the residents of Potong Pasir SMC as their Member of Parliament."
"In my walkabouts over the last two months, I have come to know many of you at a personal level and appreciate your warm support. Let me assure you that notwithstanding this decision, I will continue to be at your service. For Potong Pasir SMC will always be my kind of town."