SINGAPORE - It was a busy morning at the Elections Department's (ELD) headquarters at Prinsep Link on Wednesday (Aug 26), as a steady stream of potential candidates turned up to collect nomination papers.
As of noon, at least three people have confirmed their intention to stand as independent candidates - private car driver Shirwin Eu, 32, real estate executive Ooi Boon Ewe, 74, and former businessman Zeng Guoyuan, 63.
Members from the various political parties also dropped by to pick up documents on behalf of their parties.
Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Jeffrey George collected nomination forms for 11 potential candidates, while the Workers' Party's Gerald Giam and Muhammad Faisal Abdul Manap were spotted.
Mr Giam, one of two Non-Constituency MPs for the WP, said the party had submitted its candidates' Political Donation Certificates and certificates from the Malay Community Committee and the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee.
"We thought we should submit them well ahead of the deadline (on Aug 28) so as not to have any last-minute scramble. The elections are a very important event and we don't want any hiccups along the way."
He confirmed that he will be among the 28 WP candidates contesting the general election.
Reform Party (RP) members Andy Zhu and Kumar Appavoo were also seen leaving with documents in hand. Mr Zhu, a property agent and the party's chairman, said that both of them will run in the coming election. Mr Appavoo, the director of an oil and gas company, had contested West Coast group representation constituency (GRC) in 2011.
The RP is seeking to send 11 candidates to contest Ang Mo Kio and West Coast GRCs, as well as Radin Mas single member constituency (SMC). It will unveil its slate for both GRCs on Thursday (Aug 27), Mr Zhu added.
On Tuesday, President Tony Tan Keng Yam dissolved Parliament and issued the Writ of Election to signal the start of the next general election. Nomination Day is on Sept 1 and Polling Day on Sept 11.
The election deposit this time has been set at $14,500 and it will be forfeited if a candidate in a single-member constituency or a team in a group representation constituency receives less than 12.5 per cent of the votes in their constituency. Potential candidates must fulfil certain requirements and deliver their papers to the respective Nomination Centres between 11am and noon on Nomination Day.
Mr George, 52, told the media that SDP will soon begin to introduce its candidates on a "daily basis". He said: "We've geared up ever since the last general election, and we've been walking the ground."
The party, led by Dr Chee Soon Juan, intends to contest two GRCs - Holland-Bukit Timah and Marsiling Yew-Tee - as well as the Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang and Yuhua SMCs.
Meanwhile, potential first-time election candidate Mr Eu said he plans to contest Bukit Panjang SMC.
The driver with private taxi service Uber, who lives near the ward, was the first to collect his nomination form and said he hopes to speak up about transport issues.
A familiar face was perennial election candidate Mr Ooi, who last stood as a candidate in Joo Chiat SMC at the general election in 2001.
He lost to the People's Action Party's Mr Chan Soo Sen, chalking up 16.5 per cent of the vote share.
Mr Ooi, who came prepared with his manifesto and some promotional materials, is seeking to stand in Sengkang West SMC this time, against the PAP incumbent Dr Lam Pin Min and a candidate from the WP.
Mr Ooi, who failed in his applications for three presidential elections (1999, 2005 and 2011) as well as the 2011 General Election and 2013 Punggol East by-election, said on Aug 14 that he would champion increasing the frequency of public transport and opening more childcare centres and sports facilities if he was elected as an MP.
Mr Zeng, dubbed the "Parrot Man", was another colourful character to announce his potential candidacy. The 63-year-old claims he intends to stand in Potong Pasir SMC, which is already being contested by the PAP, the Singapore People's Party and another independent candidate, former National Solidarity Party secretary-general Tan Lam Siong.
Mr Zeng, who used to live in Potong Pasir, met with an accident two years ago and has suffered from nose cancer and cancer of the large intestine. The New Paper reported in June that he sells tissue paper outside the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple at Waterloo Street to make ends meet.
He said he would "fight until the end", adding: "I am not here to lose the deposit, money nowadays is hard to earn. If you can't even secure your election deposit, how are people going to trust you with the money they give you in the future?"
The Straits Times also spotted an unidentified man leaving the ELD at 11.25am, after collecting nomination forms for a GRC. He declined to be interviewed.
In the afternoon, members from the National Solidarity Party and Democratic Progressive Party also visited the ELD.
NSP assistant treasurer Nor Lella Mardiiah Mohamed, 41, left with documents for at least one five-member GRC and an SMC.
When asked about the party's plans, she said "nothing has changed from what has been mentioned before by the president". NSP president Sebastian Teo on Monday reiterated that the party would be contesting 12 seats as orignally announced: Sembawang and Tampines GRCs, and MacPherson and Pioneer SMCs.
Ms Lella's departure was followed by the arrival of DPP chariman Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, who contested as part of an SPP team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at the last election.
Mr Hamim said the DPP would only announce its candidate slate for Bishan-Toa Payoh on Nomination Day.
Former SDP member Jarrod Luo arrived at the ELD around 2.40pm and collected two sets of GRC forms and two sets of SMC forms. He declined to give details of his plans.
Blogger Han Hui Hui was seen leaving the ELD at around 3pm after collecting documents for an SMC. She refused to speak to members of the media.
The blogger later indicated in a Facebook post on Wednesday evening her intention to contest Radin Mas SMC as an independent candidate.
The Straits Times understands that as of 3.15pm, all of the political parties had collected their normination forms except for SDA, SPP and PPP.
Former National Solidarity Party Secretary-General Tan Lam Siong, who plans to contest in Potong Pasir SMC as an independent candidate, was seen leaving the ELD around 3.45pm.
Potential independent candidate Arthero Lim was also spotted at 4pm after a friend had collected nomination forms for him.