GE2015: SPP and DPP finally sign agreement to field joint team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

While both SPP and DPP were coy about candidates, an election poster mock-up leaked to The Straits Times earlier this week shows the likely slate.
While both SPP and DPP were coy about candidates, an election poster mock-up leaked to The Straits Times earlier this week shows the likely slate.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore People's Party (SPP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have signed an agreement to formalise their joint team for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, finalising their paperwork just three days before Nomination Day.

Neither side would confirm the line-up of the five-member team while announcing the agreement on Saturday, saying that the introduction would likely be made a day later.

DPP chief Benjamin Pwee said, however, that he and party chairman Hamim Aliyas have resigned from the party and joined the SPP to enable them to be fielded. Election rules dictate that all candidates in a GRC team must either come from one party or consist of five independents. Both SPP and DPP and earlier agreed that they would contest under the SPP banner.

Mr Pwee told The Straits Times that DPP assistant secretary-general Wilfred Leung and treasurer Juliana Juwahir would take over as acting secretary-general and acting chairman respectively.

While both SPP and DPP were coy about candidates, an election poster mock-up leaked to The Straits Times earlier this week shows the likely slate. Apart Mr Pwee, 47, and Mr Hamim, 50, the team likely includes three SPP members: former marketing manager Law Kim Hwee, 55, training company manager Abdillah Zamzuri, 31 and tech entrepreneur Bryan Long, 37.

The signing of the agreement brings to a close a difficult, month-long negotiation that began at the joint opposition meeting to decide who would contest in which constituency. At several points in recent weeks, there had been rumours that the partnership was on the brink of collapse, especially due to disagreements on the make-up of the team.

Asked why the process was sewn up so late, both Mr Pwee and Mr Long said that both sides needed to take the time to sort a broad range of issues.

"It is a deliberated decision. We took time to make sure this isn't something we hastily go in to just for elections. We went into it, we went through every single point. We had to know that logistics work, finance works, we want to know candidates, we want to talk about decision-making - if anything this demonstrates the maturity of the cooperation," said Mr Long.

Added Mr Pwee on behalf of the DPP: "I think we respected the time and space that they need to make the decision. I think we didn't want to push it and run the risk of this partnership breaking. At the end of the day, there could be nothing worse than if this partnership broke and we went into a three-cornered fight together."