Long-time friends may contest a GRC

(From far left) Dr David Tan, Mr Eddie Ng, Mr Eric Seow, Ms Fatimah Akhtar and Ms Soon Siew Tin plan to contest a group representation constituency if they find that the candidates fielded by existing parties are no better than a "potted plant".
(From left) Dr David Tan, Mr Eddie Ng, Mr Eric Seow, Ms Fatimah Akhtar and Ms Soon Siew Tin plan to contest a group representation constituency if they find that the candidates fielded by existing parties are no better than a "potted plant".ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

A group of long-time friends plan to team up and contest a group representation constituency as independents in the coming election if they find that the candidates fielded by existing parties are no better than a "potted plant".

Architect Fatimah Akhtar, 46, speaking for the group, named three possible GRCs on their list: Tanjong Pagar, Jurong or Ang Mo Kio, where Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will lead a six-member team.

Ms Fatimah, a former member of the Singaporeans First party, announced their intention yesterday when she and her four friends collected nomination forms for two five-member GRCs and one six- member GRC at the Elections Department (ELD), where they also submitted pre-nomination forms.

If their nomination papers go through, they will be the first team of independents to contest a GRC since the scheme began in 1988.

Ms Fatimah said they were moved to act because some of the candidates fielded for the three GRCs she named are "not exactly up to mark".

"I feel that with their background, my potted plant can be an MP," she told reporters. "We are sending a message to all political parties that you should field candidates who are qualified and capable, not people who are incapable, or any Tom, Dick and Harry."

The four others in the group are Dr David Tan, 62, chief executive of a regional medical group; businessman Eric Seow, who is in his 60s; and two retirees - Mr Eddie Ng, 72, and Ms Soon Siew Tin, 58.

The five were among over a dozen people who streamed in and out of the ELD yesterday, the last day for submitting forms for political donations and minority certification.

Others who handed in forms included Democratic Progressive Party chairman Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, whose party will team up with the Singapore People's Party to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC; and People's Power Party secretary- general Goh Meng Seng and Singapore Democratic Party chairman Jeffrey George, who said he was not contesting in the coming elections.

Near closing time, housewife Chew Lay Hwa, 43, submitted her political donation certificate and said she plans to contest as an independent in Sengkang West SMC.

The mother of three said her top concern is how to encourage people to have children. This was not easy, she said, with the high costs of things such as milk powder, pampers and tuition.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Long-time friends may contest a GRC'. Print Edition | Subscribe