SINGAPORE - Nomination Day on Tuesday (June 30) saw candidates from the 11 political parties contesting the Singapore General Election 2020 gathering at party headquarters and coffee shops, before heading to the nine nomination centres as doors opened at 10am.
The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will face a contest in all 93 seats across 17 GRCs and 14 SMCs, with three-cornered fights in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Pioneer SMC. The PAP team led by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Singapore Democratic Alliance and Peoples Voice will contest Pasir Ris-Punggol, while the PAP’s Patrick Tay, the Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Lim Cher Hong and independent candidate Cheang Peng Wah will face off in Pioneer.
The East Coast and West Coast GRCs have emerged as the two battle grounds to watch, with the PAP switching things up in both constituencies on Tuesday morning.
In the biggest surprise of Nomination Day, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will contest East Coast GRC with Mr Maliki Osman, Mr Tan Kiat How, Ms Cheryl Chan and Ms Jessica Tan.
Earlier in the day, the PAP team had arrived at St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School nomination centre without an anchor minister, with Mr Heng, an incumbent MP at Tampines GRC, only confirmed later on.
They will face the WP team comprising Mr Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, 42, Mr Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, 54, Mr Terence Tan, 48, Mr Dylan Ng, 44, and Ms Nicole Seah, 33.
PAP’s Tampines GRC line-up was confirmed without Mr Heng, and Dr Koh Poh Koon, the incumbent MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, will be joining the team consisting of Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Mr Desmond Choo, Mr Baey Yam Keng, and Ms Cheng Li Hui.
Over at West Coast GRC, the battle is also heating up, with Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee joining Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Ms Foo Mee Har, Mr Ang Wei Neng and Ms Rachel Ong in the contest against the PSP.
Mr Lee, an incumbent MP at Jurong GRC, was spotted at the PAP West Coast branch in Clementi earlier in the morning and declined to comment when asked if he would be contesting West Coast GRC. He was later seen arriving at Nan Hua High School nomination centre with his teammates.
The PSP team will be led by its chief Tan Cheng Bock, who was seen arriving at a coffee shop near Nan Hua High School nomination centre on Tuesday morning. When asked how he felt about returning to electoral politics, the 80-year-old former MP said: “I’m always happy, I enjoy a fight.”
In his speech to voters on Tuesday at the nomination centre, he said: “I was the MP of Ayer Rajah for 26 years. I am back because I feel things are not going on correctly, because there is a lack of accountability, there is a lack of transparency, and a lack of independence for appointments of senior people in the government.
“This forms the basis of a good government and I found it was lacking, and therefore I decided I must come back,” he added.
The other members of the team are Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Jeffrey Khoo, Ms Hazel Poa and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan.
PSP member Lee Hsien Yang, who was earlier seen at a coffee shop opposite Bendemeer Primary School nomination centre, will not be contesting the election as his name did not appear in nomination papers.
He had been sitting with PSP Abas Kasmani, Harish Pillay and Terence Soon at the coffee shop and when asked if he would be going into the centre, the estranged younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong would only say “You wait and see.” He accompanied the team to Bendemeer Primary School but did not enter.
PM Lee was seen arriving at Deyi Secondary School nomination centre with the Ang Mo Kio GRC team and greeted the media waiting outside the centre. The PAP team comprising PM Lee, Mr Gan Thiam Poh, Mr Darryl David, and new faces Ng Ling Ling and Nadia Samdin will face the Reform Party in the constituency.
PM Lee thanked voters for the many years of support for him and his team in Ang Mo Kio. “Please vote for the Ang Mo Kio team again this time, so that we can work together and make Ang Mo Kio the best place for all our residents to live, work and play,” he said.
Among the other surprises that emerged on Tuesday morning was PAP new face Gan Siow Huang, who was seen arriving at Deyi Secondary School nomination centre.
The former air force brigadier-general, who was earlier tipped to stand in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, will be contesting single-seat Marymount constituency against PSP candidate Ang Yong Guan.
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) also unveiled a surprise change to its line-up on Tuesday and fielded former civil servant Benjamin Pwee in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, instead of single-seat Yuhua constituency.
In a surprise move, the SDP’s chairman Paul Tambyah will challenge PAP’s Liang Eng Hwa in Bukit Panjang. SDP chief Chee Soon Juan will have a rematch against PAP incumbent Murali Pillai in Bukit Batok.
The Workers' Party has also confirmed their candidates for hotly contested Marine Parade GRC, as Mr Ron Tan, 35, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, 55, Mr Nathaniel Koh, 36, Mr Fadli Fawzi, 40, and Mr Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip, 34, earlier boarded a bus for Kong Hwa School, the nomination centre for the constituency.
They will face off against a PAP team comprising Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, 51, Mr Edwin Tong, 50, Mr Seah Kian Peng, 58, Dr Tan See Leng, 55, and Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48.
WP will also see a battle in Aljunied GRC against rival PAP candidates Victor Lye, Chua Eng Leong, Shamsul Kamar, Alex Yeo and Chan Hui Yuh. The WP team comprises party chief Pritam Singh, 43, party chairman Sylvia Lim, 55, incumbent MP Faisal Manap, 45, Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera, 49, and Gerald Giam, 42.
On the PAP’s “suicide squad” reputation at Aljunied, Mr Lim Boon Heng, a former MP who is now an adviser for the GRC, said: “If it was a suicide squad, how did (the PAP team) pull off a marginal loss (in 2015)? It is about whether you have the heart to serve people.”
Over in the WP’s Hougang SMC stronghold, Dennis Tan will defend the party’s seat against the PAP’s Lee Hong Chuang.
For only the second time in Singapore’s election history, Tanjong Pagar GRC will be contested as a PAP team led by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing goes head-to-head with a PSP slate helmed by its organising secretary Michael Chua.
The PAP slate comprises Mr Chan, 50, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, 57, Ms Joan Pereira, 53, and two first-timers – Mr Alvin Tan, 40, LinkedIn’s Asia-Pacific head of public policy and economics, and former public servant Eric Chua, 41.
The PSP team is led by Mr Chua, 55, who runs a private firm in the environmental sector, and includes lawyer Wendy Low, 43; technologist Harish Pillay, 60; senior trainer Abas Kasmani, 67; and new face Terence Soon, 29, a Singapore Airlines pilot.