NSP to contest MacPherson SMC after all, setting up potential three-cornered fight

NSP members attending a walkabout in Tampines East on Aug 14, 2015. The NSP is reversing its earlier decision to withdraw from MacPherson SMC.
NSP members attending a walkabout in Tampines East on Aug 14, 2015. The NSP is reversing its earlier decision to withdraw from MacPherson SMC.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

SINGAPORE - A three-cornered fight looks likely in MacPherson at the next general election, after the National Solidarity Party (NSP) said on Wednesday it is reversing its earlier decision to withdraw from the single member constituency (SMC).

The party announced in a statement that it will pull out of Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC last week after two rounds of horse-trading talks failed to resolve its overlapping claims with the Workers' Party (WP).

The NSP, however, said it had a change of heart after receiving "feedback and pledges of support" from residents of the two constituencies, where it had also contested at the last polls in 2011. Hence, it has decided to contest MacPherson SMC, given its outreach efforts there before the previous general election.

It will, however, stick with its decision to stay out of Marine Parade GRC, the NSP added.

In the recent elections boundary review, MacPherson SMC was carved out as a single-seat from Marine Parade GRC, while the GRC absorbed the Joo Chiat single-seat ward, which was contested by the WP in 2011.

 
 

"Although our previous statement on August 10 signalled our intent to withdraw from contesting in both Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC, the NSP central executive committee has deliberated on this at length and decided to strike a balance between avoiding unnecessary conflict and keeping faith with our supporters," said the NSP in a statement.

"We have decided to give up contesting in Marine Parade on the merit that Joo Chiat has previously been contested by WP. As for MacPherson, the (Central Executive Committee) strongly supports the decision to proceed with contesting in the SMC where considerable outreach has been done prior to the 2011 general election," it added.

In 2011, the NSP garnered 43.4 per cent of the votes in Marine Parade against a People's Action Party (PAP) team led by then-Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. While over at Joo Chiat, the WP's Yee Jenn Jong lost to the PAP by a mere 388 votes.

Neither opposition party has said who will be its candidate there but he or she will go up against incumbent MP Tin Pei Ling of the PAP.