Opposition starts candidate introductions

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan (third from left) and chairman Jeffrey George flanked by Ms Chong Wai Fung and Mr Khung Wai Yeen, the party's candidates in the election. Last night, Mr Khung was seen on a walkabout in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC and M
SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan (third from left) and chairman Jeffrey George flanked by Ms Chong Wai Fung and Mr Khung Wai Yeen, the party's candidates in the election. Last night, Mr Khung was seen on a walkabout in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC and Ms Chong in Bukit Batok SMC.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Just one hour after the Writ of Election was issued at 4pm yesterday, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) unveiled two of the 11 candidates it will field at the coming election.

Both are electoral first-timers: accounts manager and former navy staff sergeant Khung Wai Yeen, 34, who also goes by the name Gerous; and administrator of Ren Ci Nursing Home in Moulmein, Ms Chong Wai Fung, 45.

The party declined to confirm where they will be fielded but last night, Mr Khung was seen on a walkabout in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC and Ms Chong in Bukit Batok SMC.

On the timing of yesterday's introductions, SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said: "We kind of thought that Parliament is going to be dissolved today. And if that's the case, let's quicken the pace."

He was speaking at a press conference at the party's headquarters.

With Nomination Day set for next Tuesday, the nine opposition parties likely to contest the coming polls will have to introduce their candidates soon.

The Workers' Party (WP) is set to unveil several new faces today. The party has also said that its seven incumbent MPs will stay put to defend their seats in Aljunied GRC, Hougang and Punggol East.

The Singapore People's Party (SPP) has introduced its candidates in the three single-seat wards it is contesting: Mr Ravi Philemon (Hong Kah North SMC), Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss (Mountbatten SMC) and Mrs Lina Chiam (Potong Pasir SMC).

The SPP and the Democratic Progressive Party are set to announce their joint team for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC soon.

The Reform Party (RP) has issued press statements about its potential candidates. These include two who contested under the RP banner in 2011 but left for other parties: entrepreneur Osman Sulaiman, 40, who quit the National Solidarity Party (NSP) in March; and businessman Kumar Appavoo, 46, who was seen at an SPP walkabout just two weeks ago. The third, a new member, is Mr Darren Soh, 46, a manager at real estate company PropNex.

Mr Osman is likely to make another bid for Ang Mo Kio GRC, while Mr Soh could be fielded in West Coast GRC, RP said.

Meanwhile, the two new parties - Singaporeans First Party (SingFirst) and People's Power Party (PPP) - will be unveiling their candidates later.

SingFirst will do so on Nomination Day, said secretary-general Tan Jee Say. And PPP chief Goh Meng Seng said his party needs to pace itself so as to "respect the big boys (who) will take up the most publicity".

Opposition leaders also questioned the timing of the election, which comes hot on the heels of the SG50 celebrations and a global market meltdown this week.

The SDP's Dr Chee said that the early dissolution of Parliament, way before the deadline for elections in January 2017, hints at the PAP's lack of confidence.

"Why two, three weeks after National Day? This is something which we find very disconcerting... We should be able to face the electorate squarely, let both sides, the PAP and opposition, have a nice good debate and see how the people decide."

With the Writ of Election issued yesterday, preparations for the polls are in full swing.

WP chairman Sylvia Lim, MP Pritam Singh and several party activists were at WP's Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council office in Serangoon North Avenue 1, but declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Mrs Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss of the SPP organised a barbecue at Mandarin Gardens condominium, where she lives, to introduce WP's Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong to her neighbours.

The condominium is in Marine Parade GRC and Mr Yee said he has asked WP leaders to let him lead the team there after the Joo Chiat single-seat ward was absorbed into the GRC. During the 2011 polls, Mr Yee lost in Joo Chiat by a mere 388 votes.

In addition, several parties - including SingFirst, PPP and Singapore Democratic Alliance - will today issue a combined campaign badge "in the name of opposition unity". The SDA also met last night to firm up its logistics plans.

Additional reporting by Chong Zi Liang and Danson Cheong

VIDEO Meet SDP's new candidates http://str.sg/Z7m3

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'Opposition starts candidate introductions'. Print Edition | Subscribe