SPP and DPP meet up for 'reunion' amid plans for joint team to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

SPP and DPP members at a get together on Aug 10, 2015.
SPP and DPP members at a get together on Aug 10, 2015.PHOTO: JOSHUA PWEE
From left: Mr Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, Mrs Lina Chiam, Mr Yong Seng fatt, Mr Seow Khee Leng and Mr Benjamin Pwee.
From left: Mr Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, Mrs Lina Chiam, Mr Yong Seng fatt, Mr Seow Khee Leng and Mr Benjamin Pwee.PHOTO: JOSHUA PWEE
Mrs Lina Chiam and Mr Benjamin Pwee.
Mrs Lina Chiam and Mr Benjamin Pwee.PHOTO: JOSHUA PWEE

SINGAPORE - After their party leaders reconciled following a split in 2012, the Singapore People's Party (SPP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are now intent on putting together a joint team to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC at the next general election.

So on Monday afternoon, it was time for 20 of their respective central executive committee members and potential candidates to gather for what the DPP billed as a "reunion get-together".

DPP secretary general Benjamin Pwee and SPP chairman Lina Chiam were present.

"The atmosphere was very friendly, and there was lots of chatter and laughter. Both sides got to know each other's candidates better, and shared about issues common to both parties," the DPP said in a statement.

It added that both parties will hold a joint team walkabout on Tuesday evening.

In the 2011 general election, Mr Pwee stood on an SPP ticket with Mrs Chiam's husband, opposition veteran Chiam See Tong, and unsuccessfully contested in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

Mr Pwee quit the party a year later, citing differences over the SPP's leadership style and direction. Two others who contested as part of the team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC with him also left - Mr Wilfred Leung and Mr Mohamad Hamim Aliyas.

All three then joined the DPP in 2013.

As speculation built up over a possible general election this year, the party announced that it aimed to contest in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC as well as in the neighbouring Potong Pasir single ward - both of which Mrs Chiam's SPP had also laid claim to.

But last week, the DPP announced that it was withdrawing its interest in Potong Pasir - which Mrs Chiam said she will stand in. Her husband held the ward for 27 years. Mrs Chiam contested there in 2011, losing narrowly to the People's Action Party's Sitoh Yih Pin. The DPP also announced last week that it would join forces with the SPP and send a joint team into Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.

charyong@sph.com.sg