SPP, DPP still in talks on Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC joint team; will reveal line-up closer to Nomination Day

Singapore People's Party chairman Lina Chiam (centre) greeting Potong Pasir residents during a walkabout on Aug 16, 2015.
Singapore People's Party chairman Lina Chiam (centre) greeting Potong Pasir residents during a walkabout on Aug 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: JEREMY AU YONG
Democratic Progressive Party members (from left) Chia Ser Lin, Nadine Yap and Benjamin Pwee greeting residents at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh on Aug 16, 2015.
Democratic Progressive Party members (from left) Chia Ser Lin, Nadine Yap and Benjamin Pwee greeting residents at Lorong 4 Toa Payoh on Aug 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Leaders of the Singapore People's Party (SPP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said they are still negotiating the terms of their partnership and will reveal their line-up for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC only closer to Nomination Day.

While talks are progressing, one sticking point is said to be how many candidates each party will contribute to the five-member constituency.The two sides agreed last week to contest the GRC under the SPP banner.

SPP party chairman Lina Chiam, a Non-Constituency MP, told reporters that her party intends to take three of the five slots."If you were to go under the banner of SPP, SPP should have three candidates. That's the ideal situation and that's what my CEC (central executive committee) wants. Having said, that we're still in discussion and we'll see what happens."

DPP chief Benjamin Pwee, in turn, left the number of candidates he intends to field vague.

 
 
 

Speaking to reporters at walkabout in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, he said: "We didn't come together to agree on a ratio, we came together to agree on the best five. So last week when both sides came together, we introduced our candidates to them, we got to know SPP's candidates, and both sides are getting to know each other and getting coffee, we want to find the five that can best gel with each other and work with each other long-term."

Mr Pwee added that he and the DPP chairman Hamim Aliyas are at the top of their slate for the team,given that they both contested the constituency in 2011.

Both sides are said to be deliberating on a memorandum of understanding and hope to come to an agreement soon. The DPP and SPP agreed to a partnership in Bishan-Toa Payoh to avoid a three-cornered fight there.

Asked why the parties held separate walkabouts on Sunday, Mr Pwee said it was a case of dividing manpower: "They are probably a bit thin on the ground and we want to make sure that they win Potong Pasir first, so we are holding fort here as much as we can."

Mrs Chiam said on Sunday that it was veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong's wish for her to contest in Potong Pasir.

"He wants me to go back and contest and he believes that I will do well. He will be my mentor,"she said. In 2011, Mrs Chiam lost the seat her husband held for 27 years by just 114 votes.

She added that while Mr Chiam's age means he cannot join every walkabout, he will be a part of their election campaign.

She said: "He will be around and he will go on stage at the rally to support me."