SPP, DPP still thrashing out slate line-up

Mrs Lina Chiam, chairman of the Singapore People's Party, speaking to a resident in Sennett Estate during a walkabout yesterday.
Mrs Lina Chiam, chairman of the Singapore People's Party, speaking to a resident in Sennett Estate during a walkabout yesterday.ST PHOTO: JEREMY AU YONG

Talks are progressing between the Singapore People's Party (SPP) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on their joint team for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, their leaders said yesterday, even as differences remain over who will contribute the larger number of candidates to the five-member team.

SPP chairman Lina Chiam said during a walkabout in Potong Pasir that her party intends to field three candidates in the team: "We want the best team, we have to be practical to field the best team.

"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 central executive committee wants. Having said that, we're still in discussion."

The two sides had agreed earlier that the joint team would contest there under the SPP banner.

But DPP chief Benjamin Pwee gave a slightly different take on how the slate would be split.

Noting that he and DPP chairman Hamim Aliyas, who both contested Bishan-Toa Payoh in 2011, would likely be in the team, he said: "They (SPP) will most likely have two, so the toss-up will be whether the third comes from our side or their side.

"We are not doing the numbers game. We want to make sure that whoever comes together is a team that can stand together in Parliament for five years and run a town council together."

Both political parties are said to be seeking legal advice on drafting a memorandum of understanding spelling out the terms of their partnership.

Mrs Chiam and Mr Pwee also said they will unveil candidates on or just before Nomination Day.

The parties held separate walkabouts yesterday: the DPP in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and the SPP in Potong Pasir.

Mrs Chiam said Potong Pasir is a key priority for the SPP, especially as it was the ward that veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong held for 27 years. The PAP's Mr Sitoh Yih Pin won there in 2011.

Said Mrs Chiam: "Mr Chiam's wish is for me to contest Potong Pasir. He wants me to go back and contest and he believes that I will do well. He will be my mentor."

While the 80-year-old can no longer take part in every walkabout, Mrs Chiam said he will be part of the SPP's campaign: "He will be around and he will go on stage at the rally to support me."

Mrs Chiam, 66, added that she and Mr Chiam would also think about whether to retire from politics after the election.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2015, with the headline 'SPP, DPP still thrashing out slate line-up'. Print Edition | Subscribe