Straight fight looks likely in Bukit Batok by-election

Mr Murali Pillai (left) and Dr Chee Soon Juan will be contesting the Bukit Batok by-elections.
Mr Murali Pillai (left) and Dr Chee Soon Juan will be contesting the Bukit Batok by-elections.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG, SEAH KWANG PENG

The stage appears to be set for a straight fight in the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election after the National Solidarity Party (NSP) declared last night that it will not contest there.

Two parties had confirmed their interest earlier: the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), which is fielding its secretary- general Chee Soon Juan; and the People's Action Party (PAP), which will field lawyer Murali Pillai.

A date has yet to be announced for the by-election, which was triggered by the resignation of PAP MP David Ong on March 12 over an alleged extramarital affair.

After the SDP announced on March 20 that it would contest, most other major opposition parties issued statements saying they would not contest. The NSP is the latest to do so.

In a Facebook post yesterday, party secretary-general Lim Tean said: "After careful consideration, the Central Executive Committee of the National Solidarity Party has decided that the party will not be contesting the Bukit Batok by-election."

This means the Bukit Batok contest will most likely be a straight fight between Dr Chee, 53, and Mr Murali, 48.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that he will call the by-election in due time.

Since being announced as candidates, both Mr Murali and Dr Chee have been walking the ground in the constituency.

Dr Chee stood in Holland- Bukit Timah GRC in last September's General Election, while Mr Murali was part of the five-man PAP team that narrowly lost in Aljunied GRC against the Workers' Party.

Tham Yuen-C

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Straight fight looks likely in Bukit Batok by-election'. Print Edition | Subscribe