SDP and DPP open to working with Tan Jee Say's new party

Two opposition parties have welcomed former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say's aim for his new party Singaporeans First to work together with other parties.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chairman Jeffrey George said: "We look forward to working with the (Singaporeans First), as we do with all opposition parties, to bring about a democratic Singapore."

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secretary-general Benjamin Pwee said his party welcomes any call and move towards a "coordinated coalition of alternative parties" and is happy to see more Singaporeans stepping forward to be involved in the political scene.

He cautioned, however, that a political party "should not be an activist platform for activist causes" and should seek to know and represent constituents' concerns.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Tan, 60, announced he was forming a new party, Singaporeans First, to contest the next General Election.

He said his immediate priority while waiting for the party to be approved by the Registrar of Societies, would be to approach the other opposition parties to talk about working together to form a coalition.

He added that he hopes to talk to the other parties "to work out where we can stand without necessarily going into head-on collision with anybody and splitting the vote".

Both the SDP and DPP have ties to the new party. Of the party's 11 founding members, three - including Mr Tan - were from the SDP while two were from the DPP.

Mr Tan and psychiatrist Ang Yong Guan, 59, were on the SDP team that contested Holland-Bukit Timah GRC in the 2011 General Election. Another Singaporeans First member, communications professional Fahmy Rais, 46, is a former SDP member.

Architects Winston Lim and Fatimah Akhtar resigned from the DPP last month, according to Mr Pwee.

"We wish them all the very best in their newly-chosen platform for political involvement," he added.

Ms Fatimah, 43, said the decision to leave DPP was not because of push factors but due to the pull factor of Singaporeans First.

"We felt that this grouping consists of individuals who have been working on issues for a long, long time...We felt we would be with a group that would pursue issues better," she told reporters on Sunday.