GE2015: Singaporeans First Party unveils first batch of candidates

The supposed Tamil text on the party's banner does not form any known Tamil words, speakers of the language pointed out.
The supposed Tamil text on the party's banner does not form any known Tamil words, speakers of the language pointed out.ST PHOTO: WALTER SIM

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans First Party (SingFirst) announced on Friday its first batch of candidates contesting the Sept 11 general election.

They are party chief Tan Jee Say, 61, market risk manager Chirag Desai, 38, IT consultant Wong Chee Wai, 44, trainer and communication and media consultant Fahmi Rais, 48, and sales executive Chiu Weng Hoe Melvyn, 36.

Mr Tan, who is a former presidential candidate, made the announcement at the party office in Tras Street while unveiling its party slogan: "Restore Our Nation".

In his address, Mr Tan said that the slate of candidates will be fielded at different group representation constituencies (GRCs).

"The slate is mixed and matched. You won't know who is going where until Nomination Day."

Mr Tan described the candidates as "brave" and "passionate" people who have stepped forward "at enormous risk to themselves and careers and families".

Criticising the immigration policies, Mr Tan said: "This country has been divided by government policy on immigration that has pitted citizens against employers and foreigners. They have taken away our jobs and places in schools and businesses. They have displaced our people and broken our families.

"We want to take back our country and places in businesses, SMEs which have suffered because of PAP opening up the country to foreigners."

SingFirst is one of Singapore's newest political parties, having registered only in August last year. It is expected to contest Tanjong Pagar GRC and Jurong GRC. In November, it held its first walkabout in Tanjong Pagar.

Mr Tan said previously that he wanted to contest in Tanjong Pagar GRC because residents there had not had the chance to vote for more than 20 years.

The constituency had been won by PAP in walkovers since it was created in 1991. Founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March this year, had led the GRC for 60 years, since 1955. It is now helmed by labour chief Chan Chun Sing, Minister in the Prime Minister's office.

In 2011, a group of independent candidates led by businessman Ng Teck Siong - chairman of the Socialist Front - made a last-minute bid to contest the GRC, but was disqualified after submitting their nomination papers late.

That year, Mr Tan contested in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC on the Singapore Democratic Party ticket. The party won 39.9 per cent of the vote. Later in August, Mr Tan won 25 per cent of the vote in a four-way fight in the presidential election.

When asked about his plans for Tanjong Pagar GRC should SingFirst's candidates be elected, Mr Tan said that town council concerns are a non-issue.

"We will have a proper handover and scrutiny of the accounts before we take over," said Mr Tan, who stressed that he has people with "town council management experience".

SingFirst is expected to introduce its next batch of candidates on Saturday.