Lively start to Nomination Day, supporters out in force

Former Changi SMC MP Teo Chong Tee (third from left) with PAP supporters at Fengshan Primary School.
Former Changi SMC MP Teo Chong Tee (third from left) with PAP supporters at Fengshan Primary School.ST PHOTO
Ex-opposition politician and retiree Kwan Yue Keng, 66 in the crowd of WP supporters at Yishun Primary School.
Ex-opposition politician and retiree Kwan Yue Keng, 66 in the crowd of WP supporters at Yishun Primary School.ST PHOTO: JIAN XUAN

SINGAPORE - Supporters of the various political parties turned up in force at the nomination centres for the Sept 11 General Election, singing and cheering their candidates on.

It marked a lively start to Nomination Day. Ms Parvathi Annantha, chief executive officer of Sree Maha Mariamman temple, and her group from the temple arrived at Yishun Primary on a chartered bus.

They came to support the People's Action Party team for Nee Soon GRC, which includes Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam. Said Ms Parvathi, 50: "They have done good work for us and we'd like them to continue. So we're lending them our strength today."

Former MP Ong Ah Heng also showed up at Yishun Primary to support the PAP candidates.

Tensions flared at one point between the PAP and Workers' Party supporters, who yelled at each other. But they later calmed down.

Ex-opposition politician and retiree Kwan Yue Keng, 66 was among the throng of WP supporters at Yishun Primary.

He said: "I've been living here for 15 years. Yes, this team is new but they can build on the foundation laid by previous WP team. I'm here to help and offer advice in whatever way I can."

The large PAP contingent at Raffles Institution dwarfed supporters from opposition parties. The groups were separated by a long police barricade at the RI field.

The PAP supporters were singing; they had prepared song sheets and a medley of songs.

PAP member and retired insurance agent Gladys Lim, 69, said: "I'm here because the PAP has contributed a lot to the nation and I've benefited as a member of the pioneer generation."

The WP supporters at RI were instructed to reserve their energy to cheers for WP candidates, and not to boo others. "We all love Singapore," they were told.

Meanwhile, trainee lawyer Charles Yeo, 24, was one of about 40 Reform Party supporters at RI. He said: "I think at the end of the day it is difficult to discern the strength of support for RP from the turn out here."

Said Mr Kevin Raja, 49, another RP supporter: "I think we are not against the administration of the country. We are just here to support more voices in Parliament for policies that can benefit all of Singapore. Don't take RP as a party of protest."

At Fengshan Primary, the PAP provided umbrellas without logos for its supporters, so they could get some shade. Umbrellas with logos have been prepared - these will only be used when the green light to campaign is given.

Retiree Lee Chin San, 73, said he used to be politically neutral but turned WP supporter this time, because of "arrogance" and "lack of competence" by the PAP in issues such as transport.

He said: "LKY used to be a few steps ahead of us. When he says he will get things done, they were done. Now, they say they will get things done, we say, well let's see."

At Assumption Pathway School, Madam Chua Kiok Neo, 90, came in her wheelchair to root for the Singapore Democratic Party, which is contesting Holland-Bukit Timah GRC against the PAP. The Bukit Panjang resident was with her daughter.

At Keming Primary, SingFirst supporter Chua Aye Ming, 45, said he took two days' leave to support the party. The logistics executive said: "I'm attracted by core values of the party - fair society , esteem for the person and family strength."

At Poi Ching School, lawyer Nasuha Marican turned up to support Mr Desmond Choo, one of the new PAP candidates fielded in its Tampines GRC team.

She said: "Pretty good chances, strong team, especially with Minister Heng (Swee Keat) and Masagos (Zulkifli). Should be able to progress with strong supportive leaders."