The opposition

NSP guns for 2 GRCs, 2 SMCs

NSP candidates for Sembawang GRC (from left) Spencer Ng, Yadzeth Haris, Kevryn Lim and Eugene Yeo meeting residents at a coffee shop at Block 834, Woodlands Street 83, yesterday.
NSP candidates for Sembawang GRC (from left) Spencer Ng, Yadzeth Haris, Kevryn Lim and Eugene Yeo meeting residents at a coffee shop at Block 834, Woodlands Street 83, yesterday.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

After weeks of being in the news for all the wrong reasons, the National Solidarity Party (NSP) yesterday fielded 12 candidates for two group representation constituencies and two single-member constituencies.

The party was bogged down by the resignations of senior office-bearers and indecision over whether it should contest MacPherson SMC.

Yesterday, it sent five-member teams to Tampines and Sembawang GRCs, went to Pioneer SMC and decided to create a three-cornered fight in MacPherson SMC.

In Tampines, it is fielding Cambridge-educated legal consultant Lim Tean,50, executive director Sebastian Teo, 67, business director Reno Fong, 46, business consultant Nor Lella Mardiiiah Mohamed, 41, and business administrator Choong Hon Heng, 45. They are up against the People's Action Party incumbents led by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Its Sembawang team of Mr Spencer Ng, 36, Eugene Yeo, 39, Ms Kevryn Lim, 26, Mr Yadzeth Haris, 52, and Mr Abdul Rasheed, 75, will do battle with the PAP team led by National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Mr Elvin Ong, 37, is in a straight fight with the PAP in Pioneer SMC and Mr Cheo Chai Chen, 64, is in MacPherson, which has candidates from the PAP and the Workers' Party as well.

Mr Lim Tean preferred not to dwell on the past when asked how the NSP's chances would be affected by the recent resignations of two key members - acting secretary-general Hazel Poa and central executive committee member Mohamed Fazli Talip.

Now the party's acting secretary general, Mr Lim said those were events "that happened a couple of weeks ago that we want to put behind us". "We are now focusing on the General Election ahead of us. We have put forward what I believe to be a very exciting slate of candidates and we are going to talk about the issues that are important to Singaporeans," he said.

He did not think the NSP's chances at the polls would be hurt by its recent troubles, adding that it is healthy to have a difference of opinions in a democratic party.

"I really do not think that what we have experienced in the last two weeks is going to affect us in this election," he added.

He told The Straits Times that the critical issues facing Singapore were the influx of foreign workers, overpopulation and the Central Provident Fund.

"So let's talk about these issues. Let's not be sidetracked, like what the PAP is trying to (do, by talking) about town councils, which are not relevant to what most Singaporeans are experiencing," he said.

The NSP, which contested Tampines GRC in 2011 and garnered 42.8 per cent of the vote, hopes to do better this year.

"We have put forward our best team in Tampines," said Mr Lim, who also addressed more than 20 party supporters at the Nomination Centre at Poi Ching School.

One issue close to the heart of the NSP's Sembawang GRC candidate Ms Lim is the plight of single mothers. The mother of a two-year-old son, who is separated from her husband, said: "I think I'm one of the best candidates as I'm a single mother myself.

"We don't get the same benefits as wedded couples, but our children are Singaporeans. So why are we being discriminated against?

"It's not fair. Our kids still serve national service... Single mothers also pay our taxes and contribute to society, why are we not getting equal benefits?"

The PAP's Tampines team led by Mr Heng includes Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Masagos Zulkifli, Mr Baey Yam Keng, and newcomers Desmond Choo, who lost twice to the WP in Hougang, and Cheng Li Hui.

Mr Heng said at a press conference after nominations closed his team is taking the election seriously as Singapore is at a turning point.

"It is about our future, it is about the future of our children," he said. "We have in our national manifesto, a plan to take Singapore forward. And everything that we do is with Singaporeans, for Singaporeans."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2015, with the headline 'NSP guns for 2 GRCs, 2 SMCs'. Print Edition | Subscribe