NSP's Steve Chia running in MacPherson?

Dr Ang Yong Guan (left) from Singaporeans First Party shaking hands with Mr Steve Chia from National Solidarity Party during their respective walkabouts around Tampines Street 81 on July 26.
Dr Ang Yong Guan (left) from Singaporeans First Party shaking hands with Mr Steve Chia from National Solidarity Party during their respective walkabouts around Tampines Street 81 on July 26.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - National Solidarity Party (NSP) council member Steve Chia ran in MacPherson estate on Friday.

The former non-constituency MP posted on this Facebook page early Friday morning saying: "Just completed two rounds around the perimeter of MacPherson SMC early morning. Greeted many residents who have to get up early to go for work."

Mr Chia, an avid runner who regularly takes part in endurance races, also posted two screenshots from a smartphone running app that showed him taking two loops around the estate. Accompanying one of the images was a post that said, "Saw many areas that needs improvement".

His Facebook post comes two days after the NSP made a surprise surprise U-turn to contest MacPherson SMC. The opposition party has yet to announce who it would field at the coming general elections, widely expected to be held next month. But the latest post by Mr Chia gave the strongest hint yet on who the party may field as a candidate for the SMC.

When asked by followers of his Facebook page on whether he will be contesting in MacPherson, he replied: "Yes, we will be committed to the residents of MacPherson SMC," without elaborating further.

The party announced in a statement on Wednesday that it had a change of heart after receiving "feedback and pledges of support" from residents of the two constituencies, where it had also contested at the last polls in 2011.

Therefore, it has decided to contest MacPherson SMC, given its outreach efforts there before the previous general election. "This decision made by the CEC is final, and reflects our view that maintaining Opposition unity requires mutual respect and a spirit of compromise on the part of all parties," it added.

Just over an hour later, NSP secretary-general Hazel Poa announced that she had quit the party as she disagreed with the decision.

The NSP had said on Aug 10, in a statement signed by Ms Poa, that it would not contest MacPherson and Marine Parade GRC to avoid three-way fights with the WP.

This after two rounds of horse-trading talks failed to resolve its overlapping claims with the Workers' Party (WP).

In the recent elections boundary review, MacPherson SMC was carved out as a single-seat from Marine Parade GRC, where NSP contested in 2011. The GRC also absorbed the Joo Chiat single-seat ward, which was contested by the WP.