No party should tell others where to contest, said Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock, making clear that while the party wanted to avoid three-cornered fights in the general election, it is prepared for them.
"Nobody has any right to say 'I don't want you to contest here'. If they feel that they want to come in and contest against us, we also cannot stop them," Dr Tan told The Straits Times yesterday.
He made the point after having breakfast at Mayflower Market and Food Centre in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, located in the newly carved out Kebun Baru single-member constituency (SMC).
The PSP has overlapping claims with four parties that intend to form a bloc: the People's Power Party (PPP), Reform Party (RP), Singaporeans First (SingFirst) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). RP and PSP have both claimed West Coast GRC, while DPP and PSP have both expressed interest in Kebun Baru SMC and Marymount SMC.
Dr Tan said the PSP would inevitably overlap in claims on contests with other parties, as it is new.
"It is very difficult for a new party like PSP. If some of the wards have been fought before by other political parties, I think you cannot 'chope' the place, because we will have no idea, we never fought in all these places," he said. "We don't want to have three-cornered fights. But if we need to, what can we do? It's not our choice."
He stressed that at the end of the day, the immediate opponent for all the opposition parties is the People's Action Party.
At a walkabout yesterday evening in West Coast GRC, which is claimed by both PSP and RP, RP chairman Andy Zhu said his party has been working the ground in the constituency for a long time.
"We have been here since 2011 and 2015. It's not an overnight decision that we made to come here (West Coast GRC) to contest. It's a lot of effort that has been put in over the years. We had planned to come back here and we had announced this previously," he said.
The PSP was among the parties that began meeting residents on the ground yesterday morning, as Singapore entered phase two of its reopening.
With Dr Tan was PSP central executive committee member Michael Chua, and three PSP members - chartered accountant Kayla Low, former SingFirst chairman Ang Yong Guan, and The Independent Singapore's former publisher Kumaran Pillai.
Earlier in the morning, MP Henry Kwek of the PAP also visited the market.
While Dr Tan said the party members with him were going to be candidates, he did not specify who would be fielded in Kebun Baru SMC.
"I have to see whether this chap is capable of managing this type of constituency. We cannot just 'plonk' somebody there, right?"
When asked if he would use his personal relationship with SingFirst chief Tan Jee Say to iron out the clashes, Dr Ang, who joined PSP in March this year, said "it has been attempted a few times".