SINGAPORE - The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) welcomed the decision by other opposition parties not to contest in the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election, with party chief Chee Soon Juan saying on Sunday (April 17) that he is glad there will be a straight fight with the ruling People's Action Party.
"We are very glad to see, at least, that there is this one-to-one contest with the PAP," said Dr Chee, who was asked about the National Solidarity Party's (NSP) statement on Friday that it would not contest there.
Other opposition parties, such as the Workers' Party, the Singaporeans First party , the Democratic Progressive Party and the People's Power Party, had earlier also ruled out running for the seat. The NSP is the latest to do so.
Dr Chee was named on March 20 as SDP's candidate for the coming by-election, a week after incumbent MP David Ong's shock resignation over a personal indiscretion. Lawyer and long-time grassroots leader Murali Pillai was introduced as the PAP's candidate a day later.
A date has yet to be announced for the by-election. But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said he will call it in due time.
Dr Chee, who was walking the ground in Bukit Batok on Sunday, said: "We've done our part as well, in the past, to ensure that the opposition doesn't split the votes and then let the PAP candidate sweep into Parliament. So that's a good sign, and we just want to look forward and say, if it's going to be a one-to-one contest, then we are looking forward very much to that."
He added that the SDP has already gone around to all the estates in the constituency once, and will start on its second round of house visits.
"Sometimes people come home late at night, we might just concentrate more on the weekends so chances of catching them are just a little bit more," he said.
"So right now, it's just a matter of making our ground campaign strategy just a little bit more tailored, more specific."
Since being announced as candidates, both Dr Chee and Mr Murali have been walking the ground in the constituency.
In several Facebook posts on Sunday, Mr Murali shared pictures taken with residents during house visits on Saturday.
Dr Chee stood in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC in last September's general election, while Mr Murali was part of the five-man PAP team that narrowly lost in Aljunied GRC against the Workers' Party.