Singapore GE2020: Politicians out and about on last weekend before Nomination Day

Politicians from various parties on walkabouts in (clockwise from top left) West Coast GRC, Aljunied GRC, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, MacPherson SMC, Marine Parade GRC and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
Politicians from various parties on walkabouts in (clockwise from top left) West Coast GRC, Aljunied GRC, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, MacPherson SMC, Marine Parade GRC and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.PHOTOS: AW CHENG WEI, GAVIN FOO, KELVIN CHNG, LIM YAOHUI, SHINTARO TAY, LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Politicians from various parties were out in force on the last weekend before Nomination Day, visiting markets and hawker centres on Saturday morning (June 27).

West Coast GRC

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran and Ms Foo Mee Har were at Teban Gardens Market and Food Centre, interacting with members of the public.

During the walkabout, Mr Heng said the party's new face Ivan Lim should clarify the online criticisms he has received since being introduced on Wednesday.

"I have emphasised that integrity and character are very important in our candidates. And if there's any complaints, it should be properly clarified," he said. "So I would like to see Ivan himself coming out to clarify this comment, so that we can hear both sides of the story."

Members of the Progress Singapore Party, led by party chief Tan Cheng Bock, were at Block 726 West Coast Market Square, greeting residents. Dr Tan is expected to contest West Coast GRC.

Aljunied GRC

Mr Leon Perera, part of the Workers' Party line-up set to contest Aljunied GRC, greeted a resident at Block 538 Bedok North Street 3. The party held one of its first big market visits on Saturday, with nearly all party leaders present. WP chief Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim, Mr Gerald Giam and Mr Faisal Manap - all candidates for Aljunied GRC - were also at the walkabout.

Mr Shamsul Kamar, a grassroots adviser in the GRC where he is expected to contest for the PAP, was distributing food rations to the elderly and shopping vouchers to needy residents at Kaki Bukit Community Centre.

In a Facebook post later on Saturday, he said regardless of who will be standing for the elections, “our commitment to help residents cope through this difficult period is paramount”. 

“The work that will be cut out for us now is to secure Our Lives, Our Jobs And Our Future,” he wrote, citing the PAP’s campaign slogan for this election. But he said: “I was not on the ground to campaign for the elections this morning. Perhaps it was somebody else.”

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

The four-man Singapore People's Party (SPP) team for Bishan Toa-Payoh GRC led by party chief Steve Chia, 49, was accompanied by former party chairman Mrs Lina Chiam, 71, during a visit to the market at Block 127 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh and nearby coffee shops on Saturday morning.

Mrs Chiam, who twice contested Potong Pasir SMC after her husband Mr Chiam See Tong, 85, left in 2011 to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh, told reporters that it was time for the couple to retire and spend their "golden years" together after more than four decades in political life.

"Mr Chiam is OK. He has got mobility issues but his heart is still with our party... He knows what is happening and he will be watching the news," she said.

On her decision to step away from electoral politics, she added: "I don't have regrets. In politics, there are ups and downs.

"Our biggest happiness is that the party still goes on and there are people still following us."

 
 

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Singapore Democratic Alliance chairman Desmond Lim was out on a walkabout at Edgefield Walk in Punggol with party members and SDA candidates for the constituency. While the party faces a three-cornered fight there with the Peoples Voice party, SDA chief media officer Harminder Pal Singh told reporters that both sides are in discussions.

"We have been urging many different parties... to not have a three-cornered fight," he said, speaking to reporters on Saturday at the party walkabout in Punggol. "Opposition unity is very important."

Marine Parade GRC

Incumbent Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin had breakfast with PAP new face Mohd Fahmi Aliman at Haig Road Food Centre on Saturday morning. Mr Fahmi is tipped to replace Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef.

Dr Tan See Leng also had breakfast this morning in the constituency, at Marine Terrace. Dr Tan is expected to replace Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, who on Thursday said he would be retiring as an MP after 44 years.

Later that day, Dr Tan distributed mosquito repellent and leaflets to residents of Blk 71 Marine Drive, to educate them about dengue prevention.

 
 
 

MacPherson SMC

People's Power Party chief Goh Meng Seng said during a walkabout in MacPherson that this would be his last contest in a general election.

"When I first got involved in politics, I told my wife to give me 15 years. But now, I've already crossed over 20 years. My daughter who wasn't even born then has now grown up. I don't want to put my family through too much," he said.

"Every election, we will lose money, I even sold my flat to finance the second one," he added, referring to the 2011 General Election where he contested Tampines GRC.

Mr Goh made his political debut when he contested Aljunied GRC with the Workers' Party in the 2006 General Election.

He was accompanied on his walkabout by members from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) including secretary-general Mohamad Hamim Aliyas, who confirmed that the DPP will not be contesting any constituency this election but will be supporting PPP and Mr Goh in his campaign for the MacPherson single seat.

Marsiling Yew-Tee GRC

After his morning at West Coast, Mr Heng also visited Causeway Point in Woodlands, with Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

The mall is in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, where Mr Wong is the incumbent anchor minister who will likely lead the PAP’s four-person team into the polls.

Mr Zaqy is expected to stand in the GRC, where he has been a grassroots adviser after Madam Halimah Yacob left in 2017 and was elected as the President. He is currently an incumbent for Chua Chu Kang GRC.

Hougang SMC

Mr Dennis Tan, WP candidate for Hougang SMC, was at a monthly food distribution drive in Hougang Ave 3 at about 2pm.

The initiative helps the lower income and needy families in the Hougang area, and the food is sponsored by a volunteer welfare organisation. Residents who were there for the distribution effort said Mr Tan and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat, who is stepping down, are a familiar sight at the drive. 

Tanjong Pagar GRC

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was in Tanjong Pagar GRC. The younger Mr Lee was introduced as a PSP member this week, and was with Mr Terence Soon, the party’s candidate for the constituency.

They interacted with diners at Holland Village Food Centre and also went to HDB blocks in Holland Close on home visits, where they handed out fliers. 

Additional reporting by Lim Min Zhang, Audrey Tan, Kok Yufeng, Aw Cheng Wei, Joyce Lim, Fabian Koh, Toh Ting Wei, Tan Tam Mei and Jean Iau