SINGAPORE - Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Tan Cheng Bock stressed his friendship with Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) president Desmond Lim Bak Chuan during a visit to Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC on Monday (July 6), before Mr Lim's party started its walkabout in Elias Road.
Dr Tan told reporters that he was visiting Mr Lim as part of his visits to different political parties to show his support for them.
"I never forget a friend (and Mr Lim) has helped many people," said Dr Tan, referring to the charity work that Mr Lim's SDA has done for residents in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, including the distribution of free lunches.
He added that he, too, had been a beneficiary of Mr Lim's kindness.
Dr Tan said that Mr Lim had, among other things, given him advice on how to set up a political party and the pitfalls to look out for.
He said: "When I was in need, and nobody came to help me, he was the one who came to help."
But Dr Tan stopped short of endorsing Mr Lim's party in the first multi-party fight in a group representation constituency since 1992.
"Of course, I endorse all the opposition parties," he said, adding that he was saddened by the contest between the SDA and the Peoples Voice (PV) against the People's Action Party.
When asked if Mr Lim had approached him to join the SDA, Dr Tan, who is contesting West Coast GRC with a PSP team, said: "I didn't want to disturb his party. He has his own constituency (to contest) and a whole set-up. I didn't want to disturb."
During the meeting, the SDA presented Dr Tan with a flower garland and a poster of Dr Tan and Mr Lim photographed at various events. The SDA said it prepared the poster, which has the words "One Bond, One Heart For Singapore" on it.
The SDA has contested the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in every general election since 2006.
It has been held by the PAP since the GRC was formed in 2001.
The PAP won 72.89 per cent of the vote in the 2015 General Election, with the SDA claiming 27.11 per cent.
The PV and the SDA had engaged in a war of words after both expressed interest in the GRC ahead of Nomination Day.
Mr Lim said that his party sent messages to PV chief Lim Tean to discuss the possibility of avoiding a three-cornered fight in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
However, in an interview with the media before Nomination Day, Mr Lim Tean said the SDA's Mr Lim had told him to pull out of the contest.
Mr Lim Tean said he refused, telling the media that his party was a bigger threat to the PAP.
The SDA's Mr Lim said his meeting with Dr Tan on Monday was to exemplify unity among opposition parties here.
He said: "We want to work with other parties who have a common goal. There is no point in having various parties lumped together just because we are contesting against the ruling party."
He added: "The infighting will also hurt us in the long run."