At the nomination centres

Three slip-ups rectified before High Noon

PAP's Mr S. Iswaran (right) alerting Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam to a mistake in the team's nomination form yesterday.
PAP's Mr S. Iswaran (right) alerting Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam to a mistake in the team's nomination form yesterday.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Contests in three constituencies almost did not happen owing to slip-ups by opposition parties yesterday when filing their nomination papers.

But for two of them - Reform Party (RP) and Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) - their rivals from the People's Action Party (PAP) saved the day for them.

Both had failed to indicate whether they were contesting as members of a political party or as independents, an omission that could have disqualified them from contesting the election.

The RP team had its slip-up pointed out by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office.

He was told about it by a fellow party member who had spotted the omission on the forms - put up on a notice board at the nomination centre in Keming Primary School . He then alerted RP secretary- general Kenneth Jeyaretnam, and the issue was resolved in the presence of the returning officer at the nomination centre.

Mr Iswaran, who is defending West Coast GRC, told the media later: "We wanted to point it out to them so that they have enough time to rectify it early and ensure their forms were in order."

He added: "We want to make sure that the voters of West Coast GRC have a choice. We want to have a fair fight and then let the voters choose."

The omission could have led to a technical disqualification of the team, comprising Mr Jeyaretnam, party chairman Andy Zhu, Ms Noraini Yunus and Mr Darren Soh.

Mr Zhu later said he had "missed" seeing the "delete where appropriate" clause.

He told The Straits Times: "It was a kind gesture by Mr S. Iswaran."

The PAP team defending West Coast GRC is made up of co-anchor ministers Lim Hng Kiang and Mr Iswaran, as well as Ms Foo Mee Har and Mr Patrick Tay.

Making the same mistake at the same centre was the SDP's Ms Jaslyn Go, who was told about it by her opponent Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, who is defending single-seat Yuhua.

"We didn't want to make it a big issue," Ms Fu told reporters.

"We thought a contest would be much better than to have them disqualified."

Over at the nomination centre in Bendemeer Primary School, Singaporeans First Party (SingFirst) had failed to indicate on the form which constituency it was contesting. A party member tried to amend the form on the notice board but was stopped by an election official. But after consulting other officials, he was allowed to fill in the missing information.

The SingFirst team, which is contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC, comprises party chief Tan Jee Say, Dr Ang Yong Guan, Mr Chirag Desai, Mr Melvyn Chiu and Mr Fahmi Rais.

As the issues were rectified before the noon deadline, Singapore will see contests in all 89 seats for the first time since independence.

• Additional reporting by Maria Almenoar, Toh Yong Chuan and Carolyn Khew.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2015, with the headline 'Three slip-ups rectified before High Noon'. Print Edition | Subscribe