SINGAPORE - The full set of chess pieces at both ends of the board for General Election 2015 are almost in place.
Barring any surprises, voters will have a clearer picture of who is contesting their towns once the Workers' Party (WP) unveils its final slate of candidates today (Aug 31), ahead of Nomination Day tomorrow. The Singapore Democratic Party, Reform Party and Singaporeans First have also named their candidates.
The People's Action Party was first to muster - presenting all the 89 candidates it plans to field by last Friday and rolling out its campaign manifesto the next day.
The WP also unveiled its manifesto last Saturday, but it was overshadowed by a Ministry of National Development statement that accused the WP town council of grossly overpaying its former managing agent, FM Solutions & Services (FMSS).
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The ministry's claims continued to play out over a second day, with National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan describing the FMSS contract as a "very rich one", noting the managing agent enjoyed profits even after paying the shareholders and directors over $3 million a year. He asked if this was still the amount being paid to the town council's current management.
After the FMSS contract expired in July and a three-week tender saw no bids, the WP stepped in to manage its town council directly.
"The WP has to recruit its own general manager, its own secretary. Is it also rewarding them $3 million a year, since it thinks $3 million is fine? If not, then how do you explain that there was no overpayment? The point is: Why are they making such an arrangement to reward their supporters and friends?" Mr Khaw asked.
That was refuted by WP chairman Sylvia Lim at a press conference to introduce four more of her party's candidates yesterday. She said Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council will file its financial statements for FY2014/2015 today and they will show a marked improvement in its coffers.
She also said previously that the payments made to FMSS were in accordance with contracts, hence cannot be regarded as overpayment.
Candidates from all parties were out in force yesterday engaging residents, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Veteran politician Chiam See Tong, who announced he would not be contesting this election, unveiled a Singapore People's Party team that will stand in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.