On the ground: Opposition

WP visits East Coast and Fengshan

WP member Mohamed Fairoz Shariff (centre, with Aljunied GRC MP Faisal Abdul Manap) at the Fengshan Block 85 Market and Food Centre yesterday.
WP member Mohamed Fairoz Shariff (centre, with Aljunied GRC MP Faisal Abdul Manap) at the Fengshan Block 85 Market and Food Centre yesterday.ST PHOTO: THAM YUEN-C

The likely Workers' Party (WP) candidates for East Coast GRC and Fengshan SMC made their first public appearance together yesterday, visiting major markets there to meet stallholders and residents.

Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam, 37, who was part of the WP's East Coast team, which garnered 45.2 per cent of the vote in the 2011 General Election, is almost certain to enter the fray once again in the constituency.

He was joined yesterday by other potential candidates: National University of Singapore associate professor and sociologist Daniel Goh, 42; law firm partner Dennis Tan, 44; research and consultancy firm chief executive and former civil servant Leon Perera, 44; and librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

East Coast GRC was a five-MP constituency at the last general election, but will be a four-MP constituency at the next one. This means three of the four new faces could be Mr Giam's running mates, while one might go it alone in Fengshan SMC.

Also at the walkabout were WP chief Low Thia Khiang, 58, Aljunied GRC MPs Sylvia Lim, 50, Chen Show Mao, 54, and Faisal Abdul Manap, 40, and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat, 53.

Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, 50, who is expected to lead the WP team in Marine Parade GRC, was there too, with potential candidate Terence Tan, 43, a lawyer who has been doing house visits.

The GRC will absorb Joo Chiat SMC, where Mr Yee stood in 2011 and lost by 388 votes to Mr Charles Chong of the People's Action Party.

The WP has been walking the ground daily in recent weeks, with the elections expected next month.

It said it has not finalised its candidates or where they will stand.

Speaking to reporters after yesterday's walkabout, WP chairman Sylvia Lim said the party will formally introduce its candidates after National Day.

The party said it will also contest Jalan Besar and Nee Soon GRCs, as well as Sengkang West and MacPherson SMCs.

Last night, the WP held a Hari Raya dinner in Aljunied GRC's Kaki Bukit ward, attended by party leaders - and the man who stepped down last week from his post as chairman of the PAP branch in the ward, Mr Kahar Hassan, 45.

Mr Kahar said Mr Faisal had invited him to the dinner "some time back", and he was there in his personal capacity.

When asked by reporters if he had joined the WP, Mr Kahar said: "That will never happen - I've been a (PAP) member for 20 years. I was invited to this dinner a long time ago."

Mr Faisal told reporters that he invited Mr Kahar to the dinner because they both serve residents in the area.

"We have a working relationship... sometimes I refer residents to him, and sometimes he refers residents to me," he said.

Chong Zi Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'WP visits East Coast and Fengshan'. Print Edition | Subscribe