WP rebuffs SDP's joint campaign proposal

The Workers' Party (WP) said on Saturday it will stick to its own plans to contest in Punggol East, in response to a proposal from the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) to field a "unity candidate" for the by-election.

"The Workers' Party has noted SDP's proposal. Our focus continues to be fulfilling our promise to offer a choice to voters in Punggol East," said WP media team chair Mr Gerald Giam in a short e-mailed answer to The Straits Times early Saturday morning.

The party was responding to a proposal tabled by SDP on Friday to conduct a joint campaign where a SDP candidate would be fielded.

If elected, he would push SDP policies in Parliament and chair the town council, while the WP would run the council's daily operations.

This is the second time WP has rebuffed SDP's advances.

Earlier in the week, the SDP had asked to meet the WP to discuss how to avoid a three-cornered fight, to which WP chairman Sylvia Lim said her party would contest in the election.

The SDP's proposal drew flak from netizens yesterday, who left comments on the SDP's website and Facebook pages criticising the idea as unfairly benefitting SDP.

"If elected, the SDP MP gets a seat and the WP does the work. Please educate me as to how this is a 'compromise'," said one netizen called UncleJames Lee on SDP's Facebook page.

The SDP defended its proposal last night in a comment on its website, saying it would add another party's voice to Parliament.

"The reason why we proposed such an arrangement is that WP already has MPs in Parliament. An MP from the SDP would add another party's voice to the debate.

"That said, this is a proposal. We would be happy to discuss alternative arrangements. The important point is that SDP and WP should talk and work things out in the spirit of compromise and cooperation to avoid a three-corner fight," it said.

The WP could reveal its candidate for Punggol East as early as Saturday. Party insiders have tipped Mr Giam, its Non-Constituency MP, as the front runner.

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