In a media interview today (28 July), NCMP Lina Chiam said that she will continue to contest in Potong Pasir SMC and that her party “will not budge” even if there’s a 3-cornered fight in Potong Pasir.
“The SPP will not budge and I’ll still be standing in Potong Pasir even if it’s a three-cornered fight. Because I promised the people of Potong Pasir that I’ll return and I shall return,” Mrs Chiam said.
“I’ll be continuing to do what is needed for the residents of Potong Pasir regarding feedback, whatever improvements that they want to that still needed to be done. I’ll be continuing to do the work that was left by Mr Chiam.”
Mrs Chiam lost to PAP MP Sitoh Yih Pin by just 114 votes in GE 2011.
Financial counsellor Leong Sze Hian told TRE that Mrs Chiam has been attending to residents every week even though she isn’t their elected MP. Mr Leong himself is helping Mrs Chiam in Potong Pasir by giving free financial counselling to the residents.
“I’ve been helping Mrs Chiam for a few years already. She herself has also made it a point to meet the residents every week even though she is not their MP,” Mr Leong told TRE earlier in response to NTUC Chief Chan Chun Sing’s recent remarks about opposition politicians may be contesting in elections not for the residents but only for winning elections (‘Chan to oppo parties: Your heart must be pure‘).
“In fact, we see residents from all over Singapore. We don’t turn them away just because they are not from Potong Pasir,” Mr Leong added.
DPP Pwee ‘optimistic’ about Potong Pasir
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has earlier indicated that they also want to contest in Potong Pasir. In fact, DPP’s secretary-general, Mr Benjamin Pwee, is optimistic regardless of how many people will be contesting.
“If we have one very strong opposition candidate that can stand up against the PAP, it will ultimately be a two-man fight and not a three-cornered fight. But definitely we feel that it would be wonderful to have a very strong alternative candidate that can stand in Potong Pasir against Sitoh Yih Pin and win Potong Pasir back from the PAP,” said Mr Pwee.
However, quite a number of netizens are not enthusiastic to see a three-cornered fight in Potong Pasir (‘DPP slammed for provoking multi-cornered fights‘). Many are quick to condemn the actions of DPP with one saying on TRE:
“Guaranteed to lose terok terok if you enter into a 3-cornered fight. Don’t tiew nian ok.”
“Fly-by-night parties that ‘wake’ up during GEs gunning for multi-cornered fights better understand their own strength before they jump. Opposition supporters will vote for only credible and viable candidates, not the more vocal or those with dubious track record.”
Yet another wrote a heartfelt open letter to Mr Pwee (‘A heartfelt open letter to DPP’s Benjamin Pwee‘):
Dear Mr Pwee :
I will be nice to you.
The task at hand is to free Singapore from the curse of the great white sharks, or at least put up an effective check on their excesses. I do not know what your objectives are, but surely I do think that they are noble and that you have very good alternative plans for the people, and that you would be an effective voice in Parliament if you and your colleagues get voted in.
However, please be realistic at this moment in time. We are at a very crucial point in history – make or break. The stake is monumental : the taking back of Singapore from the sharks and returning it to Singaporeans.
It is not about catching rats, or building a walkway, or fighting dengue or making buses more reliable and less crowded (which not even the WP has the ability yet). Not the local neighbourhood issues. It is not about which party can serve which HDB blocks better. WE are all past there.
We are now tackling gigantic national issues which have plagued Singaporeans at all levels –
- the non-stop intake of immigrants
- the ever squeezing of transportation
- diminishing apartment sizes (corridors shrunk to < 1.2m)
- the fixation on extracting more and more money from the people
- turning our PMETs into taxi drivers and security guards
- refusal to let us claim our CPF at 55
Only by going 1-to-1 against the PAP do we have any hope of increasing Opposition seats in Parliament. Please work out a plan with the other parties, in a coordinated attack plan.
Despite an absence from the electoral scene for some 14 years, this is not the first time the DPP has entered into multi-cornered fights. In 1997, a 4-cornered fight in Chua Chu Kang SMC saw DPP’s Tan Soo Phuan lose his deposit with a mere 1.9% of the valid votes. This set a new record for the lowest share of popular votes until 2013 when SDA had less than 1% of the votes.
Will 2015 prove to be déjà vu for DPP?
More promises of facilities for Potong Pasir from PAP MP Sitoh if elected
Meanwhile, PAP MP Sitoh Yih Pin said more facilities are in the pipeline if he is re-elected in Potong Pasir.
“Our responsibility and focus and our attention must be to the residents and the voters there. While we have done a lot in the last four-and-a-half years, both in terms of hardware and software, a lot more needs to be done in the next five years,” said Mr Sitoh.
“So when the election comes, I hope our voters can give me another opportunity to complete the journey we have started.”
In 2006 before the GE that year, Mr Sitoh was gunning for Potong Pasir. At the time, Mr Chiam was the incumbent MP and he was trying to unseat Mr Chiam then.
He also promised a lot of things as reported by ST on 5 Feb 2006 [Link]:
PAP’s Sitoh has 10-year facelift plan for Potong Pasir
THE People’s Action Party (PAP) man in Potong Pasir, Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, provided clear indications that he will contest the next election there when he spoke yesterday of his 10-year plan for the opposition-held ward.
WOULD YOU LIKE MORE?
Speaking before he helped serve abalone porridge to some 4,000 residents attending a Chinese New Year celebration he hosts annually, he said that he wants to see the constituency transformed. Through what he termed his ‘five-plus-five-year’ plan – till 2011 and 2016 – he hopes to have lifts upgraded and stopping on every floor as this will benefit the ageing population in HDB estates there.
And the Kallang River, which runs through the ward, will be given a facelift so canoeists and watersports enthusiasts can use it, while joggers and others can have activities along its banks.
Fuller details will be made known over the next two months, he said.
Mr Sitoh, who is adviser to grassroots organisations in the constituency, contested the 2001 election but lost to long-serving Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance by just 751 votes.
He has remained active there since, meeting residents and organising activities, including offering shark’s fin soup for $1 during National Day celebrations, free haircuts for senior citizens and organising $88 one-night trips to Port Dickson in Malaysia.
Although there have been rumours recently that these would be suspended if Mr Sitoh loses to Mr Chiam again, the 42-year-old accountant said that such talk was unfounded.
‘The ice-cream auntie told me people think that maybe next year, there won’t be abalone porridge any more,’ Mr Sitoh told residents, speaking in both English and Mandarin.
‘But that’s not true. We will continue to do these as long as you support us and our programmes.’
Since winning Potong Pasir in 2011, it’s not known if he still continues to dish out abalone porridge to the residents there.
What do you think?
This article was first published in TREmeritus.com