By Ariffin Sha
As Potong Pasir SMC shapes up for a four-way battle in the next General Election, Reform Party (RP) chief, Kenneth Jeyaretnam, has chided fellow opposition parties which have shown interest in the ward.
Mr Jeyaretnam singled out the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and independent candidate, Tan Lam Siong, for not allowing Mrs Lina Chiam, who lost Potong Pasir SMC in 2011 by a mere 114 votes, to have a straight one-to-one fight with the PAP’s Sitoh Yihpin in the upcoming elections.
Both the DPP and Mr Tan, who was the secretary general of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) for 5 months until his resignation recently, have said they are interested in contesting the SMC.
Mr Jeyaretnam, however, urged them to walk the talk when they spoke of ‘opposition unity.’
He stressed on the narrow margin by which Mrs Chiam lost to Mr Sitoh in the 2011 general election to illustrate how every vote mattered and that a four-cornered fight would dilute the opposition votes.
In a Facebook post, Mr Jeyaretanam said,
Why should Lina Chiam have to defend her decision? 114. One hundred and fourteen. That’s how many votes this NCMP lost by. Let’s actually get behind all this talk of Opposition Unity and make it happen. There is no way Lina should have to defend herself over standing in her constituency. What’s more in the last 4 years she has shown she can stand on her own two feet and speak well in parliament. It would make no sense to put another Party in there now. Her seat will be one of the easier ones to swing and we should all get behind her to put that opposition seat back into parliament. It’s the closest we have to a sure thing. Please show your support for the opposition and show Lina Chiam that we won’t forsake her!
Mrs Chiam said last week that even in the face of a four-cornered fight, she would never forsake Potong Pasir.
The RP chief was not alone in his criticisms of DPP’s and Lam Siong’s decision to stand in Potong Pasir as this was a sentiment shared by many netizens.
Mrs Chiam has been assisting her husband, Mr Chiam See Tong, when he was the constituency’s Member of Parliament for 27 years, until the seat was lost to the PAP in 2011.
Mrs Chiam has, nonetheless, continued to walk the ground and kept her presence there the last four years.
The writer, who writes for TOC, is also a volunteer with the Singapore People’s Party (SPP).