The second round of meeting between the opposition parties concluded with three possible head-on collisions between contesting parties in the upcoming general election.
The meeting which was held at the headquarters of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) was met with a few setbacks at the very start with the absence of Workers’ Party (WP) and a walkout of Reform Party’s Secretary General, Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
It is unclear why the Workers’ Party did not attend the meeting but it is believed that WP chairman Sylvia Lim had emailed NSP earlier to say it would not be attending.
In the email, Ms Lim said the WP had already made its position clear at the first round of talks on Monday.
Mr Jeyaretnam’s walkout was apparently sparked by SingFirst’s insistance in contesting Ang Mo Kio GRC which RP has set its eyes on.
According to sources in the meeting, SingFirst had offered to take up Ang Mo Kio GRC due to its concern over the possibility that RP does not have enough candidates to contest the wards and it does not wish to see any walkovers for the ruling party.
After walking out of the meeting, Mr Jeyaretnam came back to NSP’s HQ to state that he did not walk out of the meeting and will continue talks with SingFirst on the matter. Secretary General of SingFirst, Tan Jee Say, also told reporters at the end of the meeting that he would work with the RP to resolve the matter.
While the first meeting on Monday took three hours, last night’s meeting ended just before 9pm, about an hour after it began. Sources say that this is due to the absence of the WP from the meeting.
Results of the “horse-trading” between opposition parties
Multi-corner fights expected
Three wards which are expected to have three corner fights are: Ang Mo Kio GRC, Marine Parade GRC and MacPherson SMC. Another ward, Potong Pasir SMC, is also expected to have a three-corner fight, after the former Secretary General of NSP, Tan Lam Siong, said he will be contesting the SMC too.
The WP is set on contesting Marine Parade GRC because Joo Chiat SMC, which was formerly contested by WP Yee Jenn Jong in 2011, has been absorbed into the said GRC.
According to sources, Yee said that it is a fight against the gerrymandering by the ruling party. However, certain parties felt that he would have a better chance of going for an SMC and therefore offered Macpherson SMC in exchange for Marine Parade instead.
On Wednesday night, WP secretary-general Low Thia Khiang, made clear to reporters that the party will not budge from the areas where it has staked a claim, such as in Marine Parade GRC, even though it said it would do its best to avoid three-cornered fights.
Asked if the NSP would back down from Marine Parade GRC, Mr Sebastian Teo, party president, said: “From the very beginning, we already said NSP will not initiate three-cornered fights. But it doesn’t mean that when people force us into three-cornered fights, we will surely give way.”
In his replies to the media, Mr Teo dismissed reports that the NSP threatened to contest in Aljunied GRC, which is currently held by the WP: “That is not correct, we didn’t say that.”
He explained to the media, “During the discussion, someone asked the WP how they would feel if the other opposition parties formed a team and muscled in on Aljunied GRC,”
Mr Goh Meng Seng from People’s Power Party (PPP) also shared the same view by saying that someone leaked out info which was untrue and which was quoted out of context.[youtube id=”gICrtFi3e24″ align=”center” mode=”normal”]