The Nomination Day on Tuesday (30 June) saw the revelation of a surprise face-off in East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC), a battle between former Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat – from the People’s Action Party (PAP) – and Nicole Seah, who has made a comeback as a member of the Workers’ Party (WP).
Apart from Ms Seah, the WP team includes Kenneth Foo, Dylan Ng, Terence Tan, and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim. They will be up against the PAP team comprises Mr Heng, Maliki Osman, Cheryl Chan, Jessica Tan, and new face Tan Kiat How.
While many were curious on the reason behind Mr Heng’s decision to leave Tampines GRC – where he has been the MP since 2011 – and move to contest in East Coast GRC, others were trying to “grasp” his speech on Nomination Day proceedings.
During his speech, the PAP’s First Assistant Secretary-General seems to have mentioned “East Coast” incessantly.
“For our East Coast residents, we also have a plan for the East Coast. We have a… East Coast… Singapore… we have it together… an East Coast plan. We care at East Coast,” said Mr Heng.
He continued, “So we look forward to working closely together, with our residents … to endeavour the East Coast and the whole of Singapore to emerge from this stronger.”
Many netizens penned their comments on the video of his speech – which was posted on TOC Facebook page – noting that all they heard from Mr Heng – who is tipped to be the next Prime Minister – was “East Coast”.
Meanwhile, some netizens theorised that Mr Heng’s decision to move to East Coast GRC was made in the last minute, which explained why his speech seems unprepared.
Heng Swee Keat says he decided to move to East Coast GRC as it cannot afford a ‘succession gap’
As for Mr Heng’s decision to move to East Coast GRC, he shared on Facebook yesterday that the constituency cannot afford a “succession gap” in such uncertain times thus the decision was made.
In his post, he noted that he had discussed the move with PAP’s Secretary-General Lee Hsien Loong.
“The question was: should I move to East Coast? I thought long and hard about it. After serving for almost a decade, I am very attached to Tampines and the people there,” said Mr Heng.
Noting that the PAP has fielded a “very good team” in Tampines GRC, he stated that he has a strong successor in former Senior Minister for State Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who has moved over from Ang Mo Kio GRC.
“If I move, I can do my part in East Coast,” Mr Heng remarked. “We cannot afford a gap in East Coast in these uncertain times. We need a full team that can take care of the residents and position them to come out of this crisis stronger than before.”
“Our team looks forward to working together with our residents, to get through this crisis safely, to continue to build the East Coast spirit of care and support for one another, and to emerge stronger,” he added.