The shared photo and lunch meeting between Dr Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary General of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), and Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the founder and chairman of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), has generated considerable attention and sparking speculation regarding a potential collaboration between these two alternative political parties in Singapore.
On Tuesday (6 Jun), Dr Chee posted a photo and mentioned that Dr Tan was enjoying lunch with friends at his restaurant, Orange and Teal.
Dr Chee is well-known for his efforts to operate his restaurant not only as a business but also as a gathering place for Singaporeans to engage in intelligent discussions and lively debates.
Furthermore, Dr Chee shared that despite recently experiencing a bout of illness, the 83-year-old Dr Tan appeared “hale and hearty,” exhibiting a fit and robust state of health.
“Eat up, Doc, we need to stay fit for the battle ahead – yes, we talked about that too,” Dr Chee said, possible implying to the coming General Election (GE).
Dr Tan earlier stated his readiness to run in the upcoming 2025 GE
On 27 May, Dr Tan stated his readiness to run in the upcoming 2025 GE, as he never shies away from a fight.
“I always say, as long as I am relevant, I’ll be there. I never run away from a fight, and 2025 is a very challenging (fight).”
“I am so far still very, very prepared for (GE)2025,” he told the press during a press conference.
In the 2020 General Election, the PSP fielded candidates in nine constituencies, competing for a total of 24 seats. Notably, party founder Dr Tan Cheng Bock – a former People’s Action Party Member of Parliament – contested in the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
Emerging victorious in a closely contested battle against the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) at that time, the People’s Action Party (PAP) team, led by S. Iswaran and Desmond Lee, only secured 51.69 per cent of the votes.
Meanwhile, the 57-year-old Dr Chee contested in the Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC) in ge2020, garnering 45.2 per cent of the votes, losing to Murali Pillai of the People’s Action Party (PAP).
Discussions on potential political alliance ongoing?
Many supporters from Singapore’s alternative parties have been actively advocating for these parties to join forces in order to strengthen alternative alliances and increase their chances of securing more votes in the upcoming elections.
Regarding the question of whether the PSP will form a political alliance that includes the Singapore Workers’ Party (WP), the party Secretary-General, Leong Mun Wai, stated that while he cannot comment on behalf of the WP, he has been contemplating the idea of an opposition alliance.
He mentioned that, at present, no discussions have taken place with any other alternative parties.
“They have kept me informed, you know, but we have not started any discussion. So at the moment, I can’t say what form or what, how this alliance would take shape.”
“There are some pros and cons, but I think there are many pros that can be pushing the parties towards an alliance in the next election.”
Four opposition parties unite to form “People’s Alliance” on 1 June
Meanwhile, four opposition parties – Peoples Voice (PV), Reform Party (RP), People’s Power Party (PPP), and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) – have earlier made announcement on forming a new political alliance.
The formation of the coalition, called “People’s Alliance,” was announced by Mr Lim Tean, Mr Goh Meng Seng, and Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam through their various Facebook pages on 1 June.
This development comes amidst the backdrop of a similar attempt made in 2020, where then-existing SingFirst, DPP, PPP, and RP intended to register a new alliance for the upcoming General Election.
Interestingly, these parties had previously shown interest in joining the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), Singapore’s only registered political alliance.
However, their intention was indirectly rejected as SDA, led by Mr Desmond Lim and comprising of the Singapore Justice Party (SJP), Singapore National Front (SNF) and Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS), put membership applications on hold indefinitely.