Singapore GE: WP questions removal of three single seats

A photo posted online by the WP last November of Mr Low Thia Khiang, an MP for Aljunied GRC, visiting a New Upper Changi Road hawker centre. WP fielded a team in East Coast GRC in the 2015 election.
A photo posted online by the WP last November of Mr Low Thia Khiang, an MP for Aljunied GRC, visiting a New Upper Changi Road hawker centre. WP fielded a team in East Coast GRC in the 2015 election.PHOTO: WORKERS' PARTY/FACEBOOK

Decision on the SMCs not explained in the latest electoral boundaries report, it says

The Workers' Party (WP) yesterday questioned the removal of Sengkang West, Fengshan and Punggol East single-member constituencies (SMCs) from the electoral map for the next general election, saying the decision was not explained in the latest electoral boundaries report.

The opposition party had contested in all three SMCs in the 2015 General Election, and had lost by narrow margins in Fengshan and Punggol East.

Asked for comments on the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's (EBRC) report yesterday, the WP said in a statement: "As is its custom, the EBRC has not disclosed how it came to its decisions.

"While the number of SMCs has increased from 13 to 14, the EBRC has not explained why it chose to carve out some new SMCs while dissolving Sengkang West, Fengshan and Punggol East SMCs, areas where WP has been active for many years."

The party also noted that the committee, formed on Aug 1 last year, had taken more than seven months to complete its task.

But, it added, "that said, there is finally clarity. The WP will decide on the areas where it can best serve Singaporeans, and make its announcement when the elections are called".

Punggol East was held by the WP for about two years, after its candidate Lee Li Lian won with 54.05 per cent of votes in a four-cornered fight in a by-election in 2013. It was also the only ward to face a three-cornered fight in the 2011 GE. The PAP's Charles Chong wrested back the constituency in the 2015 election, with 51.77 per cent of votes.

In the coming election, it will be absorbed into the new Sengkang GRC. So will Sengkang West SMC, where the WP's Koh Choong Yong got 37.87 per cent of the votes in the 2015 election against the PAP's Lam Pin Min.

Fengshan SMC, which was carved out from East Coast GRC in the 2015 General Election, will be re-absorbed into the GRC in the coming election. It was one of the hot battlegrounds during the last general election, with WP's Mr Dennis Tan garnering 42.50 per cent of votes against PAP candidate Cheryl Chan's 57.50 per cent.

Mr Tan, who is a Non-Constituency MP, declined to comment on the changes.

WP had also fielded a team comprising its next-generation leaders in East Coast GRC in the last polls, led by former NCMP Gerald Giam.

The party continues to actively walk the ground in East Coast GRC, and some expected it could field former secretary-general Low Thia Khiang there this year.

 

Last night, WP chief Pritam Singh said in a Facebook post the EBRC report had generated buzz, "with some residents commenting on how they had moved constituencies without moving homes for reasons they do not comprehend, but can 'fully understand'."

"The Workers' Party takes the world for what it is and not what we wish it to be. And that's why walking the ground, meeting residents and visitors or checking on the living environment in Aljunied GRC is a constant that does not change," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2020, with the headline 'WP questions removal of three single seats'. Print Edition | Subscribe