It's official: Four-way fight in Punggol East

The hustle and bustle of Nomination Day. (Yahoo! photo)

And then there were four.

Dr Koh Poh Koon (People's Action Party), Lee Li Lian (Workers' Party), Desmond Lim (Singapore Democratic Alliance) and Kenneth Jeyaretnam (Reform Party) will contest the Punggol East by-election after successfully filing their nominations on Wednesday morning.

The four-way contest will be Singapore's first since the 1997 elections.

Two independent candidates Zeng Guoyan and Ooi Boon Ewe added to the spice and colour at the nomination centre at North Vista Secondary School but both ultimately failed to file their papers.

Zeng arrived on a motorcycle shortly after 11am, dressed in Middle Eastern garb. He eventually abstained from filing his papers, saying "there is no justice in the system and the law is blind", a reference to the fact that he was not qualified to contest because of a prior offence in 2008.

Ooi, meanwhile, said his nominations papers "were missing" when he arrived at the centre and promptly left.

As nomination hour closed and the four candidates were officially announced as candidates for Punggol East, each took to the stage and addressed their supporters.

PAP's Koh took turns to address his supporters in English, Malay, Mandarin and Teochew, asking voters of Punggol East to "work together to make a better Punggol East."

RP's Jeyaretnam said he was determined to bring "a real choice" and urged voters to be heard and represented in Parliament, while SDA's Desmond Lim said he knows the "heart and soul" of residents in  Punggol East after having campaigned in the area since 2001.

Jeyaretnam revealed after his nomination that he would move to Punggol when elected to stay closer to his residents.

"We will be putting up a five-year plan to address the concerns of the residents. We can't promise millions of dollars unlike other parties," Jeyaretnam said.

"Support us, I will work for you on the ground and in the Government. I will give you a better deal," Jeyaretnam added.

Jeyaretnam will be revealing details of the five-year plan for Punggol East next week.

The loudest cheers from a boisterous army of WP supporters were reserved for Lee, who promised residents to serve them whole-heartedly and continue standing up for their rights.

"Vote for WP come 26 Jan and send me into parliament," she concluded.

'Close fight'

Over the next nine days before Polling Day, all four qualified candidates are expected to go door-to-door in the single-member constituency to canvas for support and win the hearts and minds of over 31,000 voters in the constituency.

DPM Teo Chee Hean and MP in neighbouring Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC expects a "close fight" and hopes residents "will choose who can best represent them and their interests."

On paper, it looks like a straight contest between PAP candidate, surgeon Koh Poh Koon -- a self-described heartlander and former Punggol resident -- and WP's sales trainer Lee Li Lian, who last contested in Punggol in 2011, getting 41 per cent of votes.

But opposition SDA's Desmond Lim, who also contested Punggol in 2011 and received 4.5 percent of votes, could play the role of spoiler and dilute the share of opposition votes.

So too with Kenneth Jeyaretnam of the Reform Party, a former private hedge fund manager who contested  the West Coast GRC in 2011, where he led his party to 33 per cent of votes against a PAP team.

When asked about the strategy and issues SDA will tackle, Lim said he will champion making amenities like hawker centres and child cares more available, easing traffic congestion and to voice out discontent of housing schemes for low income.

Lim says that he essentially wants the residents to have a choice.

“If they don’t like my product, then they don’t buy my product. However the company will still continue.”

Referring to his 50 strong-contingent of young supporters who carried SDA flags and waited calmly at the side throughout, he said he was not worried his supporters present seemed too young to vote.

"These are the supporters are the future of Singapore,” he said.

What do Punggol East residents want?

Punggol East by-election: Y! speaks to PE residentsAs the hustings for the Punggol East by-election roll into motion, Yahoo! Singapore dives into the heartlands to find out what the main issues that Punggol East residents want addressed are. Our reporter Satish Cheney finds out more.



1257pm: Respective candidates holding short walkabouts and media interviews around Punggol East.
Stay tuned for following reports. Thank you for joining our live blog!
Supporters streaming out of the nomination centre. Banners have been unfurled and campaign posters set to be put up around Punggol East.

1254pm: So begins nine days of campaigning and hustings before Polling Day on 26 January when over 31,000 voters of Punggol East will cast their votes for one of the four candidates contesting


WP supporters heard booing K Jeyaretnam and Desmond Lim during their short speeches


WP's Lee Li Lian in English and Mandarin: Dear voters of PE, I will serve you whole-heartedly and I will continue to stand up for your rights. Vote for WP come 26 Jan and send me into parliament.


SDA's Desmond Lim: Desmond Lim is back! Raise your concerns, fulfill your dream and elevate the standard of living for you and your chidren. I have been embedded in PE since 2001, and I know the heart and soul of this area. To serve you well, I must know you. Vote for DL, dedicated local, determined leader"


RP's Kenneth Jeyaretnam: I am determined to bring a real choice to Punggol East, it's now your  choice to decide how you want to be represented at the highest level in Parliament. We believe in Singapore and we can deliver a better future. Escape the iron thumb of PAP, you want someone who is caring, you must be heard, so give me a mandate to help that happen. I won't make any grand promises but I will not be missing in action. Make me your alternative voice in Parliament. No more broken promises!


PAP's Koh Poh Koon address supporters in English, Malay, Mandarin and Teochew, "Dear voters of Punggol East, let's work together to make a better Punggol East!"


Returning Officer Yam Ah Mee takes to the stage, announces the candidacy of all four candidates from PAP (Koh Poh Koon), RP (Kenneth Jeyaretnam), SDA (Desmond Lim) and WP (Lee Li Lian)


Time for objections for candidates' nomination papers has lapsed


Once again, Punggol East by-election will be a four-corner fight between PAP, WP, SDA and RP


PAP and WP supporters engage in chanting match, WP supporters singing Hokkien song and chanting "Huat ah!" to support their candidate Lee Li Lian, PAP supporters chanting "PAP" in between horn blasts


Candidates expected to give short address to supporters at around 1230 after Returning Officer Yam Ah Mee announces their candidacy.


WP's Pritam Singh urges WP supporters not to boo other candidates when they speak

Nomination for PE by-election closes


Supporters from WP and PAP all congregating in field to await official announcement from Returning Officer on candidates

Four candidates have officially submitted their papers. Punggol East voters will have four parties to choose from come next Saturday -- PAP, WP, SDA and RP


WP supporter Emily 55, with daughter Eunice in tow: I use my own money, my own shirt. I came here on behalf of all Singaporeans. But why must they do it under the sun always. Why not in an air-con auditorium?


WP's Chen Show Mao: The thing we have to do is work as hard as possible and win the voters over. 


WP MP for Aljunied Chen Show Mao spotting chatting to a supporter


This sets the stage for Singapore's first multi-cornered fight since 1997, 15 minutes left for candidates to check each other's forms and all is in order

SDA candidate Desmond Lim's nomination forms are up, making a total of four candidates submitting their candidacy


Independent candidate Ooi Boon Ewe has misplaced his nomination forms, seeking help from officials


Still no sign of SDA candidate Desmond Lim's nomination forms


Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam's nomination form also up on noticeboard, three forms up so far


PAP's caretaker MP of Punggol East Teo Ser Luck: "Still to early in the race and hard to give assessment now" when asked about SDP's surprise pullout


Independent Zeng Guoyan pulls out of race, wearing a bib which says "there is no justice in the system and the law is blind". Leaves the nomination centre. He says he was told he will lose his election deposit of S$14,500 if he is found not eligible. He arrived alone and had no assentors or supporters with him


WP candidate Lee Li Lian's nomination forms are up on the notice board for inspection, so to PAP's Koh Poh Koon


PAP supporters being chanting belatedly


No sign of SDA or RP supporters


WP supporters, most in their mid 30s and 40s, are in boisterous mood, and chanting "Workers' Party!, Workers' Party" and their candidate name, "Lee Li Lian"


Check out slideshow of all the candidates as they arrive.


WP sec-general Low Thia Kiang: We respect each party's rights to contest, our candidate Lee Li Lian is a ground person, she will do her best and she know residents well.


Not to be outdone, PAP supporters are also filling up the field, but less in number and definitely quieter than boisterous WP supporters


Independent candidate Ooi Boon Ewe spotted, says he lost his nomination documents and "someone stole them"


WP supporters in good spirits, filling up the football field at North Vista Secondary.

Army of WP supporters, in the hundreds and most of them in blue, arrive and walk into the nomination centre.


WP's Lee Li Lian arrives at the Nomination Centre accompanied by WP chairman Sylvia Lim and Hougang MP Png Eng Huat. "We're good and ready to go," says Lee.

RP's K Jeyaretnam: "I feel great" as he walks in under a bright yellow umbrella


Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam turns up flanked by a few supporters.


Eccentric potential independent candidate Zeng Guoyan turns up on a bike in a Middle Eastern outfit. When asked if he was going to contest, he said, "Time is not up yet"

: PAP candidate 40-year-old surgeon Koh Poh Koon arrives accompanied by DPM Teo Chee Hean.

PAP supporters turn up early at Nomination Centre at North Vista Secondary School.

Join us for live blogging coverage of Nomination Day at 1045am as we bring you the latest from the nomination centre at North Vista Secondary School.

Up to four parties are expected to submit formal nominations to contest the single-member constituency -- People's Action Party, Workers' Party, Singapore Democratic Alliance and Reform Party.

That will set the stage for Singapore's first multi-cornered fight since 1997.

Candidates have between 11am to 12pm to file papers.

Related stories:

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SDA unveils candidate Desmond Lim
VIDEO: No 1 concern of Punggol East residents?
I don't need sympathy votes: PAP candidate
ST poll being probed by police: ELD
PAP names surgeon as Punggol East candidate
Multi-cornered by-election battle favours PAP: analysts