WP rebuffs SDP's joint Punggol East campaign proposal

SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan presented his party's 'novel' proposal at a press conference called on Friday evening. (Yahoo! photo)

[UPDATE 12 Jan, 1046AM, adding Workers' Party reply]

The Workers’ Party has rebuffed the idea of a joint Punggol East by-election campaign proposed by the Singapore Democratic Party .

On Friday, SDP secretary-general Chee Soon Juan had proposed fielding one SDP candidate for the hotly contested single member constituency come Polling Day on 26 Jan.

“If victorious, the SDP candidate will enter Parliament and the WP will run the Punggol East Town Council,” the party said in its statement.

“This would be a win-win-win situation... it would lay the ground for bigger opposition representation in the next general election.”

However, on Saturday morning, the Workers' Party replied to a query by Yahoo! Singapore, appearing to brush off the proposal.

In a short tersely worded statement, a WP spokesman wrote, "Our focus continues to be fulfilling our promise to offer a choice to voters in Punggol East."

Asked how the Workers’ Party would benefit from the SDP’s proposal, Chee had responded on Friday that
first that in running Punggol East, the former “would have added clout” in their town council management capability, gaining “access to the Punggol East grassroots network”.

“From our point of view, we would dearly love to be running the town council — it really gives you the opportunity to serve the people at the municipal level and there are a lot of issues that need to be brought up,” he said.

Chee said while the WP had by that point yet to respond to their public calls to meet and discuss strategies to avoid a multi-cornered fight, the SDP “has not given up the effort of finding a solution” to field a single opposition candidate at the polls.

The SDP has been trying to meet with the WP since early this week to discuss their proposal to no avail.

“In any arrangement between two parties there must be give and take on both sides,” Chee added. “We hope that the WP will meet us half-way.”

Meanwhile, the People’s Action Party has already unveiled 40-year-old surgeon Koh Poh Koon as its candidate for Punggol East earlier this week.

Several other opposition parties and independent candidate have signalled their interest in contesting the SMC with the WP and Singapore Democratic Alliance picking up nomination forms from the Elections Department earlier this week.

Related stories:
SDP declares interest in contesting Punggol East
PAP picks surgeon to stand on party ticket in by-election
Punggol East by-election called for 26 January