SINGAPORE — The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) will be contesting in two constituencies at the upcoming general election, and its candidates do not include veteran opposition figure Chiam See Tong nor his wife Lina.
According to The Straits Times, the party’s chairman Jose Raymond, 48, will be contesting Potong Pasir single-member constituency (SMC), where Chiam was a Member of Parliament (MP) for six terms from 1984 to 2011.
Four other SPP members – secretary general Steve Chia, 49, vice-chairman Williamson Lee, 40, Osman Sulaiman, 45, and Melvyn Chiu, 41 – will be fielded in Bishan-Toa Payoh group representation constituency (GRC).
Working the ground for past 3 years
Raymond, a first-time candidate, said he has been working the ground for the past three years, as he prepares to contest the constituency with People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Sitoh Yih Pin, who has been MP for Potong Pasir since 2011.
"It will not be easy coming up against a two-term incumbent, but I have done my best and have helped as many residents as I could, and will leave it to the voters of Potong Pasir to mark their choice when the time comes," he told The Straits Times.
Raymond is currently chief strategy officer of communications firm SW Strategies. A former journalist with The Straits Times and Mediacorp, he also served as press secretary to then-Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in 2011. Other posts he held include senior director at Singapore Sports Hub and chief executive officer of the Singapore Environment Council.
Of the other SPP candidates, Lee is also a first-time candidate, even though he is a long-time party member. Chia was a former Non-Constituency MP with the National Solidarity Party from 2001 to 2006, while Osman and Chiu contested for other opposition parties in the 2015 general election.
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC will be a four-member constituency, reduced from a five-member one in 2015. In that election, the PAP team consisting of Ng Eng Hen, Josephine Teo, Chee Hong Tat, Saktiandi Supaat and Chong Kee Hiong won 73.6 per cent of the votes against an SPP team led by Benjamin Pwee.
Smallest SPP line-up since 1997
The five SPP candidates for the upcoming election constitute the party’s smallest line-up since its first electoral contest in 1997.
The party underwent a leadership renewal in October 2019, when Chiam stepped down as secretary-general and Lina did likewise as chairman. Chia and Raymond were voted in the respective leadership position at the same time.
Chiam, 85, remains as an ordinary party member, while Lina, 71, remains as a member of SPP’s central executive committee.
According to The Straits Times, it understands that SPP ruled out contests in two other SMCs – Mountbatten and Marymount – due to logistical and manpower constraints.
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