Members of nine opposition parties who met last night made some headway in their bid to avoid three-cornered fights. point at the meeting was over Marine Parade Group Representation Potong Pasir: Singapore People's Party (SPP) Hong Kah North: SPP and DPP Mountbatten: SPP and NSP. Meet-the-People Session. (Please note that the sessions will not be conducted should they fall on Public Marine Parade GRC (Kembangan - Chai Chee). The Hong Kah GRC MP says. Singaporeans are Meet-the-People Session and struck him Marine Parade GRC Mp Fatimah. "There is also.
In Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, which absorbed 7, more voters under the boundary changes, the wards of the three political freshmen were redrawn and renamed.
Newsletters have been mailed to residents to let them know which MP they can approach. There's no magic bullet. Time will tell but, for now, the party is making the most of its mandate. The team dubbed the "suicide squad" remains intact - and hard at work for an election five years down the road, despite not wresting the GRC from the Workers' Party. Since the Sept 11 General Election, the five-member team and their activists have been on the ground almost every day, making house visits, celebrating festivals, distributing close to 10, N95 masks to residents, and working on community projects like tuition for Primary 6 pupils.
We do not simply appear for elections or 'champion politics'," says candidate Victor Lyea director of an insurance firm. He is in it for the long haul, having served in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol ward for the last 16 years. But we are used to it," he says. In the end, not only did they improve the PAP's performance in Aljunied by about 4 percentage points, but they had also forced a recount. Mr Low and his colleagues narrowly held on to their seats with Mr Lye is buoyed by the turn of events, but adds that they would be on the wrong path if they made decisions based on whether residents like them.
He points to the ongoing town council saga - the Auditor-General found major accounting and governance lapses in the WP's processes - as a factor that affected residents' trust and perception of the opposition's capability: Even the opposition must be held to the same standards of honesty and capability that people expect of the PAP.
With the autonomy comes the personal responsibility to raise funds and garner resources," says Mr Pillai, who chairs the PAP Paya Lebar branch. In the months and years ahead, the PAP team hope to deliver on the promises they made before and during the election. These include better access for young couples seeking childcare options and providing enrichment and mentorship opportunities that go beyond basic education taught in schools.
They'd like us to continue our work in Aljunied, and we will continue to serve them to the best of our ability. Residents will wave at us and also acknowledge us when we greet them.
Nevertheless, political observer and former Nominated MP Zulkifli Baharudin says Singapore can expect political parties serious about winning a GRC to be engaging constituents consistently. If these guys stay, they'll have my vote. It showed that they connected with residents," he says. It was needed, as the ground was difficult post-GE Unfortunately not all of them had a long runway. Shamsul had only three weeks. They have begun planning programmes for residents, to meet the needs of residents in the respective divisions.
These cover the disadvantaged, the ageing residents, the youth," he adds. It is not that the party does not want to move on, but rather that its performance at the ballot box appears to have dealt a blow to its confidence about how to proceed.
As a volunteer said right after the party's weaker-than-expected poll showing: But in the end the WP gained no ground and even narrowly lost Punggol East single-member constituency, which it won in a by-election in But while the WP is in soul-searching mode, it is making an effort to look forward.
In the month since that Sept 11 blow, it has trained new volunteers, held a youth wing election, co-opted three new faces into its top decision-making body, and started walking the ground again. Still, the burning question is, Why the spurning?
Activists say that, so far, the reasons thrown up from the ad-hoc conversations include the SG50 effect, the death of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, and the change in government policies over the last four years. Former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong also said on a Facebook post that the one noticeable difference during campaigning was that voters were less angry compared to But one thing missing in discussions is what part was played by the party's handling of town council finances.
Following the results, the WP had publicly maintained that it had little impact on voters' choice. Party chairman Sylvia Lim, who was also chairman of AHPETC, has said that progress has been made and most of the remaining disclaimers were due to information gaps when the Aljunied Town Council was handed over. But party insiders are worried that many voters do not have the time for such details and have little patience for lengthy explanations. Meanwhile, the party has been busy working to close its Punggol East town council office, and plans to redeploy its staff to the other offices under AHTC.
It has 90 days from the election to hand over the management of Punggol East to the PAP, and has hired external auditors to work on separating the accounts of the constituency. A week after the election, the MPs' weekly meet-the-people sessions had resumed. During the Mid-Autumn Festival last month, the party's town council had also organised parties for residents. Sources say that support from residents living in private property fell across the board in all constituencies contested by the WP.
This was in stark contrast to the General Election, when those living in condominiums and landed homes gave strong backing to the party. For instance, the WP lost in the Joo Chiat single seat by just votes in Likewise, voters living in larger four-room and five-room Housing Board flats also swung against the WP, signalling that the party may have lost ground with these middle-class voters in general. In estates comprising mostly smaller flats, the party did not gain or lose ground, compared to Some party members lament that they have misread sentiment and vastly overestimated support.
This has shaken confidence in the party's ability to read the ground. Although it has not launched an official fact-finding exercise, party members and volunteers have fanned out on their own to speak to residents.
Both were part of its ill-fated East Coast slate that party leaders had hailed as containing its future leaders. But the team got only He is said to have impressed party leaders with his organisation skills, having guided a team of election rookies in Nee Soon despite being a new face himself.
Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency - Wikipedia
He is also seen as someone with strong grassroots links and is comfortable interacting with residents from all walks of life. Observers say the party is hoping the trio will project a mix of youth, policy know-how, and minority representation.
It is also, perhaps, trying to send a signal about the importance of party discipline, insiders say. They point to how its Marine Parade team was also made up of highly-qualified candidates - including crowd favourite, legal counsel He Ting Ru, 32 - none of whom were brought into the CEC. The team was apparently plagued by simmering discord among memberswhich displeased party leaders, who have always prized tight discipline and frowned upon power play. Meanwhile, the party has also put sociology professor Daniel Goh, 42, in charge of its media team, one of several changes to membership of its CEC sub-committees.
That the outspoken academic was picked signals that the party could be moving away from its old, reticent approach of dealing with the press and publicity. It has also started recruiting more aggressively, with individual candidates roping in volunteers online, and the party setting up a volunteer network Facebook page giving updates.
With the co-opting done, and two of the party's next-generation leaders - Mr Tan and Mr Perera - in Parliament via the Non-Constituency MP scheme, the party's renewal plans appear to be on track. The next challenge may well be yet another election - an internal one. Party cadres will elect a new CEC every two years and the next Organising Members' Conference is due in the middle of next year.
While there was post-election talk of possible challenges against Mr Low and Ms Lim, the recent moves in the party show that they still hold considerable sway, say sources close to the party.
Additional reporting by Tham Yuen-C Might the other opposition parties merge? But, shortly after, their party chiefs met to discuss possible consolidation among the opposition, which has become more fragmented with the founding of new parties in recent years.
The four biggest losers are: They were among seven opposition parties which made this the first fully-contested election since independence. On the agenda of the informal meeting, called within a week of the Sept 11 General Election: NSP president Sebastian Teo also says that as discussions are at an early stage, it is too premature to discuss possible outcomes. A lot of the leaders are not young already The WP and SDP were the second- and third-best performers at the polls after the ruling People's Action Party, which romped home with a popular vote of For the time being, however, the opposition parties appear to mostly be going at it alone, as they work out internal plans to move forward.
The SDP had placed high hopes on Dr Chee's comeback, hoping that it would reap huge dividends for the party. He was contesting his first election in 14 years after his bankruptcy discharge.
Instead, the SDP saw its vote share dip from Since then, talk has started among political watchers about whether he is the best man to lead the party, given the historical baggage. He no longer practises the brand of adversarial politics that got him sued for defamation - at a rally he had even pledged to find common ground and work with the PAP.
But some say it is hard to change perceptions of the man. Political scientist Derek da Cunha has often suggested that the party will be better off without Dr Chee at the helm. He has been reported as saying that the change in behaviour "does not airbrush out his Dr Chee's party members dismiss such talk.
He has taken the lead to engage supporters online and organise a post-GE dialogue. Yesterday he hosted a talk centred on his personal life and ambitions. The SDP, which arguably has been the most active among the non-WP opposition parties on Facebook, has also launched a recruitment drive for new volunteers, and says on its Facebook page that it is "already regrouping and planning our work ahead". It adds, in a signal that it will continue to research and draft policy papers as it had done in the lead-up to the recent polls: Its leader, opposition veteran Chiam See Tong, is now 80 years old, and his wife, party chairman Lina, is already The party, which won Mrs Chiam appears cognisant of this, saying last month that she intends to find and groom new blood to take the party forward, and will stay to mentor younger members.
I will not quit politics just because I lost this time," she said. So far, and in the past few years, SPP has not unveiled any young members who have the potential to take over. Academic Loke Hoe Yeong, 31, who wrote the first part of Mr Chiam's biography, published last year, has been touted as a potential leader.
But party insiders say the assistant secretary-general has left the central executive committee. Or will she go to Fengshan SMC instead, as her first-ever Instagram post - a photo of her eating at Fengshan food centre - on Wednesday seemed to tease observers?
The WP will keep everyone guessing as party chief Low Thia Khiang told reporters on Wednesday that it would not state where its candidates will be fielded until Nomination Day. Still, whether the candidates are old hands or newbies, the WP brand will carry some weight. SMU's Mr Tan says: But for us, if our centre is not our residents and we are just worried about our opponents, then we have got the wrong focus.
This time, I will do so again. But there's no room for complacency. Mr Goh - who has been MP for the area for about 40 years - has also indicated he will run. But could the redrawn boundaries tip the scales in the opposition's favour? MacPherson, which polled second-highest out of five Marine Parade wards last time, will now be a single seat.
Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency
Mr Tan tells Insight that his team's focus remains the same - helping residents and building community ties. Are we doing anything different? The work goes on, regardless of who comes. The NSP has agreed not to contest in the interests of "opposition unity". WP chief Low Thia Khiang says the party will contest Marine Parade given its absorption of Joo Chiat, so as not to "disappoint voters in Joo Chiat who have supported us at the last election".
Its candidate was businessman Yee Jenn Jong, 50, who cast himself as a local-boy-made-good. He has been seen in recent weeks during walkabouts in the GRC. Mr Yee's potential appeal has not gone unnoticed. His parents had many friends, people who helped him with the election. Some residents told me it's hard to say no to him. He had home-ground advantage. Mr Goh said in the aftermath of Several community schemes have also been launched, with infrastructure works such as the Housing Board's Home Improvement Programme for old flats.
In his Kembangan-Chai Chee ward, for example, Mr Tan has started a programme that tutors and mentors children from low- income families; another project helps rental flat residents avoid bedbug infestations through regular pest control, flat cleaning and refurnishing. While some of the residents polled by Insight note these efforts, many say municipal issues generally do not affect their votes.
Taking the eagle-eye view is Geylang Serai resident Prem Kumar Nair, a year-old material planner, who says: Cost of living is high, of course, but you've got to work hard and spend frugally. Some residents feel little connection to the rest of the GRC. Adds the year-old semi-retiree: While some credit PAP incumbent Seah Kian Peng with improvements such as new street lights and pavements, half of the dozen private housing residents polled in Braddell Heights said they were undecided, or considering the opposition.
But none has seen any opposition parties walking the ground. Adding to the mix is the Joo Chiat ward, which comprises virtually only private housing. Since his narrow win, he has worked hard to address both municipal and national gripes, although how this will pay off may be moot as he is expected to contest WP-held Punggol East SMC. Cost of living, healthcare costs, have a big impact. And if you look at government programmes, growth dividends, GST rebates and so on, those in private housing get nothing.
This was a source of unhappiness. She "gave the WP a chance" inbut says she is likely to vote for the PAP this time, having gained confidence after Mr Chong's work. Lawyer Rachel Tan, 25, who lives in Joo Chiat, says she is inclined to vote for PAP because "they have done a good job taking care of Marine Parade", citing renovations and improvements like hawker centre and park upgrading. The WP has its stalwarts, too.
Housewife Toh Sin Ai, 52, intends to vote for them again - she feels private home residents like herself have been neglected by the PAP.
But Mr Tan points out: We will certainly look at some of the concerns that they have and address them as best as we can. What is memorable is the PAP. Their stability will always lead us. Political scientist Derek da Cunha predicts a "fairly close fight", saying: When added to the protest vote against the PAP, it would be sufficient for the WP to get to the finish line.
Of residents Insight spoke to, a fifth are still undecided.
Surprisingly, while Mr Goh has some personal fans among those polled by Insight, most say his presence is not a deciding factor. He is not the main point of us making the decision.
As such, I can feel his presence and that bolsters my confidence in his ability to be a good minister and MP. He is also approachable in person, say residents like security screening officer Tamil Selvam.
Murali’s first Meet-the-People session sees larger than usual turnout
The year-old says Mr Tan's ministerial portfolio is irrelevant to his vote, and what matters more is that he is "very capable and very down-to-earth". But is it possible? These usually take place in the party's functional headquarters smack in the middle of Bedok HDB estate.
Instead, last Wednesday's introduction of candidates to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC took place next door, in a hot and noisy open- air coffee shop, as rain dripped off the awnings outside. Candidates and officials crammed around plastic red tables, their microphones perched where bowls of food would normally sit.
The media sat huddled around them, excited but also perturbed - would their recorders pick up what was said, amid the background clink of plates, slurping of Milo, and murmur of morning-hour patrons? Outside, curious passers-by stopped in mid-step, gazing open- mouthed at the unusual sight.
Earlier, residents had enjoyed the sight of the GRC's anchor minister, Dr Ng, 56, being greeted by shopkeepers who recognised him. Some early birds had even seen one miffed resident give the reporters, activists and officials a piece of his mind as the group moved towards the coffee shop at BlockToa Payoh Central.
The PAP should announce the new line-up of candidates to residents before telling the media, he said. The informal kopitiam setting turned out to be the first of what is shaping up to be a new format for the PAP to announce its line-ups. On Friday, it announced its Sembawang slate in a nursing home. For the team at Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, the neighbourhood setting was important, sending a signal that a key election plank is what has been done to improve the lives of heartlanders.
This is after the PAP's unspectacular The secretary-general had left his next-door stronghold of Potong Pasir for the contest. Still, the result was not the nailbiting finish some expected. The group representation constituency has a broad range of voters across income levels, living in both public and private property. After the PAP's minor fright there in - the first time the GRC had been contested since being formed in - it set about reconnecting with the ground and sprucing up the neighbourhoods.
Estate improvement programmes include installing about fitness corners for the elderly, starting on a plan to change almost all common corridor bulbs to brighter energy-saving ones by next year, and redecorating and repainting Housing Board estates.
Private tutor Cindy Yee, 58, who lives in a four-room flat, says: The Government has built many new flats here in the last 10 years, and now in the mornings and evenings I see many more young professionals, compared to the past.
In their first home visits to residents there last week, Dr Ng and his fellow MPs repeatedly told residents: Hinting at slight unhappiness in private estates, Marymount resident Sitaraman Mani, 58, a banker, says: Our drainage system has not been upgraded for 26 years.
And we pay the highest conservancy fees, waste removal fees, property tax and income tax. And the PAP has made policy shifts on areas people were unhappy about, moving to tighten the inflow of foreign labour, ramping up the supply of public flats for young couples and improving public transport. The PAP has also plugged away at being less "out of touch" on bread-and-butter issues, a charge levelled at it during the last election.
Designer Kim Ng, 40, who sat at the same coffee shop as the PAP last Wednesday and observed the press conference, said: Raju, 55, have been won over. He has been a regular fixture at Meet-the-People Sessions, grassroots events and house visits. Mr Chong chaired the committee organising Bishan East's pioneer generation tribute dinner for over 4, residents, and the committee overseeing the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme being carried out in Bishan East. As for Mr Saktiandi, he has been a volunteer explaining new national healthcare programmes to seniors, and helped Mr Zainudin in his Meet-the-People Sessions as well.
Last to emerge was former senior public servant, Mr Chee, 41, who began shadowing lawyer Hri Kumar Nair at grassroots events in Thomson-Toa Payoh last month. As for the opposition camp, their star candidate is surely year-old Mr Chiam.
Residents like housewife Pamela Lee have residual affection for the man who was Singapore's longest- serving opposition MP until I think he is a true gentleman because of the way he engages in politics," says Ms Lee, But whether the "Chiam factor" translates into votes for the SPP may depend on the quality of his teammates.
Freelance tourist coordinator Annie Pang, 58, says: