15 January 2013

Punggol East By-Election — The Power Of No

Many people have expressed their disappointment, frustration and anger that more than one opposition party plan to contest the Punggol East by-election, and the futility of their plans (if put into action) and the negative implications, both immediate and in the medium term, for these opposition parties.  But Singapore Democratic Party, The Reform Party and Singapore Democratic Alliance seem hell bent on contesting in Punggol East — a constituency in which The Workers' Party received 41.0 per cent of the valid vote at GE2011 — and, in the process, turn the possible capture of another Parliamentary seat from People's Action Party into an almost certain lost cause.  Sadly, they have lost their focus and lost their way.

With one day to go before Nomination Day, what can be done?

By now, anyone who plans to contest the Punggol East by-election would already have received his political donation certificate.

Anyone who has not received his political donation certificate will not be able to contest.

Singapore Democratic Party Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan cannot contest this by-election.  The public thinks that the following are potential SDP candidates: Dr Paul Tambyah, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha and Dr Ang Yong Guan.

If Dr Chee will not yield to common sense to avoid a multi-cornered contest, perhaps Dr Tambyah, Dr Wijeysingha and Dr Ang — assuming they have received their political donations certificates — will assess the situation sensibly and wisely and decline to contest.  At this juncture, there is nothing that Dr Chee or SDP can do if none of these gentlemen are prepared to inflict untold damage to SDP and the opposition's cause.

Having made their decision, Dr Tambyah, Dr Wijeysingha and Dr Ang should talk to The Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam and convince him not to submit his nomination papers.

If they succeed, they should similarly talk to Singapore Democratic Alliance's Desmond Lim, Mr Ooi Boon Ewe and Mr Zeng Guoyuan.

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Note

1. This article was updated.

2. SDP Secretary-General Chee Soon Juan announced on 15 January afternoon that SDP would not contest the Punggol East by-election.  It was heeding the voice of the people who were concerned that a multi-cornered fight would dilute the vote of the opposition.  (Channel NewsAsia 15 Jan 2013 1620 hrs)

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