Channel NewsAsia

Nominations open for Punggol East by-election

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans will know how the contest in the by-election in Punggol East will shape up by this afternoon, as nominations for the polls on January 26 open at 11am on Wednesday.

Those who want to contest have one hour, between 11am and 12pm, to file their papers at the Nomination Centre at North Vista Secondary School.

After that, half an hour will be set aside for any objections to be raised.

The first name to be put up on the board in the hall for scrutiny was that of Ms Lee Li Lian of the Workers' Party.

This was followed by People's Action Party's (PAP's) candidate, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Reform Party's Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam and Singapore Democratic Alliance's (SDA's) Mr Desmond Lim.

Mr Zeng Guoyuan, who was expected to run as an independent candidate, walked out of the hall at about 11.10am. He told reporters he was not contesting.

The Returning Officer, Mr Yam Ah Mee, is expected to declare who are contesting for the by-election by 1pm.

The Punggol East single-member constituency was left vacant by its Member of Parliament, Mr Michael Palmer, who resigned in December due to an extramarital affair.

Candidates and their supporters started arriving at the centre in Rivervale Link after the gates opened at 10am.

The PAP's Dr Koh arrived with more than a hundred supporters. Among them are Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Mr Chan Chun Sing and caretaker MP of Punggol East Mr Teo Ser Luck.

Mr Jeyaretnam of the Reform Party arrived at about 10:45am.

The Workers' Party's choice, Ms Lee Li Lian, arrived at about 10.55am, flanked by party chairman Ms Sylvia Lim and MP for Hougang Mr Png Eng Huat.

The SDA's Desmond Lim, who was accompanied by about 80 supporters, told reporters that a multi-cornered fight is good. He said it shows there is change in the political climate in Singapore.

Nine days of campaigning have been set aside.

January 25, a day before the by-election, is Cooling-Off Day.

There are about 32,000 voters in the ward, which Mr Palmer won in the General Election in 2011 with nearly 54 per cent of the votes cast.