SINGAPORE: All 93 seats in Parliament will be contested in the General Election, as 11 political parties confirmed their slate of candidates on Nomination Day on Tuesday (Jun 30).
The People's Action Party (PAP) faces a challenge in every constituency - 17 Group Representation Constituencies (GRC) and 14 Single Member Constituencies (SMC).
Here are seven key battlegrounds to watch, ahead of Polling Day on Jul 10.
EAST COAST GRC
The five-member East Coast GRC has traditionally been a key battleground between the ruling PAP and the opposition Workers’ Party (WP), with both sides fielding strong teams here.
The constituency saw close fights in the 2011 and 2015 General Elections. Both times, the WP earned Non-Constituency MP seats, which are set aside for the opposition’s “best losers” in a General Election.
This year, the PAP team is led by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who moved to East Coast from Tampines GRC to replace former Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.
The other members in the PAP East Coast team are incumbents Maliki Osman and Jessica Tan, former Fengshan SMC MP Cheryl Chan and new face Tan Kiat How.
The WP team has also fielded new candidates, after familiar faces Gerald Giam and Leon Perera moved to Aljunied to defend Singapore’s only opposition-held GRC.
The WP team for East Coast comprises Nicole Seah, Kenneth Foo, Dylan Ng, Terence Tan and new face Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.
The contest between the two parties will be one to watch, not least for Ms Seah, who shot to prominence as the youngest candidate in the 2011 General Elections, when she contested Marine Parade GRC as part of a National Solidarity Party team.
WEST COAST GRC
In West Coast GRC, former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock is leading the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) team in the five-member constituency. They are up against the incumbent PAP, led by Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
Besides Dr Tan, who is the PSP’s secretary-general, the PSP team features Jeffrey Khoo, Hazel Poa, Leong Mun Wai and Nadarajah Loganathan.
They face a PAP team which includes incumbent Foo Mee Har, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee and Ang Wei Neng – who were both formerly MPs for Jurong GRC – as well as new face Rachel Ong.
West Coast GRC has traditionally been a PAP stronghold. In the last General Election, PAP won 78.5 per cent of the vote in West Coast, which was then a four-member GRC. The team that won – comprising Mr Iswaran, Ms Foo, Mr Patrick Tay and Mr Lim Hng Kiang – was among the best performing PAP teams in the election.
However, Dr Tan has expressed confidence about his chances in the constituency, citing his years of service in the area. He was an MP for the Ayer Rajah ward – now part of the West Coast GRC – for 26 years, when he was a member of the PAP.
The WP made history in the 2011 General Election when it won the five-member Aljunied GRC from the PAP. In 2015, it managed to defend the constituency, but with a razor-thin margin of 50.96 per cent.
This year, it has fielded its “A team” for the GRC: Party chair Sylvia Lim, current secretary-general Pritam Singh and vice-chair Faisal Manap, all of whom were part of the team who won in the 2011 and 2015 elections.
They will be joined by familiar faces Gerald Giam and Leon Perera, who were fielded in East Coast GRC in past elections, and have both served in Parliament as NCMPs. However, two members of the original team – former secretary-general Low Thia Khiang and Chen Show Mao – will not be contesting.
The WP team will be up against the PAP’s Shamsul Kamar, Victor Lye and Chua Eng Leong – all of whom contested the GRC in 2015 – as well as new faces Chan Hui Yuh and Alex Yeo.
BUKIT PANJANG SMC
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has fielded its chairman Paul Tambyah in Bukit Panjang SMC, and will be up against the PAP’s Liang Eng Hwa.
Dr Tambyah, an infectious diseases specialist and familiar face, had been tipped to lead the SDP’s team in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, having contested there in 2015.
In June, Dr Tambyah was the first Singaporean to be named president-elect of the International Society of Infectious Diseases, becoming the first Singaporean to hold the position.
Meanwhile, Mr Liang, who was previously an MP for Holland Bukit-Timah GRC, replaces incumbent MP Teo Ho Pin, who is retiring.
In 2015, the PAP’s Dr Teo won Bukit Panjang with 68.4 per cent of the votes cast.
This new four-member GRC is likely to see a strong contest between the PAP and the WP.
The PAP team, led by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng, also comprises Senior Minister of State and former Sengkang West MP Lam Pin Min, Amrin Amin, who was from Sembawang GRC, and new face Raymond Lye.
They are up against WP’s Jamus Lim, Raeesah Khan and Louis Chua – all new faces – and He Ting Ru, who previously contested in Marine Parade GRC in 2015.
Sengkang GRC is made up of the former single seats of Sengkang West and Punggol East, as well as a part of Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC.
In the 2015 General Election, the PAP’s Charles Chong narrowly won the Punggol East SMC with 51.6 per cent of the vote, while in Sengkang West, the PAP’s vote share of 62.1 per cent was below the party’s national average of 69.9 per cent in 2015.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo will lead the PAP’s team in the four-member GRC against new political party Peoples Voice (PV). She has been an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh since 2006.
If Mrs Teo is elected, she will be the first female minister to helm a GRC. She is taking over from former anchor minister Yaacob Ibrahim, who retired from political office. The rest of her team comprises Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, Central District Mayor Denise Phua and new face Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah.
They will be up against the PV team made up of party chief Lim Tean, blogger Leong Sze Hian, Michael Fang Amin and Azlan Sulaiman.
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In the 2015 and 2011 General Elections, the PAP went up against the WP, winning 58.6 per cent and 67.7 per cent of the vote, respectively.
The five-member Pasir Ris-Punggol constituency is the only GRC this election to see a three-cornered fight, with the PAP up against candidates from the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and PV.
The PAP team is led by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary, as well as three new faces: Sharael Taha, Yeo Wan Ling and Desmond Tan.
The SDA has fielded its only team this election in Pasir Ris-Punggol, made up of party chief Desmond Lim, chief media officer Harminder Pal Singh, secretary general Abu Mohamed and new candidates Kelvin Ong and Kuswadi Atnawi.
They have contested the GRC in the last three elections. In the 2015 election, the PAP won the constituency in a direct fight against the SDA with a 72.89 per cent vote share.
Meanwhile, the PV team comprises activist Gilbert Goh, Mohamed Nassir Ismail, Jireh Lim, Prabu Ramachandran and preschool educator Vigneswari Ramachandran.