SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party’s (PAP) Murali Pillai will face Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan at the polls in Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC), after both candidates successfully filed their nomination papers at Nan Hua High School on Tuesday (Jun 30).
Mr Murali took control of Bukit Batok SMC when he beat Dr Chee in a 2016 by-election, taking 61.2 per cent of the vote. The by-election was called after the previous PAP candidate David Ong stepped down, citing a “personal indiscretion”.
When asked how he was feeling prior to filing his nomination papers, Mr Murali said: "It’s part of a nine-day battle. I will do my best to convince Bukit Batok of my plans for them.”
In a speech after confirming his candidacy, Mr Murali said that the election was about “choosing the right person” to lead Singapore “out of this terrible storm”.
“The objective is to make Bukit Batok a stronger community with a brighter future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chee Soon Juan, who arrived at about 11.30am, confirmed earlier this month that he planned to run in the constituency.
“This election is about choosing the candidate to represent you in parliament, choosing somebody on a full time basis, and I’ll show you in the coming days how my opponent in Bukit Batok has not lived up to his promises and this is going to be a major issue in Bukit Batok,” said Dr Chee after confirming his candidacy.
Mr Murali and Dr Chee both stopped to answer questions from reporters after filing their nomination papers.
In response to Dr Chee's criticism that Mr Murali had not been able to put in his fullest effort because of a full time job, Mr Murali said that the campaign is "not over".
"The campaign is not over today, there’s nine days to run, including today. I will deal with these issues in due course, but today I would like to speak about my manifesto and the plans that I have," he said.
Dr Chee on Thursday questioned in a Facebook post if Mr Murali was aware of several delays in upgrading works in Bukit Batok, a subject he raised once again when he spoke to reporters on Nomination Day.
"There are quite a few issues right now that are very unique to Bukit Batok, every day we seem to be getting more revelations about the way my PAP opponent has been taking care of, or more appropriately, taking his eye off the ball when it comes to looking after the estate, the residents' welfare," said Dr Chee.
Bukit Batok SMC was absorbed into Bukit Timah GRC in 1997. It later became part of Jurong GRC, before it was carved out again for the 2015 General Election. It has 29,950 electors this year.