SINGAPORE: Red Dot United will challenge the People’s Action Party (PAP) at the polls in Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC), after both teams successfully filed their nomination papers at Nan Hua High School on Tuesday (Jun 30).
The PAP team comprises Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, Ms Rahayu Mahzam, and new candidates Mr Shawn Huang and Mr Xie Yao Quan.
“If we are elected, our first priority is to help all our residents to see through this crisis - anyone who’s lost a job, anyone with kids who need looking after, anyone who has elderly parents who need care," said Mr Tharman in his speech following the successful submission.
“But we also want to keep improving and building on what we have achieved over the years. Our work never stops to build a stronger and warmer Jurong community.”
Mr Tharman announced Mr Xie’s candidacy on Monday. Mr Xie replaces Keppel Offshore and Marine general manager Ivan Lim, who withdrew from the General Election after criticisms of his behaviour surfaced on social media.
The team from Red Dot United, Singapore’s newest opposition party, includes party founders and former Progress Singapore Party (PSP) members Ravi Philemon and Michelle Lee, Ms Liyana Dhamirah, Mr Nicholas Tang and Mr Alec Tok Kim Yam.
Said Ms Lee: “For Red Dot United, this election is not about winning or losing. It is about standing up to be counted, and it is about the voices of the people in Jurong being counted as well.
“We cannot shy away from a battle because it will be a tough one. We want to show our children and our people there is hope and we can make a difference and be heard."
Red Dot United announced its plans to contest in Jurong GRC earlier this month.
Both parties stopped to take questions from reporters after their balcony speeches.
When asked if Mr Ivan Lim's withdrawal and Dr Tan Wu Meng's recent Facebook post will affect the PAP's vote share, Mdm Rahayu said that they have to be "realistic", and "events like this will clearly cause some erosion of faith in our team".
"But what we hope is that residents will also give us an opportunity, also look at all the efforts we've done ... I believe that if we're given the opportunity and residents look at the past work, as well as all the efforts that we are putting in place to help support the residents, hopefully they'll continue to give us a spot," said Mdm Rahayu.
Meanwhile, in response to a question on Red Dot United's strategy, Mr Philemon said: "Although we are a new team, we were formed barely two weeks ago, all of us are not new to the social and the public life."
In 2015, the PAP's Jurong team earned the highest vote share of all PAP teams, garnering 79.3 per cent of the vote. The 2015 team comprised Mr Tharman, Dr Tan, Mdm Rahayu, Mr Desmond Lee and Mr Ang Wei Neng.
Held by the PAP since its 2001 creation, the five-member Jurong GRC has 131,234 electors this year.