Quite 'uncanny' that SMCs contested by the Workers' Party removed: Pritam Singh

Quite 'uncanny' that SMCs contested by the Workers' Party removed: Pritam Singh

WP Pritam Singh 2 Sep
(Photo: Sarah Yang)

SINGAPORE: It is quite “uncanny” that Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) which the Workers’ Party (WP) contested were removed with the redrawing of electoral divisions, the party’s chief Pritam Singh said on Monday (Mar 16).

Mr Singh was speaking to the media for the first time since the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) released its report last week, at his Meet-the-People session on Bedok Reservoir Road.

READ: More electoral divisions, no 6-member GRCs in coming election: EBRC report

When asked for his response to the report, the Aljunied GRC MP said: “I think it's quite uncanny that SMCs which the WP contested are sort of removed even after just one election, which is quite curious.”

Fengshan, Sengkang West and Punggol East SMCs, which the WP contested, have been absorbed into GRCs.

“We are price-takers, not price-setters,” he said. In its initial statement following the report on Friday, WP questioned the committee’s decision to dissolve the three SMCs.

READ: Workers' Party questions EBRC decision to dissolve 3 SMCs

READ: Workers’ Party urges Government to ‘take caution’ and ‘exercise judiciousness’ when calling for election

He added that every member of the public has the "scope and space" to pass an opinion on that.

However, he added: “That's now in the past. It is what it is. Let’s move forward.”

In 2015, the WP fielded candidates in five GRCs- Aljunied, East Coast, Jalan Besar, Nee Soon and Marine Parade. Other than the three SMCs that have been absorbed into GRCs, the party retained its seat in Hougang and ran in MacPherson.

Sengkang West and Punggol East have both been absorbed into Sengkang GRC.

READ: Lam Pin Min expects fierce competition from opposition parties in Sengkang GRC

He added that it is “quite premature at the moment” to tell if WP will have to contest in more GRCs compared to SMCs, based on where it contested previously.  

“I think we have to take it one step at a time,” he said. 

When asked for his response on current WP wards, Hougang SMC and Aljunied GRC maintaining their boundaries, he said there has yet to be an opposition constituency which has had its boundaries reoriented by the EBRC.

READ: Smaller GRCs, more SMCs may boost GE contestability, a positive step for democracy in Singapore: Political observers

Mr Singh did not say if the same team will contest in Aljunied GRC, which has been under the WP since 2011. 

"Let's see what happens during nomination," he said, in response to a question. 

Mr Singh added that house visits continue during the COVID-19 period, although the team takes precautions.

“You still have to canvas for support, you still have to ask residents how they are doing. There is some risk, but I think we take all precautions,” he said.

Source: CNA/ja(hm)

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