Reform Party unveils potential candidates for Singapore General Election

Reform Party unveils potential candidates for Singapore General Election

reform party candidates
A screenshot of the candidates unveiled by Reform Party on Jun 15, 2020 during a Facebook Live event. Top row, left to right: Kenneth Jeyaretnam, Charles Yeo, Andy Zhu; Middle row, left to right: Noraini Yunus, Mahaboob Batcha, moderator Tyeisha Syaquilla Ayub; Bottom row, left to right: Gurdev Singh, Darren Soh. 

SINGAPORE: The Reform Party on Monday (Jun 15) unveiled its potential lineup of seven potential candidates for Singapore's upcoming General Election, including four who had contested West Coast GRC in 2015. 

The seven are: Reform Party’s secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam, 61; party chairman and a real estate agency marketing director Andy Zhu, 37; party treasurer Noraini Yunus, 52, who works in telemarketing; Darren Soh, 52, a finance executive in Hong Leong bank ; Charles Yeo, 30, a criminal defence lawyer; Mahaboob Batcha, a 52-year-old oil and gas company director; and Gurdev Singh, 55, an assistant property manager with Colliers International. 

In an hour-long Facebook Live session on Monday night, the party did not reveal which constituencies it will contest. But Mr Zhu noted that it fielded candidates in West Coast GRC, Radin Mas SMC and Ang Mo Kio GRC in the 2015 General Election.

“We are still in talks with other opposition parties to sort out our area of contest,” he added. 

Mr Zhu was among the four candidates who contested West Coast GRC, along with Mr Jeyaretnam, Ms Noraini and Mr Soh.

They garnered 21.4 per cent of the vote in 2015 against a People’s Action Party team led by then-Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Mr Patrick Tay and Ms Foo Mee Har.

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The Reform Party garnered 12.7 per cent of the vote in Radin Mas in the last General Election, and 21.4 per cent of votes in Ang Mo Kio GRC.

During the online session, Mr Zhu, who joined the party in 2008, said he believes that the upcoming election will be a “tough battle for all of us” and asked for people to join the party and “make a difference”. 

Ms Noraini said that she will make a push for authorities to allow the withdrawal of CPF savings before age 55. If voted into Parliament, she will also promote a child benefit of S$300 per month for each child and “to fight for equal opportunity for all”. 

Introducing himself, Mr Mahaboob said he joined the party after he was inspired by its founder, the late JB Jeyaretnam's fight to improve the lives of Singaporeans. Mr Mahaboob joined the party as a volunteer in 2009, and is now the party's deputy treasurer.

Mr Singh, who joined the party in 2009, said that he is a “firm believer” in the party’s manifesto, and called for the inclusion of unemployment and pension insurance, which he said is especially relevant during the COVID-19 crisis. 

As for Mr Yeo, he said he holds the same values as Mr JB Jeyaretnam, and believes in liberal democracy, accountability and the freedom of assembly and speech. He also described lawyer M Ravi - who ran in the last elections under Reform Party - as a “mentor”.

Mr Soh was unable to speak during the event due to technical difficulties, but in reading out his biodata, the moderator Tyeisha Syaquilla Ayub said that he wants to raise awareness on poverty and social stratification issues, and believes Singapore will be more liveable if society was more inclusive. 

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The Reform Party had earlier made a bid to join the the Singapore Democratic Alliance, together with Singaporeans First, People’s Power Party and the Democratic Progressive Party, but that plan has been put on hold. 

Separately, the Singapore People’s Party (SPP) had announced on Jun 12 its slate of candidates.

According to the Straits Times, party chairman Jose Raymond, 48, will run for Potong Pasir SMC, where veteran opposition leader Chiam See Tong was Member of Parliament for 27 years between 1984 and 2011.

Four other SPP members will contest in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC - party secretary-general Steve Chia, 49; party vice-chairman Williamson Lee, 40; Mr Osman Sulaiman, 45, an interior design firm managing director; and Mr Melvyn Chiu, 41, a pet business owner.

SPP had contested both constituencies in the previous General Election.

Former party chairman Lina Chiam lost in Potong Pasir in 2015, with 33.6 per cent of votes against the PAP's Sitoh Yih Pin. Observers had predicted a close battle that year after she lost Potong Pasir by a razor-thin margin of 114 votes in 2011.

SPP's five-member team for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in 2015 was led by Benjamin Pwee and Bryan Long, garnering 26.4 per cent of the votes.

The party also ran in Hong Kah North SMC and Mountbatten SMC in 2015.

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Source: CNA/rp(gs)

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