Political parties resume ground activities under Phase 2 as speculation about election grows
SINGAPORE: Several political parties were undertaking outreach activities on Saturday (Jun 20) as speculation grows that the next General Election is imminent.
Singapore moved into Phase 2 of reopening on Friday following a two-month "circuit breaker" period. Some parties were out and about on that day, with the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and the People's Action Party's (PAP) Henry Kwek and MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC) at Mayflower Market and Food Centre, and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) carrying out house visits in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
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The SDP continued its activities at Holland-Bukit Timah GRC on Saturday.
Chairman of the party Paul Tambyah and member Benjamin Pwee were giving out flags and flyers at Ghim Moh Road hawker centre and nearby coffee shops. They could be heard telling people that “elections are coming”.
Speaking to the media, Professor Tambyah said that the party’s first priority is people's health while conducting its walkabouts.
“We want to make sure we don’t start a (COVID-19) cluster and we have a super spreader knocking on doors. That’s something we definitely do not want happening,” he said.
“These are the things that, when you’re doing an election in the middle of a pandemic, you have to be prepared for.”
He said that the party has “no choice” but to go door-to-door to meet constituents as “older people don’t go online”.
He added that the bread and butter of an opposition campaign has been rallies. At rallies, voters get a chance to hear for themselves from the candidates and the parties, and engage with them, he said.
The Elections Department said on Thursday that there would be no physical rallies if the election is held during Phase 2.
The SDP is expected to continue its ground work on Sunday and the coming week.
The Singapore People's Party's (SPP) Bishan-Toa Payoh team was also out on a walkabout on Saturday. The party introduced secretary-general Steve Chia, vice-chairman Williamson Lee, and members Melvyn Chiu and Osman Sulaiman to residents there.
The walkabout followed a Facebook Live session with chairman Jose Raymond on Friday night. Mr Raymond will be running in Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency.
The PSP, which unveiled its first batch of political candidates on Thursday, was out and about in Boon Lay on Saturday.
The party’s secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock said on Friday that the PSP will not shy away from three-cornered fights should the situation arise.
Dr Tan was Member of Parliament for Ayer Rajah for 26 years, when he was with the PAP. The ward is now part of West Coast GRC, where the PSP has begun conducting weekly meet-up sessions via Zoom with constituents.
At the last General Election in 2015, the West Coast GRC was contested by the Reform Party (RP) and the PAP.
RP garnered 21.4 per cent of the vote against a PAP 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.
RP said on its Facebook page that it would have a meet-and-greet session with residents of West Coast GRC on Friday. It also said it will continue its virtual outreach via Facebook Live on Saturday.
Elsewhere, at least one member from the Workers' Party was also out and about on Saturday, according to a Facebook post.
Former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong said on his Facebook page that for the first time in three months he was in WP gear to do cooked food distribution in Marine Parade GRC, and campaign engagement after that.