SINGAPORE: Despite the four—cornered fight in the Punggol East by—election, Assistant Professor Eugene Tan feels that it will ultimately boil down to a two—horse race between the People’s Action Party and the Workers’ Party.
Asst Prof Tan, who is also a Nominated MP, said: "Depending on how well the opposition supporters support Workers’ Party, we could see the Reform Party and the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) performing poorly, and I won’t exclude the possibility that they could also lose their electoral deposits, as opposition voters try to pool their support behind who they regard as being the best opposition candidate in Punggol East."
He also commented on the election strategies that the parties are likely to adopt.
Asst Prof Tan said: "I think the Workers’ Party will campaign essentially on the strategy that you need more opposition MPs. They will certainly try to take credit for the changes in policies that the government has rolled out since May 2011, as suggesting that this indicates that a stronger opposition presence is actually a win—win situation for Singaporeans."
He added: "I think they will, on their part, have to show how a ninth MP from the Workers’ Party will actually make a qualitative difference. They already have eight MPs — six elected and two Non—Constituency MPs. The question is, will a ninth make a difference?
"And I think this is where the Reform Party and the SDA will try to leverage on, to say that well, you know, it is good for there to be stronger opposition presence but do you want the same opposition presence or can we have another voice?"
Asst Prof Tan said the PAP will probably face the biggest challenge.
"They would have to show that voters should keep faith with them and that "having the 81st MP in Dr Koh will actually make a difference to the voters in Punggol East," he said.
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