Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/10/2013 04:32 | By Channel NewsAsia

Reform Party & SDP eye Punggol East by—election contest

Reform Party & SDP eye Punggol East by—election contest

Reform Party & SDP eye Punggol East by—election contest

SINGAPORE: Reform Party’s Secretary—General Kenneth Jeyaretnam has said his party is "strongly considering" whether or not to contest the upcoming Punggol East by—election.

But Mr Jeyaretnam said he will be the candidate fielded if the party does decide to do so.

He added that he would re—locate to live in Punggol East if he is elected.

"Punggol East you know is a quarter the size of West Coast, and so despite the short amount of time available, we are very confident. Locally on the ground, the residents have the same issues as most constituencies," he said.

On the possibility of a six—cornered fight, Mr Jeyaretnam said it is healthy for Singapore that the people are given a choice on ideology and who they think will be most effective.

Chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Mohamed Jufrie Mahmood said news of the by—election being called for Punggol East came as a surprise.

He said the SDP did not expect that the Prime Minister would decide on the by—election so soon.

Speaking to the media at the Punggol East ward on Wednesday evening, Mr Jufrie said even though the party is ready for a contest, it would have to accelerate its campaign.

He said the party would be announcing its candidate within the next few days.

Mr Jufrie added that as far as possible, the party would try to avoid a multi—cornered fight.

He said that his party hopes to persuade the Workers’ Party to give the voters the option of electing another opposition party.

But he added that if that does not happen, the SDP is firm on contesting the by—election.

Secretary—General of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) Desmond Lim said the news of the by—election date came as no surprise, and that the party is "operationally—ready".

He said it would be better for Punggol East SMC to have a parliamentary representative as soon as possible, rather than a caretaker one.

Mr Lim confirmed that the SDA would be fielding a candidate but declined to reveal a name for now.

Mr Lim said: "Well, it’s good to have more than two parties in the Parliament. Parliament needs to have a diversified voice, and this will prevent, in case, the two parties come into coalition, there will still be other opposition voices in Parliament."

— CNA/de/fa/sf

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