SINGAPORE: The opposition Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) held its first walkabout at Punggol East on Sunday.
The walkabout was held 10 days after it said it would contest the single seat, following the resignation of the ward’s Member of Parliament (MP) Michael Palmer. Mr Palmer had resigned because of an extra—marital affair.
There was no indication yet on who the SDP may field should there be a by—election for Punggol East.
The party’s secretary—general Dr Chee Soon Juan said the SDP will campaign on national and local issues, should there be a by—election.
While Dr Chee identified local concerns, such as improvements to bus services and having more coffee shops in the estate, he also wants to bring up wider national concerns.
He said: "We are determined to carry on and continue to press our message and be able to explain to Singaporeans the urgent need for health care cost reform, for the urgent need to make our HDB flats affordable and for the very pressing problem of our population and the current immigration policy."
Separately, the ward’s caretaker MP Teo Ser Luck told Channel NewsAsia that residents’ concerns remain top priority.
"I think there are so many of the local issues that I still want to work hard on and resolve them first. Whenever I walk in the streets, residents would recognise and stop me and bring up their own individual household and family issues. I think there’s a lot we should be worried about and should be working hard on than anything else for the moment," said Mr Teo.
For example, there are childcare and of course there are some traffic issues. It’s not just about bus services, it’s also about traffic, it’s also about we can ensure some safety measures on the road. And some of them ask me about the future plans for this place. I think those are the issues that concern them very much."
Punggol East may face a six—cornered fight, if a by—election is called for.
The Constitution does not require the prime minister to call a by—election within any fixed time frame.
But Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said he will carefully consider whether to call a by—election in Punggol East and, if so, when.
Mr Lee has also assured Singaporeans that he will make his decision based on what "is best for the constituents of Punggol East and the country."
Separately, Dr Chee declined to comment on the legal action taken against SDP member Vincent Wijeysingha by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan—Jin’s lawyers, over defamatory comments made on his Facebook page.
Mr Wijeysingha has apologised for making the comments about Mr Tan, in an article on the illegal strike by SMRT bus drivers from China.
Dr Chee would only say that he hopes going forward, politics in Singapore will "be debated...instead of legal action being taken".
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