RONALD LEE: If everything goes ahead as planned and we do see an opposition coalition spring, we’re likely to see “Pakatan Singapura” gunning for 2 GRCs because of the number of leaders in the team.
Since there’s no sign of the SPP’s Lina Chiam or anyone from the Workers’ Party, we’re looking at about 10 names that will likely be playing off each other to win GRCs (rather than SMCs because that’ll be a one-man contest where you can’t leverage off one another’s reputation).
GRCs are currently, before any goalpost-shifting, divided into 4-man, 5-man, and 6-man GRCs.
So which ones will these 10 opposition leaders be gunning for?
Independent: Tan Cheng Bock
People’s Voice Party: Lim Tean
SDP: Paul Tambyah
SDP: Chee Soon Juan
SDA: Desmond Lim
PPP: Goh Meng Seng
SingFirst: Tan Jee Say
Democratic Progressive Party: Benjamin Pwee
NSP: Spencer Ng
Reform Party: Kenneth Jeyaretnam
West Coast GRC could be one of the prime targets – that’s where Kenneth J has traditionally contested. Dr Tan’s former Ayer Rajah SMC (a long, long time ago when he was a PAP MP) has now been absorbed under West Coast GRC.
With the PAP’s Lim Hng Kiang retiring as Trade and Industry minister, that leaves Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran as the “anchor minister” of the constituency. Can he hold the fort with the likes of Patrick Tay and Foo Mee Har?
It will be interesting to see who else joins the opposition coalition team in the 4-man GRC.
Perhaps top “groundsman” Desmond Lim, who’s known from a long-time back as the chap behind Chiam See Tong’s consistent success in Potong Pasir.
And, wily veteran Goh Meng Seng?
And also, if it the opposition coalition does contest in West Coast, then what will happen to the remaining 6 party leaders?
While the opposition parties have said that ego shouldn’t get in the way of politics, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to back down from a fight, without a fight.
But the only 6-man GRCs (again, without any goalpost-shifting), are PM Lee Hsien Loong’s Ang Mo Kio GRC, as well as DPM Teo Chee Hean and potential future DPM Ng Chee Meng’s Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
My bet is on the coalition going for Holland-Bukit Timah – one of the weakest links in the PAP’s GRC armour.
In GE2015, Dr Chee and Prof Tambyah mounted a challenge there and score 34 percent of the votes, making it one of the top opposition-voting GRCs (behind the WP’s Marine Parade and Aljunied GRCs).
Who will join them to contest this atas 4-man GRC – perhaps eloquent candidates like Lim Tean or Tan Jee Say?
Will we see the DPP’s Ben Pwee and NSP’s Spencer Ng left to fight their own fights?
Anyway, this is pure speculation as the coalition is still a work in progress.
And, Dr Tan Cheng Bock with his lone wolf nature might just decide to go it alone in one of the SMCs instead if he thinks he everyone else is simply deadweight.