SDP says it will not contest in Hougang

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) will not contest in a by-election for Hougang should one take place, secretary-general Chee Soon Juan announced in a statement yesterday evening.

"The SDP's primary concern is that the constituency of Hougang must remain in the hands of the opposition," said Dr Chee.

He said that the constituency "must not be re-captured" by the People's Action Party (PAP). "This being the case, and if the circumstances remain the way they are, the SDP will not contest in a by-election in Hougang."

Aside from the Workers' Party (WP), the SDP is the first opposition party to issue an official statement on the by-election issue since the WP expelled Hougang MP Yaw Shin Leong on Wednesday for not coming clean on his alleged extra-marital affairs.

Echoing the SDP's sentiment was former presidential candidate and former SDP member Tan Jee Say. He told my paper yesterday: "The first priority is to make sure that Hougang doesn't fall into PAP hands. (It) must remain in opposition hands."

He hopes that the opposition parties can get together and discuss how best to "put a single candidate forward".

However, he added that he would not rule out the possibility of a multi-party fight, or running as a candidate in the by-election "depending on the circumstances".

According to The Straits Times, Mr Tan has indicated that he is open to contesting in a by-election. And so is former Reform Party (RP) chairman Frankie Low.

Mr Tan told the English daily that he wanted to get all the opposition parties together to put forward a single candidate and that he would consider being the candidate if asked.

He also did not rule out the possibility of joining a political party if he were to contest the seat.

52-year-old business man Frankie Low has started looking for sponsors to fund his campaign and told The Straits Times that he felt contesting Hougang would help him achieve his goal of helping to build up a viable party elsewhere.

As for Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, the Reform Party's secretary-general, he said in an e-mail: "My personal hope for the people of Hougang is that Mr Low Thia Kiang will persuade (former WP member) Eric Tan to rejoin the party. He can then put up a candidate of long-term good standing with the party and the people thereby minimising disruption."

my paper contacted Mr Yip Yew Weng, a council member of the National Solidarity Party's central executive committee (CEC) last night, who said that the CEC has not convened to discuss whether it would contest in a by-election.

Opposition parties weight in on Hougang by-election
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP, BH, Reform Party)

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