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Tin Pei Ling’s new status as a mum is a weakness: Cheo

SINGAPORE — The National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) surprise pick to contest in MacPherson yesterday (Sept 3) took aim at his opponents, and cited his experience as a Member of Parliament over close to two decades ago as an advantage in the three-cornered fight.

The NSP’s Mr Cheo Chai Chen (right) with Mr Steve Chia (left) and Ms Kervyn Lim (centre) during a walkabout on Sunday. Mr Cheo said the NSP insisted on its bid for MacPherson as a matter of principle. Photo: Hon Jing Yi

The NSP’s Mr Cheo Chai Chen (right) with Mr Steve Chia (left) and Ms Kervyn Lim (centre) during a walkabout on Sunday. Mr Cheo said the NSP insisted on its bid for MacPherson as a matter of principle. Photo: Hon Jing Yi

SINGAPORE — The National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) surprise pick to contest in MacPherson yesterday (Sept 3) took aim at his opponents, and cited his experience as a Member of Parliament over close to two decades ago as an advantage in the three-cornered fight.

Mr Cheo Chai Chen, 64, is facing the People’s Action Party’s Tin Pei Ling and the Workers’ Party’s (WP) Bernard Chen in the ward, which was carved out of Marine Parade GRC in the electoral boundaries review.

Speaking to TODAY at the NSP headquarters in Jalan Besar, he said: “My Workers’ Party opponent is inexperienced, and I will work hard to get the support of voters.” Mr Chen, 29, is new to elections and the youngest candidate fielded by the WP.

Of Ms Tin, who was elected in 2011, Mr Cheo, who spoke in Mandarin, said: “The PAP’s Tin Pei Ling has been working very hard. But she has just given birth, so voters should let her go home and rest, and take care of her child.

“In general, mothers love their children, so they spend a lot of time with them. If voters choose her, she might focus more on her child than on her voters. This is her weakness.”

An MP for Nee Soon Central from 1991 to 1997 under the Singapore Democratic Party, Mr Cheo was fielded at the last minute, after party colleague Steve Chia flip-flopped on his decision to contest in MacPherson last week, following the appearance of online postings with details about the nude photo scandal involving him in 2003.

In 2011, Mr Cheo was part of the NSP five-man team fielded in Marine Parade GRC, where they garnered 43.36 per cent of the vote.

Mr Cheo also said that the NSP insisted on its bid for MacPherson as a matter of principle. “It’s primarily because the WP is too arrogant,” said Mr Cheo, citing the WP’s decision not to attend a second round of opposition talks to avoid three-corner fights on Aug 6, as well as its refusal to engage with the NSP when the latter tried to contact the party for bilateral talks.

Mr Cheo continued: “Everyone was surprised (by our decision to contest in MacPherson). Even experts thought we wouldn’t enter a three-corner fight. But this is life and death. If we keep backing down, residents and the general population will think we are very weak. An MP cannot be weak — how are you supposed to speak up for residents if you are weak?”

Despite having been relatively quiet on the campaign trail so far, Mr Cheo thinks he will do well enough to keep his election deposit, adding that residents in MacPherson recognise him because of his experience as an MP and from his time on the trail in Marine Parade in 2011. “Maybe it’s the Workers’ Party that will end up losing its deposit?” he added.

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