GE2020: The Singapore People's Party
GE2020: Voting for the first time and knowing next to nothing about the various political parties in Singapore? Get to know them and their new candidates in our General Election (GE) series. series.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PARTY
The Singapore People's Party (SPP) was formed in 1994 by the late opposition politician Sin Kek Tong.
Party chief Steve Chia took over the leadership in November 2019 from opposition icon Chiam See Tong, who has retired from politics.
Mr Chiam, who joined SPP in 1997, was the longest serving opposition Member of Parliament from 1984 to 2011, until the record was overtaken in 2018 by Workers’ Party’s Low Thia Khiang.
Mr Chiam did not contest in the last elections in 2015 but his wife ran — and lost — in Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency (SMC). GE2020 will be the first time SPP is contesting the polls without a Chiam.
The party plans to field five candidates in GE2020. Its national campaign slogan is “A Better Tomorrow”. At the constituency level, its slogans are “An Alternative Voice” for Bishan-Toa Payoh and “Your Voice, Your Friend” for Potong Pasir.
NEW CANDIDATES UNVEILED SO FAR
Mr Steve Chia, 50
Mr Chia took over as SPP chief in November 2019. He was the former secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) from 2001 to 2005. In GE2001, he contested in the now-defunct Chua Chu Kang SMC and lost, with 34.66 per cent of the vote.
With the highest percentage of votes garnered by an opposition losing candidate, he became a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from 2002 to 2006.
Having been a member of NSP since 1995, he left the party in 2017 to join SPP. He is a veteran of four GEs so far, having contested in the 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011 polls.
"We want to talk about issues that matter to Singaporeans. We want greater accountability and transparency of our reserves, which is something I personally want to discuss when I'm in Parliament."
Mr Jose Raymond, 48
Mr Raymond is the chief strategy officer of communications firm SW Strategies.
He is a former member of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and was press secretary to Dr Vivian Balakrishnan when he was Environment and Water Resources Minister.
Mr Raymond joined SPP in October 2017. He is the party chairman and plans to contest in Potong Pasir SMC. He attended Mr Chiam’s rally at Potong Pasir in 1984, which Mr Chiam eventually won. He then volunteered for Mr Chiam in his 1988 campaign.
“Citizens’ welfare and helping advance the economic standing of Singaporeans are two areas which I take a keen interest in,” he said. “I hope to be able to play a part in the discourse on policies which affect our citizens, as I strongly feel about the need for diversity and plurality of voices.”
Mr Khan Osman Sulaiman, 45
Mr Osman owns an interior design firm and is a former Reform Party candidate.
In GE2015, his team stood against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s team in Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and received 21.37 per cent of the vote.
Despite the loss, he remained politically active, speaking at protests held at Hong Lim Park, for example.
Mr Osman, who joined SPP earlier this year, said that he did so because he holds Mr Chiam in high regard and feels that its manifesto aligns with his own values.
"I hope to continue the good work Mr Chiam has done, as well as forwarding the party's belief in transparency and accountability of the Government. I hope to create quality jobs and ensure that the bulk of them go to Singaporeans."
Mr Melvyn Chiu, 40
Mr Chiu is a business owner in the pet industry and is a former candidate for the Singapore First party in GE2015.
His team contested in Tanjong Pagar GRC and lost, garnering 22.3 per cent of the votes.
He grew up in Potong Pasir with Mr Chiam as his MP, and lived there with his mother in a four-room flat.
Like Mr Osman, he joined the SPP earlier this year. He said that he had admired Mr Chiam’s contributions to his estate.
One of the issues which he feels strongly about is the job market for Singaporeans, whose livelihoods have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"With the effect of Covid-19, job security has been on a lot of people's minds. I've heard that a lot of people may not have jobs to return to. We want to bring back not just ordinary jobs, but good jobs for Singaporeans," he said.
Mr Williiamson Lee, 41
Mr Lee is a long-time member of SPP and was Mrs Chiam’s elections agent during her campaign in Potong Pasir in GE2015.
He is self-employed in the automotive industry and is the vice-chairman of the party.
One of the issues he feels strongly about is providing more funds for the Silver Support Scheme to help older Singaporeans. This will be his first time contesting an election.
"I will endeavour to be an effective check and balance in the policy-making process as I believe a robust contest of ideas will lead to policies that better serve Singaporeans."
WHERE IT’S EXPECTED TO CONTEST
Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC
Potong Pasir SMC
RESULTS IN GE2015
Lost in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC with 26.41 per cent of the vote.
Lost in Hong Kah North SMC with 25.24 per cent of the vote.
Lost in Mountbatten SMC with 28.16 per cent of the vote.
Lost in Potong Pasir SMC with 33.59 per cent of the vote.