Following the talks among the opposition parties on Monday, the Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party said yesterday it has made substantial changes to its plans, potentially giving rise to more complicated negotiations at the second round of horse-trading talks tomorrow.
Of the four Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) it had expressed an interest in, it will relinquish Marine Parade and Pasir Ris-Punggol. But it is now casting its eyes on three new constituencies, SingFirst secretary-general Tan Jee Say told TODAY.
“We are discussing about Jurong, West Coast and Holland-Bukit Timah … We will probably not end up with all, but we’re now negotiating,” he said.
Tanjong Pagar GRC, one of its original targets, is off the negotiating table too, said Mr Tan, although he will listen to an idea mooted by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to send a joint team there. Tampines is the remaining GRC SingFirst had staked its claim on, alongside the National Solidarity Party (NSP) — the People’s Power Party has since backed out.
With these changes, SingFirst has, for the moment, cleared a multi-way fight in one constituency, but created a crowded field in three others.
Its exit sets the stage for the Singapore Democratic Alliance to go head-to-head with the incumbent People’s Action Party in Pasir Ris-Punggol. Marine Parade, however, is still being claimed by the Workers’ Party and the NSP. For the new GRCs SingFirst is aiming for: The NSP has staked its claim on Jurong, the Reform Party (RP) on West Coast, and the Singapore Democratic Party on Holland-Bukit Timah.
Asked about the likelihood that SingFirst and DPP would field a joint team in Tanjong Pagar GRC, Mr Tan said it was an initiative from DPP that has yet to come up with a proposal.
“It’s always good to consider somebody’s offer … but we have a complete team (for the GRC) … so we have to see what they have in mind,” he said.
Meanwhile, RP chairman Andy Zhu said the party will stand its ground in wards it had contested in the 2011 General Election, such as Ang Mo Kio and West Coast GRCs, as well as the Radin Mas single seat. RP is also interested in Jurong GRC, which has absorbed the Clementi ward it had fought in.
Mr Zhu said the party will not hold bilateral meetings ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of opposition parties, so any resolution of issues or compromises to be struck will only be discussed then.