The National Solidarity Party (NSP) re-opened its spat with the Workers’ Party (WP), with its central executive council (CEC) member Steve Chia accusing WP of not showing respect in a Facebook post yesterday (Aug 19).
Justifying NSP’s decision to contest in the MacPherson Single-Member Constituency (SMC) — despite earlier saying it would not — Mr Chia pointed out that at the first round of talks between the Opposition parties earlier this month, the WP had not given a deadline on its offer to give up contesting in the MacPherson ward in return for the NSP to stay out of Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
WP’s representatives at the discussions also agreed to attend the second round of talks to finalise the discussion, Mr Chia said. However, WP was a no-show. WP chairman Sylvia Lim subsequently told the media that WP skipped the meeting because it “would not (have been) productive”.
Nevertheless, Mr Chia said WP left his party “in a very unreasonable state”.
Mr Chia, who served as a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2006, added: “Our calls, emails and WhatsApp message to them all went unanswered. There is no respect for fellow comrades in the (Opposition) cause… We can only hope WP will respect us and give up the single SMC as they had initially promised.”
The WP, however, was not drawn into a tiff. Commenting on the matter, Hougang MP Png Eng Huat would only say that his party was “surprised” by NSP’s U-turn. He reiterated that WP will contest in MacPherson SMC, and NSP’s latest decision would have no bearing on WP’s choice of candidate there.
Associate professor Alan Chong from the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies said the latest twist was a result of “petty politics” that was typical of the opposition landscape.
“Much as people think the opposition has turned a corner by forging what’s called an informal agreement not to produce three-cornered fight scenarios, there’s still the same old characteristics that wrought the opposition in terms of strategy — the reluctance to give up a window of opportunity as soon as it appears,” he said