SINGAPORE – The new Sengkang GRC will likely be the stage for a face-off between a PAP team led by labour chief Ng Chee Meng, and a Workers’ Party (WP) contingent that looks to be helmed by lawyer He Ting Ru.
Mr Ng’s team arrived at St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School – the nomination centre for Sengkang GRC – at about 10.15 am on Tuesday (June 30), which is Nomination Day.
There was no change to the slate which the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) had heavily hinted it would field in the four-member group representation constituency in the north-east of Singapore.
The PAP team seen at the nomination centre included Mr Ng, formerly an MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC; Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min; Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, and PAP new face Raymond Lye, a lawyer.
Meanwhile, the WP team arrived at about 10.40am. The WP, in line with its tradition of keeping its cards close to its chest, had not formally announced its line-up for Sengkang GRC.
But Ms He, 37, was seen entering the nomination centre with economist Jamus Lim, 44; equity research analyst Louis Chua, 33 and social activist Raeesah Khan, 26.
Of the four candidates likely to be fielded by the WP, three are new faces taking part in their first general election. Ms He had been part of the WP team contesting Marine Parade GRC in 2015.
Candidates from both parties arrived at the nomination centre in high spirits. They were accompanied by endorsers clad in their party colours – white for the PAP, and blue for the WP.
But while this is typical of nomination day during a general election, it was clear that GE2020 was taking place in unusual times.
Everyone wore a mask. Temperature screening was conducted before candidates and their endorsers could enter the nomination centre, and those who did were seen scanning the SafeEntry QR codes for contact tracing.
Entourages were considerably smaller, and party members were careful to stick to safe distancing guidelines.
Pundits expect a close fight between the PAP and WP in Sengkang GRC, a newly-formed constituency that contains old WP stomping grounds.
Sengkang GRC was formed by taking the Sengkang Central ward from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and combining it with the single seat of Punggol East and part of Sengkang West SMC. It covers the Anchorvale, Compassvale and Rivervale neighbourhoods.
Both Punggol East and Sengkang West were contested by the opposition in previous general elections.
The PAP won Punggol East SMC by a slim margin in 2015. Party stalwart Charles Chong, with 51.76 per cent of the vote, took the single-member constituency from the WP’s Lee Li Lian that year. Ms Lee had previously won the SMC in a 2013 by-election.