SINGAPORE: Up to 2.4 million voters are eligible to vote in Singapore’s first general election after the death of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
A total of 832 polling stations across Singapore will open at 8am on Friday and close at 8pm the same day in the city-state’s 13th general election.
Candidates from nine political parties, including the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), are competing for 16 Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) and 13 Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) to fill 89 parliamentary seats.
The eight other parties are the Workers Party (WP), Singapore People’s Party (SPP), Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), National Solidarity Party (NSP), Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA), Reform Party (RP), Singaporeans First (SF) and People’s Power Party (PPP).
Also in the fray are two independent candidates, Han Hui Hui and Samir Salim Neji.
All eyes will be on several hotly contested seats such as the five-member Al-Junied GRC (WP is incumbent) and four-member East Coast GRC which will be contested by PAP and WP.
WP party chief Low Thia Khiang, party chairman Sylvia Lim, Chen Show Mao, Pritam Singh and Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap will be challenged by PAP’s four-term MP Yeo Guat Kwang, Victor Lye, Chua Eng Leong, K. Muralidharan Pillai and Shamsul Kamar.
East Coast was the worst-performing GRC won by the PAP in 2011.
For Ang Mo Kio GRC (six seats), PAP secretary-general Lee Hsien Loong, who is the Prime Minister, and his team Intan Mokhtar, Koh Poh Koon, Gan Thian Poh, Ang Hin Kee, Darryl David will contest against RP’s M. Ravi, Osman Sulaiman, Roy Ngerng, Gilbert Goh, Jesse Loo and Siva Chandran.
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC (four seats) will see PAP’s Vivian Balakrishnan, Christopher de Souza, Liang Eng Hwa and Sim Ann up against SDP’s Chee Soon Juan, Paul Tambyah, Chong Wai Fung and Sidek Mallek.
Chee, SDP secretary-general, is contesting in his first general election in 14 years after he was discharged from bankruptcy in 2012.
Tanjong Pagar, a stronghold of PAP during the years of the late Lee, who died in March this year, is now being contested.
PAP incumbents will be facing a five-man SingFirst team in Tanjong Pagar’s first electoral contest since 1991.
Meanwhile, several issues such as cost of living, immigration, transport, wage gap, housing and health were raised during the campaign. Three single-member constituencies (SMCs) – Bukit Batok, MacPherson and Radin Mas – will witness three-cornered fights.
Eighteen designated assembly centres have been established where electoral candidates, their supporters and members of the public can gather to wait the announcement of results after polling closes. – Bernama