Three-cornered fights surprise in SMCs
Will a self-described 'foreign talent', a blogger and an opposition veteran act as 'spoilers'?
Twenty years ago, he was a young engineer in Kerala, India. Then he got a chance to attend a course here in 1997, and fell in love with the city-state.
"I liked how dynamic and multicultural Singapore is. I liked the learning I could get here that I couldn't get back in India," Mr Samir Salim Neji said.
Within a year, he got a job here and started working in the finance and technology industry as an Employment Pass holder. Five years later, he became a Singapore citizen.
"I'm one of Mr Lee Kuan Yew's foreign talents who came to Singapore close to 20 years back.
"I'm integrating more and more into Singapore, and am happy to be a part of it," said the managing director of a software company.
The father of two topped his Singapore journey by turning up yesterday at Keming Primary School to file his nomination papers.
Mr Samir will stand against the People Action Party's (PAP) David Ong and the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Sadasivam Veriyah in Bukit Batok SMC.
His candidacy was one of a few surprises on Nomination Day.
Blogger Han Hui Hui, a vocal activist against the Central Provident Fund system, also successfully registered as an independent candidate for Radin Mas SMC.
She will contest there against PAP incumbent Sam Tan and the Reform Party's Kumar Appavoo.
The last time independent candidates contested a general election was in 2001.
Both independents' entries have created three-cornered fights - a situation that the opposition parties had previously tried to avoid.
In another unexpected move, Mr Cheo Chai Chen - who was an MP between 1991 and 1997 under the SDP - threw his name in the hat under the National Solidarity Party (NSP) banner at MacPherson SMC.
This comes after NSP decided on Aug 19 to contest MacPherson SMC after initially saying it would not.
WP had, at the time, expressed its intent to contest there.
But the earlier NSP candidate identified, Mr Steve Chia, said a day later via social media that he would not stand for election as he had experienced online attacks."It was a principled decision that we took because of our supporters in MacPherson," NSP's new acting secretary-general, 50-year-old legal consultant Mr Lim Tean, told reporters yesterday.
"The National Solidarity Party has been the most active opposition party promoting opposition unity. We were the ones who initiated the talks among opposition parties to avoid three-cornered fights. We believe to a very large extent, we have avoided a three-cornered fight."
Mr Lim, who will be a Tampines GRC candidate for NSP, explained that MacPherson SMC used to be part of Marine Parade GRC, where NSP won 43.36 per cent in 2011.
"We already made a very huge concession to the Workers' Party when we allowed them to contest Marine Parade GRC this time," he said.
"And I believe that, at the end of the day, it was our right to go into MacPherson, and if the Workers' Party had wanted to avoid the three-cornered fight, it should really have allowed us a straight fight with the PAP."
Mr Cheo will be facing PAP incumbent Ms Tin Pei Ling and Workers' Party's Mr Bernard Chen at the Sept 11 polls.
Delta Hockey Pitch, 900 Tiong Bahru Road, 7pm to 10pm
Electoral Division: Radin Mas SMC
Open field in front of Block 837 Hougang Central, 7pm to 10pm
Electoral Division: Hougang SMC
DID YOU KNOW?
BIGGEST CONSTITUENCY: Ang Mo Kio GRC, 6-man team with 187,652 voters
SMALLEST CONSTITUENCY: Potong Pasir SMC, 17,389 voters
OLDEST CANDIDATE: Goh Chok Tong (PAP), 74
YOUNGEST CANDIDATE: Han Hui Hui (Independent), 24