Singapore

Opposition group hopes Tan Cheng Bock factor can split PAP vote

A proposed opposition group, which has yet to register its alliance, is hoping Dr Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will split the People's Action Party (PAP) vote in the next election due by April next year.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Mr Tan Jee Say, who leads the Singaporeans First party (SingFirst), described Dr Tan's role as "just like how Mahathir split the Malay vote in Malaysia".

In the 2018 general election in Malaysia, Malay voters were split three ways among the Umno-led Barisan Nasional, Parti Islam SeMalaysia and the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Tan said: "We hope Dr Tan will not split the opposition vote, and will just split the PAP vote, because... that is his value-add (for the opposition). The opposition vote is already there, 30 to 40 per cent, with or without Dr Tan and PSP."

The Straits Times broke the news earlier this month that SingFirst, the Democratic Progressive Party, People's Power Party (PPP) and Reform Party were planning to form a four-party alliance, reducing the crowded field of 11 opposition parties to eight.

The PSP, for its part, is preferring to keep its options open, but Dr Tan has said a "loose association" with other parties remains. His comments, made at the party's Chinese New Year dinner last Friday, come in the wake of disparaging remarks made about the opposition alliance by his personal secretary Alex Tan.

PPP leader Goh Meng Seng said opposition parties need to have a common policy platform to have "even a slight chance of having a good showing".

"In 2011, we were very successful because the Housing Board asset enhancement (policy) became the key issue, and every party was saying the same thing and attacking the same policy," he added.

Discontent over high home prices was seen as a key factor in the PAP's loss of votes that year, which at 39.9 per cent was the highest vote share in post-independence elections for the opposition.

Mr Goh, Mr Tan and 13 other members of the four parties in the proposed alliance were at AMK Hub yesterday presenting oranges to residents. The proposed alliance has not indicated which wards it plans to contest at the polls.

Mr Tan said Ang Mo Kio is being targeted as it has the "problems of an ageing estate", which he described as the "decay of Housing Board leases".

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Singapore Politics