DPP strikes deal with SPP on Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Joint Team

ST_20150821_DPP211DEM_1619988The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have reached agreement on jointly contesting Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, with party leaders saying all that remains is to put pen to paper.

DPP chief Benjamin Pwee, who is spokesman for DPP, and the SPP’s Ravi Philemon told The Straits Times at a walkabout last night that outstanding disagreements have been resolved and a “Memorandum of Agreement” will be inked early next week.

Said Mr Philemon: “As far as I know, everything has been resolved, everything has been ironed out, we are ready to go.”
He and Mr Pwee said both sides have resolved the sticky issue of which party should contribute more candidates for the five-member slate that is contesting the GRC. But they refused to divulge details.

On Sunday, SPP chairman Lina Chiam said her party should ideally have three seats.

This came a week after the DPP unilaterally introduced four possible candidates for the slate.

Last night, however, the two parties put up a united front.

“We are not going to say there is going to be this much from SPP and this much from DPP. We are going in as a joint team so that’s how we are looking at this contest,” Mr Philemon said.

Putting his arm around Mr Pwee’s shoulder, he added: “We are one, we are together. There are no two parties. We are going in as if we are one party.”

Mr Pwee, 47, said once a formal agreement is in place, he and any other DPP candidate slated for the joint team would quit the party and join the SPP.

This follows an earlier agreement that the joint team would contest the under the SPP banner.

Mr Pwee and Mr Philemon said the slate for the GRC will be announced only on Nomination Day.

But the walkabout in Toa Payoh Central last night offered some clues about those who might be in the slate to contest against the People’s Action Party’s team led by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Two new faces were among the SPP’s volunteers: former sales and marketing manager Law Kim Hwee, 55, and training company owner Abdillah Zamzuri, 31. Both of them declined to speak to The Straits Times but are said to be probable candidates.

According to his LinkedIn page, Mr Abdillah was a volunteer with Malay self-help group Mendaki and Cairnhill Community Club grassroots leader.

Apart from Mr Pwee, two other DPP candidates for the team could come from among party chairman Hamim Aliyas, 50; businessman Chia Ser Lin, 46; and tech start-up vice-president Nadine Yap, 46.

Report by Jeremy Au Yong , Straits Times
Additional reporting by Lim Yan Min-Liang Tan
Photo credit, Lim Yaohui