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GE2015: WP to work hard to retain seats, says Sylvia Lim

Party chairman notes PAP's efforts to connect with ordinary folk

NEW FACES: From left: Workers' Party candidates Adrian Sim, He Ting Ru, L Somasundaram, and Ron Tan being introduced at the Workers' Party headquarters on Friday.

THE Workers' Party (WP) has seen how the mood of voters can "swing significantly" in the course of campaigning, and it would be foolish to try and predict the voting outcome, said its chairman Sylvia Lim.

Speaking to reporters on Friday after unveiling the third set of potential candidates for WP's slate, Ms Lim said the ruling party is a formidable opponent and noted that the People's Action Party (PAP) has been trying to show their connection with the ordinary folk.

This comes as PAP has been fielding experienced grassroots activists. A clear example is Cheryl Chan, a grassroots leader who has spent a decade volunteering in Fengshan. She is expected to go up against WP's candidate in the single-member constituency, which was carved out from the East Coast group representation constituency (GRC). If elected, Ms Chan will take over the ward from former minister Raymond Lim, who has retired.

"I perceive they are trying to show that they are connected with the ground," said Ms Lim, responding to a query on PAP's branding.

"They are trying to show that more expressly, perhaps because they perceive that there may have been a perception that perhaps they were a bit elitist from the past. As to how important it is, and whether voters find it convincing, I will not be able to answer for Singaporeans."

Ms Lim would not be drawn into predictions on WP's performance this time around.

"One thing we learned about the elections here is that the mood of the people can swing significantly during the course of the campaign," she said.

"In the course of just a short period of nine days, many things can happen. Sometimes a single sentence said by someone can affect people to vote differently. One would be foolhardy to try and predict the outcome."

Asked about Aljunied's contest, she said WP has "noted" the team from PAP. "The PAP is always a formidable opponent. They are the ruling party, with a huge party machinery and grassroots network. As far as we are concerned, we will work hard to retain our seats," Ms Lim said.

WP has said the incumbents in the five-member ward will stay on to contest in Aljunied GRC. The party has chosen not to announce where its potential candidates will be posted, until Nomination Day.

With Hougang incumbent Png Eng Huat, Ms Lim introduced four potential candidates: businessman Adrian Sim, 43; corporate lawyer He Ting Ru, 32; property agent with Propnex Ron Tan, 30; and polytechnic lecturer L Somasundaram, 52.

Ms He said that her generation worries about high costs of living, and said Singaporeans want to participate more actively in policy-making. "I do not think we should rely solely on a few natural aristocrats to do so."

Ms Lim also stressed that while the WP is calling for less government involvement, it will not want "a narrowing of social safety nets".

In light of WP's candidate Daniel Goh refuting a poison pen letter that alleged an affair with a former student, Mr Png said WP welcomes scrutiny of its candidates, but wants to look at evidence. "We receive a lot, a lot, of funny emails," he said. Mr Goh said he has filed a police report.