THE People's Action Party (PAP) is fielding a familiar four-man team led by Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, which won 60.1 per cent of votes in the constituency in the 2011 general election.
Here, the PAP will face off again with the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) new line-up led by its chief Chee Soon Juan who is making a comeback after his bankruptcy status had kept him away from the previous two elections. (His bankruptcy, which arose from a defamation suit by former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, was annulled in 2012, leaving the door open for him to contest this time).
"My friends, we are home . . . at your home and mine. We know your hopes and dreams. We have walked a long journey together," said Dr Balakrishnan to cheering supporters at the Assumption Pathway School, the nomination centre for the GRC and the Bukit Panjang single member constituency (SMC).
He leads the PAP team comprising Minister of State for Education as well as Communications and Information Sim Ann, and backbenchers Christopher de Souza, a lawyer, and Liang Eng Hwa, DBS managing director.
SDP secretary-general Dr Chee's team includes professor of medicine Paul Tambyah, healthcare administrator Chong Wai Fung and compliance auditor Sidek Mallek.
"We are fielding a really good team of about 11 candidates. We don't want any form of gutter politics and are looking forward to a good contest of ideas and campaign on issues," he told reporters.
Indeed, the "contest of ideas" began soon after with Dr Balakrishnan taking his first shot at his rival at a press conference on Tuesday, saying that the SDP's policies would lead Singapore "on the road to Greece".
The SDP has said it will push for alternative plans to tackle issues faced by Singaporeans, chiefly healthcare, retirement savings and income inequality, as part of its campaign agenda.
Dr Balakrishnan said his team will show, over the next nine days, that the SDP has copied policy prescriptions that have already failed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, over at the Bukit Panjang SMC, the PAP's Dr Teo Ho Pin or "Mr Town Council" will defend his seat in a straight fight with the SDP's Khung Wai Yeen, a 34-year old account manager in a multinational firm and former Navy staff sergeant.
Dr Teo, 55, has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the former Holland-Bukit Panjang GRC from 2001 to 2006, before taking charge of the Bukit Panjang (SMC) from 2006. In the 2011 general election, he was voted into office again as MP for Bukit Panjang SMC.
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