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SINGAPORE GENERAL ELECTION

PM Lee faces Reform Party challenge at Ang Mo Kio

PAP takes on SPP at Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and WP in Sengkang West
Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - 05:50

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Reform Party candidates (from left) Jesse Loo, Siva Chandran, Osman Sulaiman, Gilbert Goh, M Ravi and Roy Ngerng at their nomination centre on Tuesday.

Singapore

THEY made headlines two months ago when they squared off in a high-profile defamation case at the Supreme Court, and now Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and blogger Roy Ngerng will cross paths once again.

This time, they find themselves on opposing parties for next Friday's general election (GE). On Nomination Day on Tuesday, it was confirmed that Mr Lee and the rest of his six-member People's Action Party (PAP) team in Ang Mo Kio group representation constituency (GRC) would face a contest from the Reform Party (RP).

The RP's line-up includes Mr Ngerng, lawyer M Ravi, entrepreneur Osman Sulaiman, activist Gilbert Goh, and party volunteers Siva Chandran and Jesse Loo.

Mr Lee's PAP running mates are backbenchers Ang Hin Kee, Gan Thiam Poh and Intan Azura Mohktar, as well as former Punggol East candidate Koh Poh Koon and first-time candidate Darryl David.

It was in July this year when Mr Lee and Mr Ngerng were part of the first defamation suit by a political leader for online postings.

A post by Mr Ngerng last May was deemed by the High Court to be defamatory to Mr Lee in suggesting that the latter had misappropriated Singaporeans' Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings. The blogger had likened Mr Lee to City Harvest Church leaders facing prosecution for the alleged misuse of S$50 million in church funds.

After the PAP's Ang Mo Kio team filed their nomination papers at Raffles Institution, Mr Lee, the PAP's secretary-general, was the only one of the six candidates to address the large crowd of party supporters.

Speaking in Malay, Mandarin and English, he thanked them for their support for his team over the years, as well as for all the other PAP candidates taking part in all 29 constituencies in the Sept 11 GE.

"Please work with us in this election, vote for us. This is about your future. Vote seriously for the PAP, so that we can work together with you, for you, for Singapore," said Mr Lee.

Mr Ngerng, 34, said that he shook hands with the prime minister in what he said was the pair's second face-to-face meeting.

"I have a great deal of respect for Mr Lee. We are both Singaporeans who are on equal grounds, and we are competing for the mandate of Singaporeans to speak up for Singaporeans," he said. "I think it's a fair fight . . . and we look to a good competition."

At the last GE in May 2011, Mr Lee's PAP team earned 69.3 per cent of the valid votes in Ang Mo Kio against a team from the RP, the highest margin that the ruling party got in a GRC.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Mr Ravi described it as a "privilege" to stand as RP candidates to serve and fight for the estimated 187,652 voters of Ang Mo Kio GRC, and the rest of Singapore.

"For far too long, the PAP has pushed us. We shall be pushed no more," said the 46-year-old. "It's time to say enough is enough, and reclaim our country. It's time to send a signal to the PAP that we are no longer second-class citizens and beggars of our own country."

Also filing their papers at the Raffles Institution nomination centre were the candidates for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC. Things went according to plan as the five names for the PAP's team went up on the notice board. Anchoring the team is Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, along with Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo, and first-time candidates Chee Hong Tat, Chong Kee Hiong and Saktiandi Supaat.

They will take on the Singapore People's Party (SPP) team of Law Kim Hwee, Bryan Long, Benjamin Pwee, Mohamad Hamim Aliyas and Abdillah Zamzuri.

The single seat of Sengkang West, which borders Ang Mo Kio GRC, will see a rematch between the incumbent, Minister of State for Health Lam Pin Min, and his Workers' Party (WP) opponent Koh Choong Yong. Four years ago, Dr Lam defeated Mr Koh, a software engineer, with 58.1 per cent of the votes.

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