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IT is expected to be a tight contest for MacPherson as three parties vie for the single member constituency (SMC).
Incumbent Tin Pei Ling from the People's Action Party (PAP), Bernard Chen from the Workers' Party (WP) and National Solidarity Party's (NSP) Cheo Chai Chen all submitted their nomination papers at Kong Hwa School on Tuesday morning, setting the stage for a three-cornered fight.
NSP's decision to throw its hat into the ring comes after earlier stops and starts. It initially planned to eschew the SMC so that WP could take on PAP one-on-one, but in a U-turn later reversed its decision and announced that it planned to field a candidate after all. The reversal prompted then acting secretary-general Hazel Poa, who "strongly disagreed" with the decision, to resign from the party on Aug 19 and pull out of the election altogether. NSP's Steve Chia, who was to be the likely candidate for the MacPherson SMC, also recently dropped out, citing Internet abuse.
Acting secretary-general for NSP, Lim Tean, was quoted as saying in a Channel News Asia report on Tuesday: "I believe to a very large extent we have avoided multi-cornered fights, but for MacPherson we had to do it. MacPherson used to be part of Marine Parade. We did very well in the last GE, and we have already made a huge concession to WP there."
MacPherson was part of the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the last GE but was carved out as an SMC this time around. PAP and WP are going head-to-head in the current election for Marine Parade GRC.
He went on to add: "If WP wanted to avoid a three-cornered fight, they should have allowed us to fight with PAP in MacPherson."
Speaking to voters at the Nomination Centre on Tuesday afternoon, former Nee Soon Central MP Mr Cheo, 65, said that if elected, he planned to set up a MacPherson Fund to help solve its residents' financial problems.
Meanwhile, Ms Tin, 31, who is said to have gained some ground since she first stood for election back in 2011, said: "We have been here over the years, we will continue to be here. We are the best party that will, and can fulfil, our promises."
Oxford graduate and WP candidate Mr Chen, 29, urged voters to empower their future by voting for the WP and sought their support to serve voters as well as the broader MacPherson community.
Other SMCs also facing a three-cornered fight on Polling Day - which takes place on Sept 11 - are Radin Mas and Bukit Batok.