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SDP's plans for upcoming general election starting to take shape

Singapore

SINGAPORE Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan will return to contest Bukit Batok SMC at the upcoming general election - with the party's plans across the island starting to take shape after a weekend of walkabouts.

While the party has not officially unveiled any candidates, its walkabouts since Friday (June 19) have provided clear indications of both which constituencies it will contest and who it will field.

The SDP sent teams to four of the five constituencies it contested in 2015 - Bukit Batok SMC, Yuhua SMC, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC. It also plans to conduct a walkabout in the fifth constituency, Bukit Panjang SMC, in the next few days.

At his walkabout in Bukit Batok on Sunday, Dr Chee told residents that he intends to contest the ward, as he handed out flyers featuring a photograph of himself with the text "Chee Soon Juan for Bukit Batok". He was also flanked by party members and volunteers wearing T-shirts with his image and the text "Chee Soon Juan for Bukit Batok" printed on them.

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In a livestream video on Facebook from his walkabout, he said: "Like it or not, for the next three weeks, Bukit Batok, you're going to see this face smiling at you."

Dr Chee got 38.8 per cent of the vote against the PAP's Murali Pillai in the 2016 Bukit Batok by-election.

Over in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, SDP chairman Paul Tambyah also looks set to return to the ward he contested in 2015.The party had two walkabouts this weekend, with Prof Tambyah leading the visit to Ghim Moh Road Market and Hawker Centre on Saturday. Some members tipped to be the party's new candidates - marketing and communications professional Min Cheong, 35, and entrepreneur Alfred Tan, 54 - visited the same market a day later.

Another new SDP member, entrepreneur Robin Low, 45, was meant to join the walkabout, but was unable to make it on the day. The SDP team led by Dr Chee lost the four-member ward to the PAP's Vivian Balakrishnan, Sim Ann, Christopher de Souza and Liang Eng Hwa in 2015, gaining 31.5 per cent of the votes.

In Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, Bryan Lim and Damanhuri Abas - two members who contested the ward at the last election - held a walkabout at Limbang Shopping Centre on Sunday.

Abdul Salim Harun, who was part of the National Solidarity Party's Marine Parade GRC team in 2011, joined the walkabout in the area on Sunday.

They were accompanied by James Gomez, who was part of the SDP's Sembawang GRC team in 2011.

The SDP also looks set to field Benjamin Pwee, who led a joint Singapore People's Party-Democratic Progressive Party team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in 2015, in the single seat of Yuhua. THE STRAITS TIMES

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