Friday, April 28, 2006

Battles in this upcoming GE

With the candidates confirmed and posters hung up, election has arrived. As a concerned citizen, I guess I would offer an opinion on the outcome of this upcoming GE and give a preview on whats hot and whats not.

There would be three single hot seats ths time around. Hougang, Potong Pasir and Choa Chu Kang. Of course, these three seats concerns the three opposition candidates that were already in the parliament prior to this election. Two incumbents and one NCMP. So I shall highlight each battle individually.

The Chiku is up for grabs again in this constituency and it would be between the same candidates as 2001. In the Low Vs Low rematch, the opposition Low would be working to defend his turf and get re elected. SM Goh has already indicated that Hougang is a rather tough ground for PAP as Low Thia Kiang is a hot favourite among the residents there. Eric Low of the PAP has worked the ground and promised residents upgrades if they vote for him but Low Thia Kiang's impeccable Teochew is the vital swing. His Teochew discourse has attracted thousands of voters in the predominantly Teochew speaking ward and he look set to win their hearts again. Being experienced with winning elections, Low Thia Kiang looks set to win it back again and maintain his party's representation in the parliament.

Chaim See Tong has been at this ward for 22 years. By right, his support should have grown roots and make this an impregnable fortress. However, this ward seems the likeliest to go back to PAP come this election. Why? SM Goh has annouced that his reputation is at stake if he cannot win back the two wards of Hougang and Potong Pasir after being tasked to do so. And of the two wards, the most likely to fall is this tiny estate in the middle of Singapore. Already, the Potong Pasir residents are clamouring for lift upgrades and there is resentment on the ground that Potong Pasir is reminiscent of the 70s and 80s. Which depending on how you look at it is a rustic feeling or a backwater village. Most Potong Pasir residents take that latter view. Chiam has had immense support over the years but as the country progresses, like it or not, residents are now more concerned about municipal issues and not issues regarding the denial of a 'clean sweep' by PAP. The upgrades just look too enticing this time around and Chiam, fantastic as he is, made be losing the ward this time round.

Steve Chia would be gunning for a 'third time lucky' possibility. By stating that he will quit politics if he loses again, it seems that he is staking his political career on the line. Making an astounding 500 over speeches in the parliament as a NCMP, Steve Chia has worked hard to make a name for himself. Yet, he still does not look convincing for a victory. The PAP candidate for this ward is not it's incumbent as he has already retired. So both candidates have a rather fair chance in winning this ward. Although Steve Chia looks credible, his 'nude photos' and beating red light stain looks hard to remove. Given a chance, Steve would definately contribute actively to the parliament as shown in the 5 years prior to this. This may be a tough call but Steve Chia may not be that lucky at all this time around and he may fade into oblivion once he loses this ward.

Aljunied GRC
This battle has been five years in the making as WP has indicated. After being disqualified the last time around, the WP has made their rounds over the 5 years to show the residents there that they are interested and they want to be the first opposition party to win a GRC. Comprising of 5 rather inexprienced individuals, the shining star of the WP side would most probably be Sylvia Lim. Her personality alone could draw a few votes to her side and moreover she is the first female to head an opposition outfit. Yet, the PAP slate is no pushover either. Comprising of foreign minister George Yeo and Minister of State Lim Hwee Hua, they look like mean guns. Would Singapore lose their foreign minister to WP? Unlikely. Sylvia could well learn from this exprience and come back stronger in the next GE.

Ang mo kio GRC
Who in the right frame of mind would contest the PM's ward? Apparently WP has taken up this challenge and they intend to see how big the mandate at Ang Mo kio is for the PM. Knowing that they would not win this ward, the WP has sent it's youngest team to contest. And comprising of two females, it looks like WP wants a few female votes on their side. Knowing as well that the PM may not be as popular as he seems, the WP could well poll a rather high losing percentage. In this David Vs Goliath clash, Singaporeans wait with abated breath to see by how much PM Lee can win.

And with the key battles identified, lets wish all the candidates good luck for this coming GE. My prediction? The opposition to win just 1 seat this time round. Hougang. Let's see how it goes.

On the sidenote, this is my blog's 100th post. Congratulations to myself.

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