Mar 28, 2011
Female candidates may battle in Yuhua in repeat of history
By Tessa Wong & Tham Yuen-C
SDP members Jarrod Luo and Jaslyn Go meeting residents during a walkabout in Yuhua. Ms Go, an entrepreneur, was introduced as a potential candidate for the area, which could see her in a contest with incumbent PAP MP and Senior Minister of State Grace Fu. — ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
TWENTY years ago, two women representing the People’s Action Party (PAP) and the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) faced off at the general election in Yuhua.
This year, history could repeat itself with a similar contest in the single-seat ward.
The two potential candidates are incumbent PAP MP and Senior Minister of State (National Development and Education) Grace Fu, who turns 47 on Tuesday; and the SDP’s Jaslyn Go, 38, an entrepreneur.
The last time it saw such a contest was in 1991, when the PAP’s Mrs Yu-Foo Yee Shoon went against SDP’s Toh Kim Kiat, in what was then called ‘the battle of the China dolls’.
Ms Fu told reporters at a PAP Community Foundation event yesterday that she had based her planning on the assumption that she would be fielded as a candidate there because she was the incumbent.
‘Unless something really quite unexpected turns up, I should be fielded as a candidate here. I would like to be fielded as a candidate here,’ she said.
Yuhua was part of Jurong GRC in the 2006 election, when the PAP was returned unopposed. In the 2001 election, the PAP team won with 79.7 per cent of the votes against a team from the SDP.
SDP leaders who visited a hawker centre in Jurong East yesterday introduced Ms Go as their potential candidate.
Ms Go, who greeted residents in English and Mandarin, is married to a businessman and has two children aged six and seven.
She is also secretary of the United Singapore Democrats – a registered political party that serves as an alternative vehicle for SDP supporters.
SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said the party would campaign on national issues, such as the cost of living and influx of foreigners and foreign workers.
At the SDP walkabout yesterday, Dr Chee indicated that the SDP may soon be able to resolve three-cornered fights with the National Solidarity Party (NSP) in Yuhua and Whampoa – the single-seat wards that both parties are keen on: ‘(The NSP is) concentrating on Whampoa and we on Yuhua. We haven’t been to Whampoa in the last couple of weeks. So we want to make sure everyone gets what he wants, and make sure it’s a win-win situation for everyone.’
NSP president Sebastian Teo declined to confirm the arrangement yesterday, but said: ‘If the SDP intends to field a credible candidate, the NSP will seriously consider giving Yuhua to them.’
The SDP also introduced another potential candidate, Mr Sylvester Lim, 50, during a tour of Bukit Panjang yesterday.
Mr Lim, runs an automotive tuning business and is married to a clinic assistant. They have a 22-year-old son.
The former St Joseph’s Institution student, who has an Industrial Technical Certificate in electrical engineering, is an SDP central executive committee member.
He identified the rising cost of living and depressed wages as key issues he would raise if fielded in Bukit Panjang.
The party will also address local issues such as the lack of a polyclinic and the town council’s $8 million exposure to toxic investment products in 2008.
The PAP’s Dr Teo Ho Pin, who beat the SDP’s Ling How Doong with 77.2 per cent of the valid vote in the 2006 polls, said he did not expect many Bukit Panjang voters to side with the SDP on the issues it cited.
‘The residents understand that we have looked into their problems and are making efforts to help them,’ he said.
He added that some private clinics in Bukit Panjang now offer polyclinic-like services and rates, and said residents were told of the overall positive returns on the town council’s investments.
Additional reporting by Andrea Ong