Reform Party introduces first slate of candidates; sets up possible three-cornered fight in West Coast GRC

SINGAPORE – The Reform Party unveiled its first batch of candidates on Monday – setting up a possible three-cornered fight with the PAP and the Progress Singapore Party in West Coast GRC.

During a livestream on Facebook, RP secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam introduced six candidates, three of them entering their first electoral contest.

Theparty intends to return to West Coast GRC, where it contested in 2011 and 2015, in addition to fielding candidates in Ang Mo Kio GRC, Radin Mas and Yio Chu Kang.

Though RP did not specify where the different candidates unveiled would be fielded, three of those introduced were part of the five-person team led by Mr Jeyaretnam that contested West Coast GRC at the last election.

They are party chairman Andy Zhu, 37, who is a marketing director at a real estate agency; human resources practitioner Darren Soh, 52; and Madam Noraini Yunus, 52, who works in telemarketing .

The RP team garnered 21.4 per cent of the vote in 2015. PAP won the GRC with 78.6 per cent of the vote then, led by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, who was then Minister for Trade and Industry. The team comprised Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran, Ms Foo Mee Har and Mr Patrick Tay.

Last Friday, The Straits Times reported that the Progress Singapore Party is close to finalising its candidates who will join Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s team in West Coast GRC.

The team will include Ms Hazel Poa, formerly from the National Solidarity Party, and newcomers Mr Jeffrey Khoo and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan.

The final candidate is a toss up between PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, former managing director of OCBC Securities, and party member Abas Kasmani, a senior trainer at a design and engineering firm.

Asked about opposition unity by one of the participants in the livestream, Mr Keyaretnam said the different parties have the same goal of wanting to see better checks and balances.

“In fact, we are pretty unified. We have been cooperating. We hope to avoid three cornered fights,” he said.

The three first-time candidates RP introduced on Monday were Mr Gurdev Singh, 55, an assistant property manager; Mr Mahaboob Batcha, 52, deputy treasurer of the party and director of an oil and gas company; and criminal defence lawyer Charles Yeo, 30.

In biodata sheets sent out by the party, Mr Gurdev said he is running because he wants to ensure the Singapore identity will not be diluted an influx of immigrants. Mr Mahaboob said he wants to represent concerns of Singaporeans in Parliament while Mr Yeo said the causes close to his heart are freedom of speech and reform of the educaiton system.

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