Straits Times: Members of WP, SPP team up for Breakthrough

Seven-member grouping set up to pool the resources of the two opposition parties for GE

BY T. RAJAN

SOME members of two opposition political parties have joined forces to set up a civil society project that aims to pool their parties’ information and resources for the coming General Election (GE).

The team-up is between members of the Singapore People’s Party and the Workers’ Party, the two opposition parties with elected Members of Parliament: Mr Chiam See Tong (SPP) and Mr Low Thia Khiang (WP).

The seven-member grouping, called Project Breakthrough, hopes to be a bridge for the parties to tap on each other for help on say, Nomination Day.

“Even if we cannot use WP members as candidates in say, a GRC, they can help us as proposers and seconders if they stay in the ward that we are contesting,” said SPP assistant secretary-general Desmond Lim, one of the project’s coordinators.

Its members told The Straits Times yesterday that they hope to register the grouping as a political non-governmental organisation soon.

Their ultimate goal is for their two parties to form an alliance.

“It is a long-term project but I hope this project will lead to a unification of the opposition,” said Mr Lim, who was on the five-man Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) team that unsuccessfully contested Jalan Besar GRC in the 2001 GE.

The SDA has four parties: SPP, National Solidarity Party, Singapore Justice Party and Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS).

The grouping has been sharing election strategies and holding talks on possible hot political issues, said Mr Lim, 38.

“The grouping will be a good framework for regular interaction,” said WP member Brandon Siow, 30, an account manager at Singapore Airlines Cargo and a former president of the National University of Singapore Students Union.

The other WP members in the grouping are businessman James Teo, 47; senior bank manager Eric Tan, 50; and business analyst Yaw Shin Leong, 29, who is the project’s other coordinator.

SPP central executive committee member Elvin Ong, 27, and youth wing secretary Wilfred Leung, 30, have also joined the grouping.

Neither WP’s chairman Sylvia Lim nor Mr Low could be reached for comment yesterday.

SPP chief Chiam See Tong, 71, said: “It’s a good sign as long as they are sincere in their desire to improve opposition unity, which in this case, they are.”

trajan@sph.com.sg

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