THE Workers’ Party (WP) is unlikely to contest in two group representation constituencies (GRCs) in the general election due by February 2012.
One is Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, while the other is Ang Mo Kio GRC where a group of first-time WP candidates challenged the People’s Action Party (PAP) team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the 2006 elections.
The two constituencies are no longer potential battlegrounds, as the WP has shut down its committee in charge of reaching out to voters in what it has designated the central area, which includes the Yio Chu Kang single-seat ward.
Area committees plan and conduct house visits in a designated area.
Members and volunteers on the central area committee have been re-deployed to the northern, eastern and northeastern areas, WP’s organising secretary Yaw Shin Leong told The Straits Times.
However, the party still holds regular walkabouts at the three constituencies, he added.
Referring to Ang Mo Kio GRC, he said: “It would take compelling reasons for the WP to go back there – the same way we decide on any other ward.”
He said the WP contested the six-man GRC, which had been uncontested since its inception at the 1991 polls, for three reasons in 2006.
It wanted to give Ang Mo Kio residents a chance to vote, prevent a situation of an uncontested prime minister leading Singapore, and keep PM Lee busy campaigning in his own ward so that he would have less time to lend support to PAP candidates in other wards facing a contest.
The WP team in 2006 was made up of Mr Yaw, then a business analyst aged 30; businesswoman Glenda Han, 30; maintenance inspector Gopal Krishnan, 54; sales executive Melvin Tan, 31; businesswoman Lee Wai Leng, 26; and sales coordinator Abdul Salim Harun, 24. They got 33.86 per cent of the votes cast.
Last year, Mr Abdul Salim and Ms Lee left to join the National Solidarity Party.
The decision to walk away from Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC was done out of respect for Potong Pasir MP Chiam See Tong, said Mr Yaw, after the opposition veteran declared his intention to contest it at the next general election.
He added: “We don’t want a face-off with a respected veteran of the opposition.”