PSP Held Walkabout in West Coast GRC; Talks About Iswaran’s Resignation

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Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Chairman Tan Cheng Bock hinted at a potential bid for the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in the upcoming general election, signalling the party’s strategic focus on the region.

Following the resignation of former Transport Minister S Iswaran as Member of Parliament (MP), after facing 27 charges, including 2 charges of corruption, PSP has intensified its presence in the constituency through extensive walkabouts, aiming to bolster its electoral standing.

Dr Tan’s remarks, made on Saturday, 27 January 2024, after a walkabout at West Coast Market Square, underscored his openness to contest in the next general election which is slated to take place before 23 November the following year.

At 83, Dr Tan emphasised the principle of “active ageing,” indicating his commitment to political engagement despite age considerations. Responding to queries about his potential candidacy, Dr Tan remained non-committal, stating, “I never say no.”

Dr Tan’s political history includes his 26-year tenure as MP of Ayer Rajah Single Member Constituency (SMC) under the PAP banner before its absorption into West Coast GRC.

He also sought candidacy at the 2011 Presidential Elections alongside former Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan, NTUC Income Chief Executive Officer Tan Kin Lian and former Singapore Democratic Party candidate Tan Jee Say.

In the previous General Election (GE) in 2020, PSP had lost to the People’s Action Party (PAP) team, led by Iswaran, who secured 51.69% of the votes.

It marked the PAP’s narrowest win to date.

Dr Tan acknowledged the potential impact of Iswaran’s departure on PSP’s chances in the GRC but emphasised that electoral outcomes hinge on multiple factors beyond individual incidents.

While PSP’s Vice-Chairwoman, Ms Hazel Poa, acknowledged discussions regarding Iswaran’s case favouring PSP, she cautioned against presumptions, citing the multifaceted nature of electoral dynamics.

With Non-Constituency MPs Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa representing the party in Parliament, PSP aims to showcase its value proposition to voters.

PSP’s strategy involves intensified engagement, including increased walkabouts and house visits, transitioning from monthly to weekly schedules.

This proactive approach aims to foster trust and credibility among residents, positioning PSP as a viable alternative to the incumbent.

While Iswaran’s resignation presents an opportunity for PSP, party members remain cautious, recognizing the complexity of electoral dynamics.

The PSP’s recent walkabout coincided with a PAP event at the market, emphasising the competitive landscape in West Coast GRC.

Dr Tan had reportedly exchanged pleasantries with Ms Chua Wei-Shan, an acting branch chairwoman from the PAP, underscoring the cordial yet competitive atmosphere surrounding electoral campaigns.

Dr. Tan was also queried about his support for presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian in the 2023 election. 

During which, Tan Kin Lian secured the lowest share of 13.87%, trailing President Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s dominant 70.4% and Ng Kok Song’s 15.72%. 

Dr Tan had explained his stance, emphasising the importance of independence from political affiliations.

He expressed a desire for diverse leadership to prevent the perpetuation of the same political groups governing the nation annually.

In conclusion, PSP’s strategic focus on West Coast GRC, coupled with Dr Tan’s leadership and the party’s intensified engagement efforts, reflects its commitment to contesting the next general election.

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