General Elections – Who is Going Where?
My past issues have touched briefly on the General Elections. Maybe this article can focus on my prediction on who is going where.
ANG MO KIO GRC (166,644 electorates)
Balaji Sadasivan (Stay)
Inderjit Singh (Posted Elsewhere)
Lee Hsien Loong (Stay)
Seng Han Thong (Stay)
Tan Boon Wan (Stay)
Wee Siew Kim (Leave)
Traditionally, observers always say that Prime Minister’s ward will be challenged. This is to keep him busy and keep him on his toes. By challenging the PM, oppositions can effectively keep him in his ward and not travel to other GRCs to campaign. Should the PM’s GRC garner less than 65%, it is considered as a loss (and loss of face).
However, since the establishment of GRC format, oppositions are unlikely to challenge the PM due to resource constraints. Potentially, the challenger may lose their election deposit if their results are less than 20% (if memory serve me well, it should be 20%). With this factor, resource maybe better spend on GRCs with higher chance of winning.
Among these candidates, there might be some changes. Inderjit Singh, maybe transferred to other GRCs with lesser minority representation and Wee Siew Kim, may be replaced with a new candidate. Wee is the MP for Jalan Kayu and is a growing population. It is likely that the boundary for Jalan Kayu will be carved out for other GRCs. Other than that, I don’t expect much change. Dr Balaji is likely to remain as he is quite popular in Cheng San and is unlikely to be promoted before the elections (usually there won’t be two full Ministers in a GRC when contesting). Dr Tan is the second MP to Teck Ghee division (PM Lee’s ward) when PM is not around, so it is unlikely he will leave. Seng Han Thong is very popular among the Chinese speaking and is holding keep positions in Singapore Press Holdings, so he will be an asset to AMK GRC.Verdict:
Ong Seh Hong (Stay)
Phua Cynthia (Leave)
Yeo Guat Kwang (Posted Elsewhere)
George Yong-Boon Yeo (Stay)
Zainul Abidin Rasheed (Stay)
This ward will definitely be challenged by Worker’s Party (WP). My sources said that the WP are having residents’ visits and campaigning every night. Other than George Yeo and Zainul Abidin, the rest are considerably weak. Ong Seh Hong, Cynthia Phua and Yeo Guat Kwang are neither those very “grassroots” people (unlike Ong Ah Heng or Tan Cheng Bock) nor charismatic figures. George Yeo, Minister for Foreign Affairs, is constantly traveling overseas and is unable to spend too much time on grassroots functions. Hence, he might not be as close to the residents compared to Low Thia Khiang from WP.
Thus, PAP is faced with two dilemmas. One, transfer George Yeo to other GRCs and play safe, but this will invite criticism of him shying away from election battle. For a Minister tipped to be a future DPM, he has to face the battle. Two, keep George Yeo in the GRC and face election battles but transfer “grassroots MPs”, such as Ong Ah Heng or Wang Kai Yuen, to Aljunied.
There might be some boundary changes and transfer some electorates to Tampiness or Pasir Ris-Pungol GRC, where they are much stronger. I think this will be one of the focal election battle ground for this coming elections.
Verdict: Contested (PAP to win 60%)
AYER RAJAH SMC (18,475)
Tan Cheng Bock (Retire)
Tan Cheng Bock is widely regarded as Goh Chok Tong’s ears and eyes. Former classmate to SM Goh and is quite critical of PM Lee in the past. He is one of the oldest MP is the last elections and won it by the largest margin. Hugely popular figure in his constituency but for this election, he will retire and we will see a new candidate. The candidate should be an existing MP since this is a SMC and will be contested. If PAP sends a totally new candidate, it means that they might be allowing one more opposition into the parliament. What we might see is Sitoh Yi Pin (who lost to Chiam See Tong) contesting this ward.Verdict:
Contested (PAP to win by 65% with new candidate)BISHAN-TOA PAYOH
Davinder Singh (Stay)
Leong Horn Kee (Stay)
Ng Eng Hen (Posted Elsewhere)
Wong Kan Seng (Stay)
Zainudin Nordin (Stay)
We will see some movement within this GRC in terms of MPs but it will not be contested by the oppositions. There are two Ministers in the form of Ng Eng Hen and Wong Kan Seng. Wong Kan Seng, soon to be DPM, will definitely continue in his stronghold, Bishan. That leaves Ng Eng Hen. Thus, Dr Ng will be going to other GRCs that the Ministers are retiring (likely to be Sembawang and Jalan Besar). His division is just at the borders of Potong Pasir, opposition territory, and the new candidate will have a task of winning the “neighbours” over.
The rest of the candidates will stay as Nordin and Leong Horn Kee are very popular in the grassroots and Davinder, famous lawyer of PAP, is a capable speaker.
BUKIT TIMAH SMC (26,951)
Wang Kai Yuen (Stay)
Every SMC will be contested and Wang is likely to continue as well. He is another popular MP and very “grassroots” man. The last elections, he garnered thrice the number of votes of the total of both challengers’ vote combine. Though he is getting old, he is likely to contest in this one.Verdict:
Contested (PAP to win 70%)CHUA CHU KANG SMC
Low Seow Chay (Stay)
Low Seow Chay faced opposition Steve Chia during the last elections and won by about quite a good margin. Likely to continue in his ward but Steve Chia might move to other district to contest. Chua Chu Kang, is a division with younger electorates, Steve Chia might wish to tap on his relevance to their generation and contest. But his reputation already took a beating with his “maid photo” scandal. PAP may not mind losing this ward as he has shown in parliament to raise some good points but not threaten the PAP too much. Since Chiam See Tong is retiring soon, Chia will be a “soft” opposition to take over.Verdict:
Contested (PAP to win 65%)EAST COAST GRC
Abdullah Tarmugi (Stay)
Chew Heng Ching (Stay)
Lee Yock Suan (Retire)
Lim Siang Keat Raymond (Stay)
S Jayakumar (Stay but retire after elections)
Tan Soo Khoon (Posted Elsewhere)
This is a very strong and unique line up for PAP in the last elections. You have a DPM, a newly-promoted Minister, an ex-Minister, a Speaker of Parliament, an ex-Speaker of Parliament and a Deputy Speaker of Parliament. If any opposition had contested in this GRC during the last election, it would be pure madness and giving the election deposit to the government.
But this coming election, it will be different. Lee Yock Suan will definitely be stepping down and so will DPM Jayakumar. But DPM Jayakumar is likely to contest in this GRC as the DPM as until now, he has made no indication of stepping down. However, don’t be surprise to see him step down just before or after elections as the title “DPM” was a political gift to him as a reward for his contributions. It is always nice to retire as a DPM. Raymond Lim will be the holding Minister for this coming election and if Tarmugi doesn’t contest for Presidential Election he will remain in the same GRC. Likely, a Junior Minister (Minister of States) will be introduced to this GRC.
Opposition will not win this GRC and might even lose their deposit if they contest here. But if there is a lot of movement and changes in MPs, they might reconsider. East Coast has always been an upper-middle class area with not much problems with social issues. So there will be little grounds for opposition to fight on.Verdict:
Gan Kim Yong (Stay)
Lim Swee Say (Posted Elsewhere)
David Lim Tik En (Leave)
Teo Ho Pin (Stay)
Vivian Balakrishnan (Stay)
Another very strong lineup of MPs and Ministers. However, since there are two Ministers in the GRC, they might channel either Lim Swee Say or Vivian to other GRCs. I think Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West CDC, might be promoted to Minister of State. Vivian, who is hugely popular with the younger generation, might be the anchor Minister for this GRC while Lim Swee Say move to up North to take over DPM Tan’s Sembawang. David Lim, former Acting Minister and now CEO of NOL, is likely to leave. After the 2001 elections, he quit his position as Acting Minister and joined NOL as Group CEO and President. He is not a MP that is grassroots oriented and if he is not a Minister, he is unlikely to have any interest to stay on as MP unless he is related to his job. But I think he will leave.
Opposition might not challenge this GRC. However, the land area of this GRC is too large. Thus it is likely to shrink for this GE.
HONG KAH GRC (129,073)
Ahmad Khalis Abdul Ghani (Stay)
Ang Mong Seng (Stay)
John Chen (Stay)
Amy Khor Lean Suan (Stay)
Yeo Cheow Tong (Stay)
Opposition will challenge this GRC as they did in the last elections. SDP sent an unknown team and garner 24,513 votes! Yeo Cheow Tong, Minister of Transport, isn’t the most popular of Ministers with his continual support for transport operators than to the commuters. Some suggest that he might be stepping down as Minister (as he is a “SM Goh’s” men & is unpopularity and inability to tackle the SIA pilot union case) but I think he will still continue on.
We might see an introduction of a Minister of State in this GRC or the promotion of Amy Khor to Minister of State. Ang Mong Seng, is a “grassroots man” and quite a popular figure. That will give them a slight edge over the opposition. This should be one of the focal election battle grounds if Yeo Cheow Tong continues. If I’m the opposition, I’ll send my strongest team less the secretary-general to contest for this ward. I think SDP will do that.
Verdict: Contested (PAP to win by 55% vote and oppositions make further in roads)
HOUGANG SMC (23,320)
Low Thia Khiang (WP) (Stay)
PAP will let him win this one by sending Eric Low again. Low Thia Khiang is campaigning, almost every night, within Hougang and at Aljunied. He should win this one with a slim but convincing margin. According to source, WP has been quite successful in getting people to join the WP. Quite unlikely that PAP will send any strong candidates there as they still want some opposition in parliament. No opposition = no democracy.Verdict:
Contested (WP to win 54% votes)JALAN BESAR GRC
Heng Chee How (Stay)
Lee Boon Yang (Retire)
Loh Meng See (Leave)
Lily Tirtasana Neo (Stay)
Yaacob Bin Ibrahim (Stay)
Lee Boon Yang is likely to step down as Minister and MP. I’m 90% sure of his retirement, judging from his reduction in security officers around him. His MICA portfolio is well-taken over by Dr Balaji and his public appearance has also reduced.
Last elections, this GRC was contested and won around 60% of the votes. I think some of the full Ministers will be transfer here and Yaacob, also a Minister will stay, as he is a minority representation for the GRC. If no heavy weights are transferred here, this GRC will be contested. Jalan Besar is an aging population GRC and they might transfer some senior figures into this GRC.
Verdict: Contested (PAP to win 60%)
JOO CHIAT SMC (21,745)
Chan Soo Sen (Stay)
This ward was contested by an Independent Candidate and Chan Soo Sen won it by quite a convincing margin of about 75%. Chan is one of the Minister of State that was not promoted during the last round of Cabinet Reshuffle. He is more of a grassroots MP than a Minister in the political sense. He has great appeal to the Chinese population there and will continue to contest this seat.
As I said, all SMCs will be contested but I guess hope that it will not be an independent candidate but from either WP or SDP. Independent candidates are like “paid candidates” contesting for the sake of competition and not for elections. Maybe that is why they are not too bothered when they lose their deposits. Ever wonder why? ;)
Verdict: Contested (PAP to win 70%)
JURONG GRC (115,113)
Yu-Foo Yee Shoon (Stay)
Halimah Bte Yacob (Stay)
Lim Boon Heng (Stay but relinquish Ministerial Position)
Ong Chit Chung (Leave)
Shanmugaratnam Tharman (Stay)
This was the focal battle ground in the 2001 elections. And in my opinion, they won by such a large margin only because Dr Chee, SDP, shot themselves in the foot when he shouted and heckled former-PM Goh. Tharman was their “target” during then due to his “leaking” of MAS secrets. Lim Boon Heng, Minister for PMO, seems to be on his way out as a Minister. He stated that he will be standing in the coming elections but the question is that would he stand as a Minister or just a MP. Answer lays with PM not him. He is widely regarded as a “Goh Chok Tong man” and with the change of PM and his reduction in portfolios, would he be a surplus in the Cabinet? I think so, especially when Lim Swee Say is going to take over as the Secretary General of NTUC. If he relinquishes his Ministerial position, Tharman will be the anchor Minister for this GRC. I think this is one GRC that the opposition will contest in.
Both Halimah and Mdm Yu-Foo are quite grassroots-involved and has a good based of support. Thus they will continue in this GRC. Ong Chit Chung has been in this GRC for quite some time but very low profile. He might just move on and be replaced by younger candidates.
Verdict: Contested (PAP to win by 60% votes)
Next Week: General Elections Part II
With predictions for Marine Parade, Potong Pasir, Tanjong Pagar…etc