Politics in Singapore is exactly a pretty boring affair. Every election Singaporeans knows a few things; the ruling PAP (People’s Action Party) will win, some seats in the election will go uncontested, and opposition leader Chiam See Tong will retain his seat in Potong Pasir.
However things are expected to change in the next general election. As Mr. Chiam celebrates his 25th straight year as a Member of Parliament, he has made known that he intend to step out of Potong Pasir and lead a team to contest a GRC (most possibly the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) in the next General Election (GE).
Reactions to this have been mixed. Some had applauded Mr. Chiam for coming out of his comfort zone while others believed Mr. Chiam is making a mistake. Not only is there no guarantee he will win in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, there is also a danger of his party losing the Potong Pasir seat. The danger is actually quite big. Although Mr. Chiam had held the seat since 1984, most Singaporeans don’t think of Potong Pasir as an opposition stronghold. They call it Chiam See Tong's stronghold. There is a question whether the voters there would continue to support the opposition (even if she is Mr. Chiam’s wife) if Mr. Chiam is not there.
However despite the questions, it seen very likely that Mr. Chiam would be going after bigger fish in the next GE. The reasons are simple. Already 74 (and in poor health), this would likely be his last GE. Mr. Chiam had almost openly admitted this as he said that he has nothing to lose in contesting a GRC in the next GE.
Personally I feel the move may have come too late to make much difference in the overall Singapore political scene, but I do support Mr. Chiam’s move to a GRC. Win or lose, this will be his last hooray so might as well try to make a big splash as he leaves the scene.
Here wishing him the best of luck!