Bukit Batok by-election: Multi-pronged fight looms even as SDP seeks alliance

SDP leader Chee Soon Juan among the first to express interest in waging the unexpected electoral battle in Bukit Batok.

With the government announcing that a by-election to the Bukit Batok constituency is to be held soon, parties and individuals have started throwing in the hats, and there is talk of stitching together an alliance against the People's Action Party.

The leader of the Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP), Chee Soon Juan, was among the first to express interest in waging the unexpected electoral battle in Bukit Batok.

The SDP, whose candidate lost to David Ong, who resigned as MP after an extramarital affair was leaked in public, has said it has serious plans about the by-election.

Chee, who said an SDP candidate will be announced soon, did not rule out the chances of him standing in the election.

"There will be a possibility that I'll be a candidate," Channel News Asia reported him as saying.

More importantly, Chee also said the party is exploring the possibility of fielding a single candidate against the PAP, in alliance with various opposition parties.

"We do hope for a 1-to-1 contest with the PAP," he said. "We cannot stop anyone from contesting, this being an open system whereby any opposition party that wants to come in can do so, (but) Our hopes is that there will be a one-to-one contest with the PAP," Chee added.

The party said in an official Facebook post its campaign tram has been activated. "The SDP will be contesting in the Bt Batok by-election which we expect will be called soon. Our campaign team has been activated and we will work very hard to be the people's voice in Parliament and continue to be the Competent, Constructive and Compassionate party that Singaporeans want to see," the post said.

However, early signs do not indicate the SDP's hopes of a unified fight against PAP will be easy.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Benjamin Pwee has confirmed he will be contesting in the election for the Bukit Batok seat in parliament.

The People's Power Party's (PPP) has said it will hold talks with the SDP before deciding whether to filed a candidate in Bukit Batok.

Meanwhile, independent candidate Samir Salim Neji, who got a measly 0.6% votes in the constituency in the last general election, has also said he will be in the fray this time as well.

MP David Ong resigned on Friday and quit the ruling People's Action Party as well, after details of his extramarital affair with a fellow PAP member emerged in public.

Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao revealed Ong's affair with the 41-year-old woman, a grassroots PAP member and a logistics firm employee. The daily said the husband of the woman allegedly lodged a complaint over the affair.

Observers believe the by-election will be held immediately after Parliament completes its debate on the Budget on April 15.