The East Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) has been under the People's Action Party since 1997. But this time, it looks like the Workers' Party (WP) is favored popularly, thanks to Nicole Seah's re-entry into politics and joining the party.
The proof of the WP's strength is the PAP suddenly announcing Heng Swee Keat as the candidate for the East Coast GRC, displacing him from Tampines GRC from where he has been serving as member of parliament from 2011. Now, the PAP's Keat-led team will take on the Seah- led WP in the East Coast GRC.
The PAP consists of Heng Swee Keat, 59, Senior Minister of State for Defense and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, 54; three-term backbencher Jessica Tan, 54; one-term Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan, 44, and a new face Tan Kiat How, 43.
The WP includes Dylan NG, 45, Kenneth Foo, 43, Nicole Seah, 33, Terence Tan, 49, and Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim, 54.
Heng Swee Keat Not Ready Yet?
The popularity of the WP is reflected in the meme that is going viral on social media. People appreciate Seah for her outlook for the GRC, whereas Keat is being trolled for not being firm in his stand.
According to the meme, Seah's speech was like she had done her homework properly and faced the people. But when Keat spoke, it was as if he forgot to do his homework and asked someone else to write the speech.
"In East Coast we will stand firm. Vote for fairness and balance. Make your vote count. I hope that people who might speak up respectfully and out of concern will not get mocked or bullied for their differing views," Seah said during her nomination.
Keat said: "We also have a plan for our East Coast residents..." and then looked flustered and was seen fumbling. "We have East Coast, Singapore, we have a together and East Coast plan. We care at the East Coast."
Does First Impression Count?
Seah is said to have been around East Coast GRC meeting people since early June whereas Keat suddenly moved to the GRC on June 30. Despite being projected as the next prime minister of Singapore, Keat's first impression in the East Coast GRC has not been great when compared to people's reception of WP candidates, especially Seah and Dylan Ng.
Though the PAP has been holding the East Coast GRC since 1997, it has faced stiff competition from the WP since 2011. In the year 2011, Seah took part in election for the first time (when she was 24 years old) from the National Solidarity Party (NSP). Seah had lost to a team led by Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, but the party managed to win 43.35 percent of the vote. This was for the first time in the history of Singapore politics that any party had reduced the PAP's vote share to as low as 56.65 percent.