Note: This article was originally published on TOC and republished with permission.
On Wednesday evening (September 26), the Singapore People’s Party (“SPP”) were seen canvassing the ground in Mountbatten.
This in itself is nothing new, as the party has been walking the ground in Mountbatten on a regular basis since the last General Elections. However, what was noteworthy was the flyers that the Party members were spotted handing out.
Mr Williiamson Lee, SPP’s candidate for Mountbatten?
On the flyer, a long-time SPP member, Mr Williiamson Lee features prominently. Mr Lee’s name, contact number and photo were contained in the flyer. As the next General Election looms over the horizon, this may be the clearest sign yet of who the SPP may elect to field for the constituency of Mountbatten SMC. Mr Lee, 39, is a sales executive who is no stranger to politics.
Mr Lee has been a member of the SPP for close to a decade now. He has been a regular feature of the party’s ground efforts in Potong Pasir, Toa Payoh, and Mountbatten.
In the past couple of years, Mr Lee, together with the SPP, has been walking the ground in Mountbatten almost every week. Mr Williiamson is visible in almost every photo of the Party’s house visits and walkabouts in Mountbatten SMC, which was last contested by former SPP member Jeannette. Jeannette garnered 28% of the votes in the last election as she failed to unseat the incumbent MP, Mr Lim Biow Chuan. As Mr Lee has been shadowing Jeannette for almost two years, he seems like the most natural choice for the SPP to field in Mountbatten.
TOC understands that the SPP have knocked on every door in Mountbatten and are well into their second round of house visits now.
Following the walkabout, Mr Lee also created a public image gallery on his Facebook profile entitled “Mountbatten SMC” where he posted a photo of himself in party colours at Jalan Batu Hawker Center. The post was accompanied by the caption “Hello Mountbatten SMC”. At least one comment on the photo asked him if he intended to contest in Mountbatten SMC. Mr Lee’s response, although non-committal, did not preclude the possibility of his candidacy.
TOC has reached out to both the SPP and Mr Lee for comment but both parties did not respond.
Prior to his involvement in Mountbatten, Mr Lee was active in Potong Pasir. During the 2015 General Elections, SPP Chairman, Mrs Lina Chiam appointed Mr Lee as her Elections Agent for he campaign in Potong Pasir SMC. In opposition circles, Mr Lee is also widely recognised as Mrs Chiam’s right-hand man. Mr Lee has also served on the Central Executive Committee of the SPP for no less than two terms. Mr Williiamson Lee also served as the party’s spokesperson during the 2015 elections when he announced to the press that the SPP and the Democratic Progressive party were intending to field a joint team for the Bishan-Toa Payoh Constituency.
Mr Lee was also involved as a volunteer in Dr Tan Cheng Bock’s Presidential Campaign in 2011, where Dr Tan narrowly lost the election by only 0.35% in a four-cornered fight.
SPP undeterred by Jeannette’s Departure
In addition to SPP’s walkabouts last evening, the SPP’s Chairman, Mrs Lina Chiam, flanked by party members Mr Jose Raymond and former NCMP Mr Steve Chia visited Mountbatten SMC and interacted with residents on the weekend of Jeanette’ departure. In a Facebook post following the visit, the SPP reaffirmed the party’s commitment to Mountbatten.
Jeannette, who contested in Mountbatten in 2011 and 2015, amicably parted ways with the SPP earlier this month from the party for the purposes of “taking a break” and focusing on her family. Jeannette herself has indicated, in an exclusive interview with TOC that she was willing to “pass the baton” to whoever comes next.
“I believe that my intensive outreach efforts at Mountbatten has contributed to raising their political awareness and consciousness to a level more than ever before,” she said.
“The battle for greater political diversity is not just about preparing for General Elections. It is a process which involves spending time to hear the heartbeat of Singaporeans, to understand their concerns and to explain the dangers of political hegemony and the benefits of greater political diversity.”
She also expressed her willingness to help fellow opposition candidates who may decide to contest in Mountbatten SMC by stating that “I would certainly be more than willing to give my unstinting support in whatever way I can.”
Other parties eyeing Mountbatten SMC
Some opposition parties, like the People’s Voice Party (“PVP”) may have interpreted Jeannette’s departure as a sign that Mountbatten was now an open playing field. Some members of the PVP, like Mr Prabu Ramachandran, a former member of the Reform Party, have been seen in the vicinity of Mountbatten in recent weeks. The PVP also indicated its interest to contest in Mountbatten SMC along with 1 other SMC and no less than 4 GRCs.