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Apr 14, 2011
Not all quiet on the Socialist Front
By Andrea Ong
(From left) Secretary-general Chia Ti Lik and chairman Ng Teck Siong disagree on
whether to contest the polls. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
TROUBLE is brewing in the youngest opposition party here, with its two leaders
unable to see eye to eye on whether to contest the coming election.
The fight is now being cast in terms of whether or not to avoid three-cornered fights,
though sources say a personal disagreement between Socialist Front (SF) chairman
Ng Teck Siong and secretary-general Chia Ti Lik may be behind it.
It is not clear what the disagreement is about, but the two are said to have had a
heated stand-off at a recent central executive committee meeting, resulting in Mr
Chia supposedly trying to block Mr Ng from contesting.
Mr Ng, 69, said he intends to contest in a single-seat ward even if it leads to a three-
When contacted, Mr Chia, 36, declined to comment, saying there will be a media
conference tomorrow to announce the party's position.
He is expected to announce that the party's central executive committee has decided
that the SF will stay out of three-cornered fights in the coming polls.
The decision effectively means the party is pulling out of the race altogether, for two
One, all 12 single-seat constituencies have been claimed by other parties, and two,
the fledgling SF, with about 20 members, is unlikely to have enough resources to
stand in a GRC.
Last night, Mr Ng explained his defiance of the party's position. He told The Straits
Times: 'I made a promise to voters to contest and I intend to keep it. I believe it's
more important to serve the interest of the public rather than the interest of any
'My age is also a consideration. I want, while I still can, to present my ideas and
move Singapore in the right direction.'
Mr Ng said he intends to stand in single-seat Mountbatten, where he grew up. He
has visited the constituency twice in recent weeks to meet residents and hand out
his name card.
The opposition party that has staked its claim there is the National Solidarity Party,
which will field lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss.
The incumbent is the People's Action Party's Mr Lim Biow Chuan.
The SF had earlier made way in single-seat Radin Mas for the Singapore
Democratic Alliance (SDA).
The SDA has opened its doors to the SF, but so far the SF has not taken up the
offer, said the SDA's secretary-general Desmond Lim.
Both Mr Ng and Mr Chia are no strangers to elections.
Mr Ng last stood in 1997, as part of the Workers' Party (WP) team in West Coast
GRC. Mr Chia was WP's candidate in 2006 in East Coast GRC.