Singapore GE: SDA puts on hold membership applications from four parties, scuppering plans for opposition bloc under its banner

SINGAPORE – A plan by four opposition parties to form an alliance for the next general election faced another setback, after their bid to join the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) collapsed.

SDA secretary-general Abu Mohamed told The Straits Times on Thursday (June 11) that the membership applications of Singaporeans First (SingFirst), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), People’s Power Party (PPP) and Reform Party (RP) will be put on hold for now as the SDA ramps up its preparations for the election, which has to be held by April 14 next year.

“We have not organised a proper CEC (central executive committee) meeting to talk about it. What I will say is, I have spoken to the other members of the SDA leadership, such as our chairman and vice-chairman, and they have already told me what they think,” said Mr Abu over the phone.

“We are going to put their application on hold indefinitely, and will make a decision on it perhaps even after the GE. For now, we are not accepting them.”

The decision by the SDA is the latest setback in the bid to form an opposition bloc, first made known in January.

ST first reported in January that SingFirst, DPP, PPP and RP were intending to register a new alliance for the next electoral contest.

In April, the four parties instead chose to apply to join the SDA, Singapore’s only registered political alliance.

Mr Abu shared that the SDA had responded to the four parties following their application, by sending over a copy of the SDA Constitution for them to better understand how the SDA operates and what it stands for. He said that even if the parties do join now, they have to be ordinary members for two years before they can enter the CEC and have voting rights on party decisions.

“If they are joining just for the sake of running as candidates, then they might as well go on their own. We have to be fair to our own current people who have committed themselves and have been preparing hard for the next election.”

Mr Abu added that the SDA is ready for the next election, with its logistics such as pamphlets and flags prepared, and manpower such as principal election agents and polling agents ready.

Its candidates for the five-person Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which it intends to contest, have also been identified, although he declined to reveal who they are.

When contacted, RP chairman Andy Zhu and SingFirst secretary-general Tan Jee Say said they will continue looking for ways to join forces

“We are disappointed, but we will find other ways to overcome this,”said Mr Tan.

PPP secretary-general Goh Meng Seng, however, said that they never put up an application to join SDA, but had just asked for a preliminary meeting with its leaders to discuss the possibility of joining the alliance.

“We have not received any official reply from SDA up till now and we are disappointed to learn about SDA’s decision from the media instead of receiving an official reply from it.”

ST understands that the four parties are considering having their members quit and consolidate under one party.

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