On her Facebook page, Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss of the Singapore People’s Party recounts her visits to residents at Mountbatten SMC which she started in early 2018 with some colleagues.
About a year later, Ms Chong-Aruldoss said she has visited every HDB home at Kampong Arang at least twice and every HDB home at Old Airport Road at least once. They have also visited landed homes at Seaview Park and Tanjung Katong as well as mailed out contact details to over 4,000 condominium homes.
A common question posed to her when she’s out on her visits is whether she’s planning to run again at Mountbatten SMC during the next general election.
The lawyer said in her post, “I cannot answer the question because I don’t know if there will be a Mountbatten SMC in the next GE [general election].”
Uncertainty surrounding electoral map
Ms Chong-Aruldoss added that there is a possibility of the Mountbatten SMC being merged into a new GRC instead, highlighting PM Lee’s indication in January 2016 that the electoral boundaries will be ‘significantly changed’ for the next GE, with smallers GRCs and more SMCs.
“So there may or may not be a Mountbatten SMC in the next GE,” said the SPP politician on her Facebook post.
She cautioned that until the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) announces the electoral map for the next election, “no one knows how the next GE’s electoral map looks like and where the boundaries will lie.”
This poses a difficulty, she said, as the ABRC will likely announce the new electoral map only a few weeks before the general election which gives potential candidates only a very short lead time.
Highlighting the events of GE15, Ms Chong-Aruldoss recounted how the EBRC released the new electoral map on 24 July 2015, only 39 days before Nomination Day on 1 September. This gave candidates a limited amount of time to decide if and where they would content. Before that, the electoral map for GE 2011 was released 62 days before Nomination day, she pointed out.
Still guessing on the election date
As for the actual election date, Ms Chong-Aruldoss says it is ‘anyone’s guess’, noting that it could be as soon as this year or not until next year. She added, “We also have to expect that electoral boundaries may be re-drawn in such manner that it becomes difficult to decide in which constituency to run, and whether to run at all.”
“Such are the uncertainties which prospective candidates have to deal with.”
Whatever the case may be, Ms Chong-Aruldoss said she doesn’t want to participate in any “3-corner fight”, preferring instead to “bow out of the race”.
“As far as I am concerned, I will contest at the next GE only if it is a straight fight between SPP and the ruling party,” she added.
Ms Chong-Aruldoss stood against the candidate from People’s Action Party, Lim Biow Chuan during the last GE and got 28.14% of the seats which was a significant drop from the previous 41.38% she got in GE2011.
At the moment, it appears Ms Chong-Aruldoss is still keeping her options open while still carrying out outreach efforts on the ground with her volunteers.