Tan Jee Say asked RP, SDA to drop out

Mr Tan Jee Say, a candidate in the four-cornered presidential election in 2011, said he tried to prevent a similar scenario in the Punggol East by-election.

Mr Tan, who also contested the 2011 general election under the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) banner, said he had attempted to convince Singapore Democratic Alliance chief Desmond Lim and Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam to drop out of the race.

He told Singapolitics that he has been trying to dissuade both of them for seeral weeks, after both had indicated an interest in the seat vacated by former Speaker, Mr Michael Palmer.

He made one last-ditch attempt on Tuesday night, after the SDP dropped out of the race. He said he did not previously try and talk his former party out of contesting because the SDP was trying to strike a deal with the Workers' Party.

Mr Tan said his efforts were of his own acord, and he was not asked to do so by any party.

"I don't belong to any party now, so I thought (Mr Lim and Mr Jeyaretnam) would listen to me," he said.

Mr Lim confirmed that Mr Tan had contacted him twice.

"It was the party's decision to field me as a candidate, it is not a personal decision," he said in Mandarin.

He added that it is the voters' "democratic right" to vote for the candidate of their choice, even in a multi-cornered fight.

When asked about Mr Tan's calls, Mr Jeyaretnam said: "We speak regularly, to (SDP leader) Chee Soon Juan, Tan Jee Say, everybody in opposition."

He declined to elaborate further.

PAP's Koh Poh Koon runs into Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP. MYP)

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