Now that there is going to be a by-election, pundits are speculating whether there will be a third party contesting Hougang, in addition to the definite participation of PAP and WP. Straits Times reports that at least two non-WP candidates, 2011 Presidential candidate Tan Jee Say and Frankie Low are interested in contesting the ward.
While I think Frankie Low is a long shot who is likely to lose his election deposit if he chooses to contest in Hougang, Tan Jee Say could potentially be a dream candidate if he joins the WP and is endorsed by Low Thia Khiang to stand in Hougang. At the moment, the alternatives in the WP are not very strong, with the front runners being the previous contestants from East Coast GRC.
Tan Jee Say has not ruled out the possibility of contesting Hougang as an independent candidate, and has been quoted as saying that "the first priority is to ensure Hougang remains in the hands of the opposition, and for that to happen, the opposition should work together to pick a candidate they can all agree on."
However, it is highly unlikely that WP will decline to put up a candidate since Hougang has been a WP stronghold for the longest time, so the only way Mr Tan is going to be able to contest the Hougang seat without the contest becoming a 3-way fight, is to join the Workers' Party and gain their endorsement to contest in Hougang. Tan is apparently expressed his willingness to join a political party if necessary to contest Hougang, and given his other comments, it's not too farfetched to read between the lines and conclude that he may be open to joining the WP.
This might be an opportune moment for WP to snag a heavy weight candidate and for Tan to gain entry into parliament after unsuccessful attempts to gain office in the 2011 GE and Presidential election. WP supporters in Hougang are unlikely to be bothered that he was formerly with the SDP, and his credible performance in the Presidential election will have done him no harm.
Channelnewsasia (Feb 16, 2012) "Who will fill Yaw Shin Leong's shoes?"
Straits Times (Feb 17, 2012) "Opposition figures Tan Jee Say and Frankie Low eye Hougang ward"