Straits Times
Published on Nov 5, 2011
By Andrea Ong

THEY are rivals in politics, but on the football pitch, they were teammates.

Wearing the same red jersey and calling themselves the Singapore Parliament team, seven People’s Action Party (PAP) MPs and two Workers’ Party (WP) MPs sweated it out yesterday in a friendly football match.

The PAP MPs included Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing, and Minister of State (National Development and Manpower) Tan Chuan-Jin.

Representing the WP were Aljunied GRC MPs Pritam Singh and Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap. Also on their team were some Parliament staff.

The Parliament team, however, lost 2-1 to a media team of reporters from Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp.

Mr Singh saved the team from a complete rout when he scored its only goal in a penalty during the dying minutes of the game at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Mr Singh told The Straits Times: ‘We may represent different parties but if tomorrow a war comes, we’ll all be on the same team. It’s important not to get lost in partisan politics… We are all Singaporeans. We have to be united.’

Mr Tan, who posted about the match on Facebook, praised Mr Singh’s ‘good penalty’ and said the match was a good workout.

The match was the brainchild of Minister of State (Trade and Industry) Teo Ser Luck, who felt it was important for parliamentarians to ‘come together and show solidarity as a team’.

Sport transcends boundaries and was the ideal way to bring everyone together, said Mr Teo, adding that the Parliament team played well together even though they were doing it for the first time. ‘We did not train at all for this match.’

Yesterday’s hour-long match was held in conjunction with a dialogue on the Vision 2030 blueprint for sports here.

All three MPs who spoke to The Straits Times were keen on playing on the same team again. The idea may be expanded to other sports, said Mr Teo.