Meet PAP's Sembawang GRC 'boy band', Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Meet PAP's Sembawang GRC 'boy band'

This article is more than 12 months old

A new kid on the block, a comeback kid, and three familiar faces. 

These are the five men who make up the People's Action Party's (PAP) "boy band" in Sembawang GRC, after it was announced on Friday morning (Aug 14) that Ms Ellen Lee would not be contesting in the coming election. 

Mr Hawazi Daipi, the MP for Marsiling, was announced to be retiring from politics earlier this month. Mr Ong Teng Koon and Mr Hawazi's wards are now part of the new four-member Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC. 

The new PAP team:

Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development

Mr Vikram Nair, MP

Mr Lim Wee Kiak, whose Canberra ward under Nee Soon GRC was subsumed under Sembawang after recent electoral boundaries review

Mr Ong Ye Kung, who was part of the PAP team who lost to the Workers' Party in Aljunied GRC in 2011

Mr Amrin Amin, 36, a corporate lawyer who is standing for election for the first time


The PAP's Sembawang team was presented at a session with the media at the SWAMI Home for the elderly, before the team settled down for a "kopi chat" with residents. 

"Mine is an ordinary life blessed with extraordinary people in an exceptional country", said Mr Amrin.

"I worked hard, but even with the hard work, I could not have succeeded without the Singapore ecosystem," he added, noting that there are few places in the world where so many opportunities are offered to minorities. 

Mr Amrin's groundwork began in Chong Pang in 2003, where he helped at meet-the-people sessions. He worked in the area for 10 years before moving to Marsiling.


A year ago, he moved to Woodlands to work alongside Miss Lee.

The latter said she is "happy" to "retire gracefully" after serving her residents for 10 years. 

"Renewal is part of the party ethos," she said in Mandarin.


Her departure and the introduction of Mr Amrin, as well as Mr Ong and Mr Lim, make PAP's Sembawang team an all-male affair.  

"I was asked why it's an all boys band here," Mr Khaw told media at the SWAMI Home, where the announcement took place. 

"Of course it's not ideal. The party tries to convince capable ladies to take part in politics ... So you must look at the entire slate, not just by GRC."

He pointed out that out of 80 PAP MPs in Parliament, 10 per cent are women. 

"We hope it will get better."

Mr Ong said he would not let the loss in the last election define him. 

"What have I learned from 2011? How people feel towards politics is different from the past. I don't think people want total dominance. Even ministers can lose their seats," he said. 

"So if you're prepared to come into politics and try to do something for residents, understand that this is the situation. Do it with your heart and soul, do it with your eyes open."

Asked about the new candidates, Mr Khaw said Mr Amrin and Mr Ong are "people who we have assessed beyond their careers". 

"We look for people who are honest, who have high levels of integrity," he said. "We look for people who want to help others ... not people who want to pursue egoistic endeavours."

As for the team's chances in a GRC which was won by the PAP with 63.9 per cent of the vote in the last election, Mr Amrin said: "Don't take things for granted. Every election is different."

Singapore ElectionsSembawangAmrin AminPeople's Action PartyPAP