PAP candidates must have integrity and sense of purpose: DPM Heng
DPM describes strong sense of purpose and readiness to contribute as key attributes the party seeks when choosing candidates
Integrity and a strong sense of purpose to improve the lives of Singaporeans are key attributes the People's Action Party (PAP) seeks when choosing a diverse slate of candidates for the coming general election.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday lifted the curtain on PAP's selection process when he introduced a new group of fresh faces for the polls on July 10.
Mr Heng, the PAP's first assistant secretary-general, said: "What we hope to have is a team that is sufficiently diverse for us to reach out to all Singaporeans from different segments of our society, different walks of life, different professions."
However, that is not enough because Singapore society is becoming increasingly diverse, he noted. Hence, it also looks at causes that people are interested in.
"But the key thing is that we want people of integrity. We want people with a strong sense of service, who feel that they are ready and prepared to contribute to bringing our people together, both in serving our citizens at the front line as an MP, and at the same time, even if they continue their professional work, to serve in Parliament, to speak up in the various debates and deliberations, because that's where long-term policies are being made."
Mr Heng said the four fresh faces he introduced yesterday had modest upbringings.
They included Dr Tan See Leng, the former managing director of IHH Healthcare, and the former chief executive of Infocomm Media Development Authority Tan Kiat How.
"But Singapore's conditions of education and providing opportunities enabled them to be their best (and) achieve what they set out to do," he said.
At a separate press conference yesterday, PAP vice-chairman Masagos Zulkifli also introduced four new candidates.
Three other candidates were introduced by the party's organising secretary Grace Fu in another session.
Mr Masagos, who is Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said candidates such as polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, whom he was introducing, epitomise "the new Malay-Muslim leadership" that start by serving in their community but do not stop there.
Ms Fu, who is Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, replying to a question on the PAP's efforts to get more women into the party, said more will be participating in this election.
Out of the 26 candidates the party will introduce, 10 are women - double the number it fielded in 2015.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: YUEN SIN
ERIC CHUA SWEE LEONG, 41
Former director of the SGSecure Programme Office
Mr Chua grew up in a three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. His father was a forklift driver and his mother a seamstress and, later, a production operator in a factory.
He was awarded the Local Merit Scholarship (Civil Defence) by the Public Service Commission to read communications studies at Nanyang Technological University. He served with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), eventually becoming commander of the 3rd SCDF Division before joining the SGSecure Programme Office.
Mr Chua, a former chairman of the People's Association Youth Movement's Central Youth Council, has worked with the youth for 15 years.
POH LI SAN, 44
Vice-president for Terminal 5 planning at Changi Airport Group
Sembawang is a special place for Ms Poh, a former helicopter pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the first female full-time aide-de-camp to the late president S R Nathan. She spent a lot of time there when she was based at RSAF's Sembawang Air Base. Ms Poh, who is single, started an annual Women Festival for the constituency and helped distribute food to rental flat residents. Ms Poh, who spoke in Mandarin, English and Malay at the press conference, is tipped to join the PAP team for Sembawang GRC, which will likely lose Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan as he is expected to retire from politics soon.
DERRICK GOH SOON HEE, 51
Managing director and head of group audit at DBS Bank
Before taking up his position at DBS, Mr Goh headed its subsidiary POSB, where he was exposed to volunteering efforts by community leaders and grassroots organisations. This inspired the father of three to take up community work. Mr Goh spent more than 10 years at credit company American Express and was based in London and New York. Mr Goh, who is vice-chairman of the Gambas-Yishun Citizens' Consultative Committee, has been seen with Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam at community engagements in Nee Soon GRC, where he is expected to be fielded.
WAN RIZAL WAN ZAKARIAH, 42
Senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic
Dr Wan Rizal, who is married with four children, started volunteering in the community in 2010. He was chairman of Al-Islah Mosque in Punggol and part of Punggol's Inter-racial and Religious Confidence Circle.
The Normal (Academic) student obtained a polytechnic diploma and later enrolled in the National Institute of Education and subsequently Nanyang Technological University, where he obtained his degree in physical education at the age of 31.
Dr Wan Rizal, who has recently appeared in Jalan Besar GRC events, now holds a PhD in sports science.
TAN KIAT HOW, 43
Former Infocomm Media Development Authority chief executive
Mr Tan was "the pioneer of the Pioneer Generation Office", said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in introducing him yesterday. Tipped to be fielded in East Coast GRC, Mr Tan was part of the team that set up the office, now known as the Silver Generation Office, and responsible for mobilising 3,000 volunteers to reach out to nearly half a million seniors.
YEO WAN LING, 44
Chief executive of Caregiver Asia
Ms Yeo, who used to work at the Economic Development Board, now runs Caregiver Asia, a social enterprise that connects those in need of care with freelance caregivers in Singapore. She started her social enterprise because she saw a gap in the provision of home-care services, in particular long-term care for the elderly. She has been tipped to stand in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
TAN SEE LENG, 55
Former Parkway Holdings group chief executive
Dr Tan, who has spent more than 30 years in the medical sector, is the oldest PAP candidate introduced so far. He will succeed Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong as chairman of Marine Parade's PAP branch. He said he spent two years under Mr Goh's tutelage and worked with him on a caregiver support network for the elderly that will be launched after the election. He declined to comment on where he will be fielded.
NG LING LING, 48
Former managing director of Community Chest
Ms Ng Ling Ling spent six years working in banking before going into social service. As managing director of Community Chest , the National Council of Social Service's fund-raising arm, she helped raise millions for charity. She stepped down from her role as chief of future primary care and director of community engagement at the Health Ministry's Office for Healthcare Transformation in March. Ms Ng is tipped to be fielded in Ang Mo Kio GRC.
ALVIN TAN SHENG HUI, 39
Head of public policy and economics (Asia-Pacific) at LinkedIn
Mr Tan was once held back a grade and did not do well enough at school to enter a local university. Despite the setbacks, he earned an economics degree from Sydney University, and later, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. He has worked in the Singapore Armed Forces, with non-profit group Oxfam, as well as in investment banking. He has been a grassroots volunteer in Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng since 2005 and has been active in Tanjong Pagar GRC of late.
ZHULKARNAIN ABDUL RAHIM, 39
Mr Zhulkarnain, a partner at law firm Dentons Rodyk and Davidson, believes in building on community modes of distribution, such as neighbour networks to support the needy, and to "entrench this idea of humanness" in policymaking. He has three children aged 11, eight and six and was previously the chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals.
RAYMOND LYE HOONG YIP, 54
Managing partner at Union Law
Mr Lye, a father of three and a lawyer, has been volunteering in the community for 25 years. Despite having volunteered for groups such as clan societies and trade associations, Mr Lye finds community work most fulfilling.