PSP's bid to contest Nee Soon GRC seems 'half-hearted': Shanmugam

This article is more than 12 months old

The opposition attempt on Nee Soon GRC this election seems to be a "half-hearted" one, said PAP incumbent K. Shanmugam yesterday.

Commenting on the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), the Law and Home Affairs Minister said: "I don't want to speculate why PSP has come, but it seems to have been very half-hearted about it. As you will recall, a week ago it was offering to trade Nee Soon for some other constituency."

Mr Shanmugam, 61, was speaking in a virtual press conference at the People's Action Party's (PAP) Nee Soon East branch, along with fellow candidates Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, 52, Louis Ng, 41, and new faces, charity founder Carrie Tan, 38, and banker Derrick Goh, 51.

Last week, Reform Party (RP) chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam said the PSP would withdraw from "various grounds" in return for RP not contesting West Coast GRC, and that PSP had also offered to cede Nee Soon, but RP decided not to contest it anyway.

The PSP slate for Nee Soon is led by customer service manager Damien Tay, 51, and the rest of the members are party treasurer Sri Nallakaruppan, 56, media consultant Bradley Bowyer, 53, adult educator Kala Manickam, 52, and IT project manager Taufik Supan, 40.

Distributing fliers outside Yishun MRT yesterday evening, they called Mr Shanmugam's remarks "far-fetched" and said that the party had never negotiated ceding Nee Soon to RP.

"We've been preparing here for months," said Mr Bowyer.

"Back in April, once the electoral boundaries were out... the only place that I've ever been told that I will be standing is here in Nee Soon, and I believe it's the same for everyone here."

Separately at the PAP conference, Mr Shanmugam also spoke effusively about outgoing Nee Soon South MP Lee Bee Wah, 59, who is retiring from politics. "She was a once-in-a-generation type of MP - she was sui generis (unique)."

He would have liked her to continue, he added.

"It's sad to see someone like that retiring, but renewal is part of the PAP's DNA."

Ms Tan, 38, is replacing Ms Lee on the slate. She said during walkabouts, many people have told her she has big shoes to fill.

"I jokingly say that it's okay, because I have big feet. But I think the key thing here is that I have a big heart for this work," she added.

Mr Goh, 51, spoke about upcoming plans for home improvement programmes for 41 blocks of old Housing Board flats in the Yishun Link area, as well as enhancements to the public transport system, especially bus services in areas with new Build-To-Order flats.