Potential People’s Action Party candidates are already active on the ground, ahead of the next General Election, said party organising secretary Ng Eng Hen.
Their earlier-than-usual deployment was in response to feedback after the 2011 General Election, he said in an interview published in Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday.
Then, many Singaporeans had said that the PAP should send people to grassroots organisations as early as possible.
“We have already begun doing this and several candidates are already active within the grassroots organisations,” said Dr Ng, who is also Defence Minister.
“The advice we give them is: listen and understand the demands of the people; build relationships with the residents; win the trust of residents…
“This way, during the GE, you will be able to better understand the demands of the residents.”
Ahead of the next GE – which must be held before January 2017 – some of the candidates are serving in PAP branches, such as helping out during Meet-the-People sessions, while others are taking part in grassroots organisations’ activities, he said.
“We especially value candidates with grassroots experience, because these people have already demonstrated their determination to help residents,” said Dr Ng. “We have more such candidates.”
But he did not reveal which constituencies the new candidates are active in.
Asked how many potential candidates there are, he said: “It is a sufficient number. Sufficient for self-renewal; sufficient to ensure we net driven people with fresh ideas; sufficient to ensure we have successors.”
With Parliament taking a mid-term break next month, Dr Ng noted that what lies ahead is crucial.
“Just like in a sporting competition, the second half is always the more important one,” he said.
“Because no matter how well you performed in the first half, the second half always has a deciding influence.”