According to the People’s Action Party (PAP), about a quarter of the current PAP MPs will step down in favor of new blood in the party – and surprisingly, many of these new faces will have a background in the private sector instead of the PAP’s traditional recruitment grounds of civil servants and military officers.
Only 25% of the new faces are from the Government and armed forces, PAP organising secretary and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said.
This is an increase from the 2011 GE, where less than half of the new candidates were from the private sector.
The occupations of these new faces include corporate managers, finance professionals, lawyers, doctors and civil society activists.
The varied slate is to provide a representation of viewpoints from different groups of Singaporeans, Dr Ng said. “We’re a broad church, so we want diverse perspectives.
“You need MPs who can both deal with the day-to-day municipal issues, understand their residents, understand their concerns and deal with bread-and- butter issues, as well as come into Government when they are needed… You have to bring in enough people, or as many as possible, who can do both.”
Also, about a third of these new faces could eventually become office-holders, Dr Ng added.
When asked why the PAP brings in more top civil servants into the party than from other occupations, Dr Ng says that the party has to be certain that the candidates have what it takes to help lead a country:
“Who are these people? They will be people who have been civil servants and understand the challenges, who are from the military and given overseas exposure, or who police large organisations…So from that point of view, I don’t think it’s surprising that we draw from the civil service or people who perform well.”