The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Saturday (Aug 22) officially unveiled its candidates for the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC) for the upcoming General Elections (GE) today.
The newest members of the six-man GRC team are 47 year-old Mr Ng Chee Meng, formerly the Chief of Defence Force, and 36 year-old Ms Sun Xueling, an investment director with Temasek Holdings. They will be replacing Member of Parliament (MP) for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Gan Thiam Poh, who is joining the PAP’s slate in Ang Mo Kio GRC, while MP Ms Penny Low will retire from politics.
The PAP team won 64.79% of the vote in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in the 2011 GE against the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA). The SDA has said it will contest the constituency again.
The six PAP candidates for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC are:
60 year-old Mr Teo Chee Hean – Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Teo is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security and the Minister for Home Affairs. He previously held Cabinet portfolios for Defence, Education and Environment. A former career soldier, he became Chief of Navy in 1991 with the rank of Rear Admiral. He left the service to join politics in 1992, when he was elected as an MP for Marine Parade GRC in a by-election. He has served as MP in Pasir Ris since 1997.
47 year-old Mr Teo Ser Luck – Minister of State for Trade and Industry. Mr Teo is concurrently Mayor for the North East District. He was first elected as MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in 2006, and served as Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports, as well as Transport, from 2008 to 2011. He led Singapore’s successful bid to host the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010.
49 year-old Mr Zainal Sapari – assistant secretary-general, National Trades Union Congress. Mr Zainal chairs the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council. The former Ministry of Education superintendent left a career in teaching to join politics in 2011.
42 year-old Dr Janil Puthucheary – A senior consultant at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Dr Puthucheary is trained as a medical doctor. He was first elected into Parliament in 2011. He is also Medical Director for Faculty Development at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.
47 year-old Mr Ng Chee Meng – Former Chief of Defence Force. Mr Ng retired from the Singapore Armed Forces on Aug 18, after nearly three decades in service and 29 months as Chief of Defence Force. He was chairman of the State Funeral Organising Committee for the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, and also headed the National Day Celebrations Committee. He has also held several directorship appointments in public and private organisations, including the boards of Singapore Technologies Engineering, Defence Science and Technology Agency and Jurong Town Corporation. If elected, he would make history as the highest-ranking career soldier to become an MP. He is married with two daughters.
Mr Ng, who grew up in “an average family” – not rich, but comfortable – said he supported the policy of meritoracy. “My brothers and I wouldn’t have the same opportunities anywhere else in the world. (But) I’d like to see it not taken to extremes and not too narrowly defined,” he said. “Where we meet with some success in life, my basic principle is to give back to society, so that the next generation has the same opportunities.”
He volunteered with the Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre for five years from 2009. “You see some kids with no money for recess.” These are social problems with “no easy solution”, he said, but require a concerted effort from all with the government working hand in hand with the people.
36 year-old Ms Sun Xueling – An investment director at Temasek Holdings. Ms Sun has been helping out at grassroots events since 2001 in Buona Vista and Punggol West. She served as the assistant secretary of the Youth Sub-Committee of the Buona Vista CCC in 2004 and assistant secretary of the Buona Vista CCC in 2006. In 2003, she joined the Economic Development Board. Subsequently, she joined DBS as assistant vice-president, then was senior vice-president in Macquarie Capital Securities HK and director of Deutsche Bank HK. She joined Temasek as a director in 2014.
“I started volunteering in 2001. What kept me going was the realization that when a fellow man comes up to you to share his problems: You see the world through his eyes, you see issues from his perspective. You feel compassion and a deep desire to try and help him,” Ms Sun said.
The time she spent in grassroots has made her a better person, she added. “When you try to solve others’ problems, your own problems become insignificant. You become a better person. I see politics as a way for me to do more than just community service. I’ve come in touch with local issues but once you go into politics, you get a chance to affect policies on a national front.”
On what young voters want, she said: “Young voters want change not just for change’s sake, but for improvement. I want to make sure we deliver improvement, whether it is in eldercare or childcare. I hope to bring this vibrancy and change to our voters here.”