SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Friday (Aug 21) formally named Tin Pei Ling, 31, as its candidate to contest the MacPherson Single Member Constituency (SMC) at the upcoming General Election (GE).
The announcement was made at a PAP Community Foundation Education Centre in MacPherson. "We want to serve the residents here," she said. "We have been here since day one and will continue to put in our very best and be with them, though thick and thin, rain or shine, and we hope to continue doing so."
Ms Tin, who gave birth to a boy on Aug 5, was first elected during the 2011 General Election as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the MacPherson division under the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC).
Ms Tin said she was "very excited" to be a mother and is still getting used to the new role, but will hit the campaign trail soon. She told 938LIVE last week she will complete her confinement period.
"After giving birth, because of this great team here, it's really just 'business as usual' and I expect myself to be in full action soon," she said.
WATCH: MP Tin Pei Ling on why she won't be bringing her newborn son along to events related to the General Election. http://bit.ly/1TXr29RPosted by Channel NewsAsia Singapore on Friday, 21 August 2015
"To all the working mothers out there - kudos to all of you. I have deep respect. I know it's not easy now. I'm a mother as well, and I hope the men out there will continue to give utmost support to working moms," she added.
On the subject of single moms, Ms Tin is fully supportive that this group should be entitled to equal maternity leave. "The principle remains the same: My focus is on the child. He’s a child of Singapore ... This child has been born; we shouldn’t penalise the child just because of actions of the mum."
Single mothers currently get half of the 16-week paid maternity leave that married mothers are entitled to.
"We should continue to emphasise family values, but I can empathise with the mum and I think we should be fair to them," Ms Tin said.
The MacPherson ward has been carved out again as a single-seat constituency under the new electoral boundaries announced last month.
The constituency existed as an SMC from 1968 to 1991 under the late former minister Chua Sian Chin, and again from 1997 to 2011 under Mr Matthias Yao. Mr Yao fended off Opposition challengers in three General Elections, winning by comfortable margins, before retiring from politics ahead of the 2011 polls.
This year, Ms Tin faces a possible three-cornered fight with Opposition candidates from the Workers’ Party and the National Solidarity Party. The latter, which had earlier stated it would not contest MacPherson SMC, made an about-turn on Wednesday.
Asked about the result she is hoping for, Ms Tin said: "We are not focused on actual specific numbers. It's really focusing our time on doing what is right and best for our residents. If they are taken care of, we are happiest and if that happens, the votes will follow."
The 31-year-old admitted she had a "rocky and painful" entry into politics, when she was mocked for her some of her old social media posts. "It was very trying, one of the darkest moments in my life. I’m thankful for my family, friends and team for their unwavering support. Without them 'chionging' (charging forth) with me, I wouldn’t have pulled through. At times, I felt some of the accusations were baseless … but when I see some of the issues which the residents grapple with, I feel it pales in comparison."
She said based on her experience, she hopes to inspire young people to not give up even in the face of challenges. "If I can quote Taylor Swift, it will be 'shake it off'. Keep calm and carry on," she said.