SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) team contesting Tampines GRC will be led by Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, with Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon joining the team and replacing Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Mr Heng will contest in East Coast GRC instead this election. Dr Koh was a former Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC.
The other three PAP candidates who will be defending their seats are Mr Baey Yam Keng, Mr Desmond Choo and Ms Cheng Li Hui.
They will be challenged by a team from the National Solidarity Party (NSP), which is led by party president Reno Fong. The other members are Mr Mohd Ridzwan Bin Mohammad, Yeo Ren-Yuan, Choong Hon Heng and Vincent Ng.
The NSP has done battle before in Tampines, losing in 2011 and 2015 to the PAP.
The NSP got 42.8 per cent of the votes cast in 2011, against PAP’s 57.2 per cent. In 2015, it took 27.9 per cent of the vote, with the PAP widening its vote share to 72.1 per cent.
Tampines GRC has 151,708 voters this election.
“Many voters have stood by us since Tampines GRC was formed in 1988. Because you know NSP will never be afraid to speak up for you,” said Mr Fong from the NSP in a speech after the party’s candidacies were confirmed on Tuesday (Jun 30) at the Poi Ching School.
He added that there is a “real” danger of a total wipeout of the opposition in this elections, referencing a statement that Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh made on Sunday during the unveiling of his party’s manifesto.
“There must be always checks and balances, robust debates before any policy is passed in Parliament. I urge you to think and consider seriously,” said Mr Fong.
“Giving the Government a strong mandate is like giving them a blank cheque,” he added. “Come Polling Day, please consider giving alternative parties like us a chance. Do the next right thing.”
In his speech, Mr Masagos welcomed Dr Koh to the team and said: “For five years, what we promised, we delivered. Vote for the PAP Team Tampines, for our homes, our hearts. Tampines together!”
Later at a doorstop, Mr Masagos said that the PAP has fielded a “strong” team in Tampines. “While we are sad to see DPM (Heng Swee Keat) leave … we are here for the residents and we will build on the guidance that he has given us,” he added.
Asked by a reporter how he was chosen to stand in Tampines GRC, Dr Koh said the process is similar to how doctors get rotated to different hospitals.
“But regardless of which hospital you go to, the mission is the same. The ethics and the drive to treat every single patient in the best way possible is the same,” he said.
“As we get deployed in different constituencies, our desire, our ethics, our values, our willingness to contribute and make every place we go to better than it was before is still the same.
“I hope this is where I can contribute my energy and effort for the next five years, and I hope people will give me the chance to do so.”