SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party (PAP) is currently considering a few "strong candidates" for the vacant Bukit Batok Single Member Constituency (SMC) seat, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (Mar 14). He added that the party is "quite fortunate to be in this position.
"When we finally announce the candidate, I can assure you it'll be someone who's committed to the interest of Bukit Batok residents," said Mr Tharman.
However, he stopped short of providing more details, declining to say if the possible candidate will be a familiar face.
Mr Tharman was at a Meet-the-People session at Bukit Batok West Ave 6 to give fellow Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng "support", as Mr Desmond Lee was away on a business trip. Mr Lee was tasked to take care of Bukit Batok residents, following the resignation of Mr David Ong on Saturday.
The former PAP MP left his post and the party after an extramarital affair with PAP member and grassroots volunteer Wendy Lim.
Mr Ang, who took over from Mr Ong as chairman of Jurong-Clementi Town Council, told reporters that Bukit Batok residents have been warm towards him. "They are still here to ask for help because they still have faith in the party. At the same time, a lot of them have personally told me as I walked from the car park to here, they found that Mr Ong had done a good job, so it's very unfortunate," he said.
Mr Tharman added: "We'll make sure that their problems are solved, their needs are taken care of, and that all the projects that are ongoing will carry on."
He also said that it is up to former MP David Ong to decide when he wants to publicly address residents. "I think he needs some private space right now," he told reporters.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said that a by-election will be held for the Single Member Constituency "in due course".
Opposition parties such the Singapore Democratic Party and Democratic Progressive Party, as well as independent candidate Samir Salim Neji, have expressed their interest in contesting the ward.