SINGAPORE: Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will see a three-cornered fight in this General Election, after candidates from the People’s Action Party (PAP), the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Peoples Voice were confirmed on Nomination Day on Tuesday (Jun 30).
The Peoples Voice team for the five-member GRC comprises activist Gilbert Goh, 58, freelance economics lecturer Mohamed Nassir Ismail, 63, personal driver Jireh Lim, 61, business financial manager Prabu Ramachandran and preschool educator Vigneswari Ramachandran.
“Peoples Voice is a new political party. But we’re not a stupid, irresponsible or troublemaker party,” said Mr Lim, at the close of nominations at St Anthony’s Canossian Primary School.
“The PAP started many years ago also as an opposition party. The people at that time took a chance (on) them and the rest is history,” he added.
His teammate Mr Goh joined the party just a week ago and was slated to contest in Pioneer Single Member Constituency (SMC), but he said the Peoples Voice was “giving way” since the Progress Singapore Party is contesting there.
The PAP is fielding Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, party whip Janil Puthucheary and three new candidates - former People’s Association head Desmond Tan Kok Ming, 50, Caregiver Asia chief executive Yeo Wan Ling, 44, and Sharael Taha, 39, vice-president at Singapore Aero Engine Services.
In the PAP’s last term, Mr Teo oversaw the Pasir Ris West Division, while Dr Puthucheary and Mr Zainal Sapari helmed the Pasir Ris Coast and Pasir Ris East divisions, respectively.
“This COVID crisis is the most serious crisis that I've encountered in my 40 years of public service,” said Mr Teo. “We need a trusted and able government now, so that we can see this crisis through together.”
When asked by reporters about the three-cornered fight, PAP’s Mr Teo said that they “welcome all who are contesting”. He added that his team will “work very closely” with the new Punggol West SMC to “make sure that the town council and its finances are well managed”.
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Opponent party SDA contested Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC in the last three elections. As in 2015, the SDA will be fielding its only team there this year.
Its five candidates this time are party chairman Desmond Lim, chief media officer Harminder Pal Singh, 48, secretary general Abu Mohamed, 69, and new candidates Kelvin Ong and Kuswadi Atnawi. Mr Ong, 34, is a facilities management manager while Mr Kuswadi, 57, is an electrical engineer.
“In the past 13 years, we’ve never left (the residents) after each election but have worked even harder to support you because we believe your interest is our priority, especially the elderly and disadvantaged residents,” said Mr Lim in Mandarin.
In 2015, the PAP won the constituency in a direct fight against the SDA, with a 72.89 per cent vote share.
The GRC has now been downsized to a five-member constituency, from six members, with some polling districts shifted to the new Sengkang GRC and the Punggol West division carved out as an SMC.