SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Monday (Jun 29) unveiled a new potential candidate as part of its slate for Jurong GRC in the upcoming General Election.
This comes after the resignation of former election prospect Ivan Lim, following online criticism about his conduct during his time in National Service, among other accusations. Mr Lim had been tipped to run in Jurong GRC alongside Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Xie Yao Quan, 35, was introduced by Mr Tharman at PAP’s Bukit Batok East Branch.
Mr Xie is head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital, and has been a volunteer in Jurong GRC since 2015, where he led several initiatives to support lower-income families.
Joining Mr Tharman and Mr Xie on the Jurong GRC slate are Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, Ms Rahayu Mazam and new candidate Mr Shawn Huang.
The Jurong GRC was the best performing PAP team in the 2015 General Election, garnering 79.3 per cent of the vote. New opposition party Red Dot United has announced plans to contest the constituency.
It was an “easy decision” to bring Mr Xie into Jurong, as he has been “working very hard” in Jurong for the past five years, said Mr Tharman on Monday.
“I will say very frankly that Yao Quan is equal to our other candidates. It’s always a really tough decision as to who is in that first line-up ... We decide on it based on an overall configuration, and those who stay on the sidelines initially are no inferior," said Mr Tharman.
“I’ve always been keen on Yao Quan because he was here, he was leading and he’s well-regarded.”
Mr Tharman also said that this is not the first time the PAP has made a last minute change to its line-up, adding that “we do that every time”.
“Those who are waiting - part of the first team but on the sidelines and waiting ... (They) are fully suitable to be fielded,” he said.
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At head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital, Mr Xie leads the hospital’s COVID-19 operations in a major Community Care Facility, among other areas.
He is also a board member of SG Enable and co-leads a task force to promote products made or designed by persons with disabilities.
He was previously with the Singapore Armed Forces in regular service and also used to work for an investment company.
Mr Xie’s focus areas include keeping healthcare affordable and of good quality, and improving coordination between healthcare and social support. He also plans to advocate for lower-income families.
“The reason why I’m stepping forward today is because I believe in the role of a Member of Parliament in the local community - bringing people together and just making extraordinary things happen for the benefit of residents and creating a better home for everyone,” said Mr Xie.
When asked if Mr Xie would be Mr Lim’s replacement, Mr Tharman said that he respected Mr Lim’s decision to resign.
“We really want to focus on the issues in this election, which is why Ivan decided to withdraw ... We are moving on. We have a strong team. To be frank, I am very comfortable with the team we have,” he said.
Mr Tharman added that the party will come back to Mr Lim's case after the election, as they did not want to leave the accusations unresolved.