SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party (PAP) on Wednesday (Jun 24) unveiled a second group of four new prospective candidates ahead of the next General Election: Lawyer Hany Soh, banker Don Wee, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) director Mohd Fahmi Aliman and former civil servant Yip Hon Weng.
PAP's first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat said in an earlier session on Tuesday that the party headquarters was still finalising deployment plans for these candidates.
When asked why the PAP was introducing prospective candidates individually instead of at the usual constituency level, PAP vice-chairman Masagos Zulkifli said it was not a "technical" decision.
Considering the COVID-19 outbreak, this was the safest as well as the most convenient and productive way for journalists, he said.
HANY SOH HUI BIN
Lawyer Hany Soh Hui Bin, 33, is a director at MSC Law Corporation who has been volunteering with grassroots members in Bukit Panjang since 2011 under her mentor North West Community Development Council mayor Teo Ho Pin.
In 2014, Ms Soh set up the first Community Legal Clinic in a Residents’ Committee (RC) centre in Singapore. She provides pro bono legal advice to residents on a fortnightly basis and conducts regular law awareness talks to raise residents' awareness on legal knowledge, particularly on the importance of estate planning.
She is also a legal advisor for the Soh Clan Association, a North West district councillor and a School Advisory Committee Chairman in Zhenghua Primary School.
Her focus areas include green living, education and ensuring residents know their legal rights and avenues for seeking help.
Ms Soh said she hopes to change how people can apply for Lasting Power of Attorney, noting that the "tedious" process first requires meeting with a lawyer, doctor or psychiatrist, before submitting the application via post.
"It can be as easy as the CPF nomination form, which is done online," she said. "I hope to streamline a lot of procedures that fundamentally people who are physically disabled are unable to do."
Ms Soh said she hopes to be a voice for residents in Parliament, and "work with them during difficult times, and celebrate with them during their times of happiness".
DON WEE BOON HONG
Banker Don Wee Boon Hong, 43, is a senior vice president at the United Overseas Bank. He chairs the West Coast Citizens Consultative Committee Community Development Welfare Fund and West Coast Peak Neighbourhood Committee.
Mr Wee sits on the Institute of Mental Health’s Visitors’ Board and considers helping less privileged students and mental health patients as focus areas.
"I do hope that through politics, (it) is an extension of my volunteerism and a platform for me to raise their concerns and needs to the policymakers," he said.
In addition, he hopes to provide support for local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are currently "experiencing tremendous challenges".
"If elected, I will propose improvements to some of the assistance schemes rendered to the SMEs. I hope that the issues can be resolved at the upstream level so that Singaporean workers can benefit from it," he said.
Mr Wee said he would suggest to the Government to digitalise the ways less-privileged families can approach social services for help.
Currently, they must first visit a doctor to get medical report which says they are unfit for work, and it could be a few months before appropriate help is given, he added.
"I would suggest ... that all the medical reports which are available in the healthcare system can be availed to the social service office in a very secured manner," he said.
MOHD FAHMI ALIMAN
NTUC Administration and Research Unit director Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48, was deputy chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore. He has been spotted out and about in Marine Parade and has been pictured with Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.
Mr Mohd Fahmi is a former Singapore Armed Forces Colonel, and in 2005 was deployed for six months to Blangpidie for the Aceh Monitoring Mission. In 2012, he served in Kabul, Afghanistan for six months.
He said he wants to raise awareness on living healthy and staying relevant through getting new skills.
"I want to create awareness for low-wage workers and essential services workers, for them to continue training, upskill themselves, learn skills and make a better living," he added.
Two values he hopes to bring to the table include building trust and fostering mutual respect.
"Build trust with people around you, together with residents, to ensure ... I'm the right guy to help them address issues locally and bringing the issue upwards at the national level for national policies to consider," he said.
"Inculcate mutual respect, in the sense that everyone comes from different background, and I will want to address you as who you are and not what and where you come from."
He wants the progressive wage model to be applied to every service industry with low-wage and essential workers.
"We also realise that there is no bonus, or little bonus, given to low-wage workers," he added.
"This is something I will study deeper, understand deeper, and I want to be that voice to fight and make sure low-wage workers are taken care of in terms of welfare."
YIP HON WENG
Mr Yip Hon Weng, 43, was the former group chief of the Silver Generation Office at the Agency for Integrated Care. According to reports, he had taken part in a meeting with Silver Generation Ambassadors and Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, an Ang Mo Kio GRC Member of Parliament.
Mr Yip was part of the team that established the Ageing Policy Office in the Ministry of Health in 2011 to drive national strategies on ageing issues and set up the Municipal Services Office in 2014, serving as Senior Director of Policy and Planning.
He also volunteers as a mediator in the Ministry of Law's Community Mediation Centre, where he works to resolve conflicts between neighbours.
During the "circuit breaker" period in April, he mobilised more than 500 volunteers to deliver food packs to more than 37,500 seniors who were living alone and disabled people islandwide.
Mr Yip said the Government can do more to help seniors when it comes to coordination, mental health support and raising awareness of the help available.
He also acknowledged that not all seniors can embrace digitalisation in a post-COVID-19 world, adding that it is important for them to at least get the basics.
This includes setting up a Wi-Fi connection, communicating via WhatsApp, having pre-paid SIM cards and knowing how to top them up.
"We will try to push for it and teach them to understand, but if they still cannot do it, I think we will need to find other ways to keep in touch with them," he added.
Mr Yip said he has five children aged two to 10 and often gets questions on why he has so many children.
"I have five children because I have confidence in Singapore's future. Having a big family comes with a lot of sacrifices, but I believe the joys and rewards far outweigh the cost," he added.
"Entering politics will come at a cost to my personal life, but I believe this is the best opportunity to contribute and make Singapore into a place where my children and one day their children can be proud of."