SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Friday (Jun 26) introduced a further four prospective candidates ahead of the next General Election.
They are: Former Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) general Gan Siow Huang, chief executive of ROHEI Rachel Ong Sin Yen, Singapore Aero Engine Services executive Sharael Taha and former civil servant Alex Yeo Sheng Chye.
Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who is also PAP's vice-chairman, introduced the candidates at a press conference.
GAN SIOW HUANG
Ms Gan Siow Huang, 46, is the first female general in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), and was among the first four women to receive the SAF Merit Scholarship in 1993.
She started her career as an air traffic controller and eventually rose to command four air bases under the largest formation in the SAF.
Ms Gan, who is married with three daughters, is also the deputy chief executive officer of e2i, and has been engaged in grassroots volunteering in Bishan.
Having served in the military for more than 25 years, Ms Gan said that this "is not a common choice among women", but it was one of the most fulfilling choices she made.
"This was one of the best choices and (most) fulfilling choices that I made for myself, other than marrying my husband," she said.
“It’s a place where men and women of different races, religions, backgrounds all come together, serving a common goal to protect Singapore. And I would say it is natural for people in the SAF to want to continue to serve, even when they leave the military.”
Of the 27 potential candidates introduced by the PAP since Wednesday, five were previously regulars with the SAF or the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
In the current Cabinet, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing was formerly the Chief of Army, while Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng was the Chief of Defence Force.
For Ms Gan, her time with the SAF saw her involved in areas such as long-term planning, capability development and policy work - skills critical to any organisation, she said.
Ms Gan has been tipped to be fielded in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC for the upcoming elections.
RACHEL ONG SIN YEN
Ms Rachel Ong, 47, is the chief executive of local enterprise ROHEI. She was also briefly introduced at the PAP65 convention in November last year.
In 2001, Ms Ong founded Trybe, a charity that runs the Singapore Boys Hostel, the Community Rehabilitation Centre for first-time drug abusers and Trybe Aftercare.
She currently serves as vice-chair of the Telok Blangah Citizens’ Consultative Committee.
Ms Ong undertook her post-secondary education at Columbia College in Canada, before moving on to Southern Illinois University. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from INSEAD and Tsinghua University.
“I am energised by two things. The first is to see every youth succeed in life, and the second is to see adults flourish in all that they do,” said Ms Ong.
“In order for us to help youths succeed, we first must learn to listen, to see, to hear, to understand and to care for the needs of the youth," she said. "Then we are empowered to continue to challenge them and support them - we have earned the right and the trust (of) them.”
Mr Sharael Taha, 39, is the vice-president of the strategy and project management office at Singapore Aero Engine Services, on secondment from Rolls Royce.
Married with three children, Mr Sharael holds a master of business administration degree from the University of Oxford.
He was previously based in Britain, where he oversaw global projects across Rolls-Royce's engine assembly and test facilities in Britain, Scotland, Germany, Canada and Singapore.
Mr Sharael has also been an active volunteer in Bukit Batok East, sharing his experiences with young people on science, technology, engineering and mathematics through engagement sessions.
In recent weeks Mr Sharael has been spotted with Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.
“My parents gave their best to provide a good future for the family. So now, with a young family of my own, I look at these huge shoes to fill in, for these are truly challenging times,” said Mr Sharael.
Noting how COVID-19 has affected all Singaporeans in the past months, he added that “the Singaporean spirit of resilience” will tide the community over this period.
“I would like to work with you to develop new skills and share my experience from high-tech industries, so that we can create great jobs, good jobs for the future of our families,” he said.
“But transformation cannot be at the expense of others. For the seniors, for the low-wage workers and for the less abled, we have to make sure that they are part of this journey.”
ALEX YEO SHENG CHYE
Lawyer Alex Yeo, 41, is the director of law firm Niru & Co, having previously served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a foreign service officer.
Married with two children, Mr Yeo holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the National University of Singapore, as well as a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.
He also holds a master's degree in public administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
Mr Yeo has been an active grassroots volunteer in Potong Pasir since 2014. In 2017, he became the branch chairperson for the PAP in Paya Lebar ward in Aljunied GRC. He also spoke at the PAP65 convention in November last year.
Referencing the time he helped launch the lasting power of attorney programme in Paya Lebar, Mr Yeo said: “All these experiences taught me that the way we do our work on the ground is extremely important.
“We must listen carefully, go the extra mile and try our very best. I want to do more, and I hope to be given an opportunity to do so.”
When asked about the PAP's chances in Aljunied GRC, Mr Yeo said he could not comment on who the PAP would field against the incumbent Workers' Party in the upcoming elections.
He added that he hoped Aljunied residents would give the PAP another chance to represent and serve them, "regardless of who our candidates are".
"It's not about the elections, it's about serving the residents and trying to regain and rebuild the trust and relationships that we have with the residents," he said.