SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party (PAP) on Thursday (Jun 25) introduced a further seven prospective candidates ahead of the next General Election.
The first four are: Ms Yeo Wan Ling, chief executive of Caregiver Asia, Mr Alvin Tan Sheng Hui, head of public policy and economics at LinkedIn, Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, a senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic and Mr Eric Chua, former commander at the Singapore Civil Defence Force's 3rd Division.
In a concurrent session, three new faces were unveiled: Mr Derrick Goh Soon Hee, managing director and head of group audit at DBS Bank, Ms Poh Li San, vice-president at Changi Airport Group and Mr Raymond Lye Hoong Yip, a managing partner of a law firm.
Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, who is also PAP's vice-chairman, introduced the first four candidates.
He said all four have had "varied and interesting journeys" in life, adding that the party's expectation of them is that their journeys will "make them competent and able leaders, and that they will serve with integrity".
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu introduced the other three candidates.
“They are very diverse, as you can see from their background, but there is a strong sense of mission … a strong sense of vision towards Singapore,” she said.
“There’s also a deep sense of passion to improve the system for Singaporeans and Singapore, and commitment to serve a wide variety of Singaporeans, marginalised groups, elderly, low income and so on.”
Later in the press conference, Ms Fu added that there was a “very concerted effort” to reflect the diverse needs of the population, in response to a question about the diversity of PAP’s candidates.
“This is the result - a really strong, diverse group with different experiences. But there are similarities as well, you’ll see that they come with good track records," she said.
"It’s not just what they say, but are they putting their words into action?”
She added: “It’s been hard work over the last few years to constantly look out, engage, monitor and to observe people who we think are suitable.”
YEO WAN LING
Ms Yeo Wan Ling, 44, started Caregiver Group, a company that specialises in home healthcare services. She also runs Caregiver Asia, a social enterprise under the company that connects care seekers with freelance caregivers in Singapore.
Prior to her current role, Ms Yeo was part of the Global Operations team in the Singapore Economic Development Board.
She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and political science and a Bachelor of Social Science in sociology.
If elected, she hopes to use her experience to champion caregiving programmes, so the community can "take care of each other in a sustainable way".
"When I started my social enterprise, it was because I saw a gap, a need, in the community for home-care services, and this is in particular for long-term care for the elderly and infirm," she said.
ALVIN TAN SHENG HUI
Mr Alvin Tan Sheng Hui, 39, has worked in varied industries, and has experience in the Singapore Armed Forces, United Nations, non-profit organisation Oxfam, Facebook and is currently the head of public policy and economics at technology firm LinkedIn.
Mr Tan started volunteering at Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng in 2005, and at Moulmein-Cairnhill since 2019.
He has served as secretary of the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee, and as a member of the Ministry of Information and Communication’s Media Literacy Council and the REACH Supervisory Panel. He is also chairman of the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Inter-racial and Religious Confidence Circle.
His focus areas include digitisation, "preserving and protecting" racial and religious harmony in Singapore, and green and sustainability issues.
"I want to use my skills and experience across the private, public and non-profit sectors to help Singaporeans become even more nimble, to prepare them for the future of work that has arrived sooner than you and I expected," he said.
WAN RIZAL WAN ZAKARIAH
Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42, is a senior lecturer in sports and exercise science at the School of Sports in Republic Polytechnic.
He was a Normal (Academic) student who pursued higher education at Temasek Polytechnic, National Institute of Education and later, Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
He obtained his degree in physical education at the age of 31 and received his post-graduate doctoral degree from NTU in 2017.
Dr Wan Rizal started volunteering in 2010 and was the chairman of Al-Islah mosque in Punggol. He was also a part of Punggol’s Interracial and Religious Confidence Circle.
He is currently a committee member on the advisory panel for Mendaki, Ministry of Transport as well as the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
He also served on the Citizens' Consultative Committees at both Pasir Ris East and Punggol East divisions.
He hopes to push for better social mobility through education.
"(Education) is how we can allow people who have less, or did less well, to move up and prevent our society from being stratified.
"Singapore must continue to be a nation of opportunities for all, not just for the privileged few, or the lucky ones, but for every Singaporean," he said, adding that this should be achieved through early childhood education and providing multiple pathways for upskilling.
ERIC CHUA SWEE LEONG
Mr Eric Chua Swee Leong, 41, is a former civil servant. He was awarded the Local Merit Scholarship (Civil Defence) by the Public Service Commission to read communications studies at NTU.
After graduating in 2002, Mr Chua served as a uniformed officer with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
He rose through the ranks to become Commander of the 3rd SCDF Division before his stint at the SGSecure Programme Office in the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He has served in various postings, responding to emergencies such as fires, traffic and industrial accidents as well as participating in overseas humanitarian missions.
Mr Chua has been a community volunteer for 15 years, and was previously chairman of the People's Association Youth Movement's Central Youth Council, and chairman of grassroots committees.
Mr Chua said that he would want to ensure youths, especially those from humble family backgrounds, have a "fair chance" to succeed in life.
"I'm very big on mentorship ... To me, the most customised and the best way to go about influencing each young person would be to have a mentor that this young person can resonate with," he said.
DERRICK GOH SOON HEE
Mr Derrick Goh Soon Hee, 51, is the managing director and head of group audit at DBS Bank. He has more than 27 years of experience in the banking and finance sector.
Since 2013, Derrick has been volunteering as a district councillor with the Southwest Community Development Council.
He is serving on the board of Home TeamNS and has also been volunteering with a Yishun grassroots organisation since 2017. He was previously seen with Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam at a walkabout in Chong Pang in March.
The father of three kids was based overseas with American Express for more than 10 years, before returning to Singapore in 2007 with his family.
At POSB, he was able to co-create projects that involved working with the young - helping them understand “the value of savings” - and also with the elderly to help them cope with digital banking.
His experience in volunteerism led him to think about the “kind of society” he wants for Singapore and the “policies we ought to have”.
“Thinking very deeply and looking at myself as an example - a kid from lower-middle income, able to compete in the global arena - this is the kind of Singapore that I want to see, where there are more opportunities for everyone, especially those who are not well-off," he said.
His focus areas include making sure no Singaporean is at a disadvantage in the digital age.
POH LI SAN
Ms Poh Li San, 45, is the vice-president of Changi Airport Group and is involved in the planning for the upcoming Terminal 5. She is also a former search and rescue helicopter pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.
In 2006, she became the first female full-time aide-de-camp to former President of Singapore, the late S R Nathan.
She has also been volunteering in grassroots activities and Meet-The-People sessions at Sembawang GRC since 2018.
In introducing her, Ms Fu recalled an anecdote about Ms Poh: They were on a trip to Japan with former President S R Nathan, and she decided to go for a run with a few other MPs. Ms Poh, she said, ran at twice the speed of the others.
“So I’m very happy to see a very sporting candidate among us,” she said.
Ms Poh’s focus areas include opportunities and leadership roles for women at workplaces, especially in the emerging sectors and in STEM industries.
“It is important to start nurturing our younger generation of women to set their ambitions high and far, and chase their passion so that they can excel in what they do and contribute to our society in many ways,” she said.
In response to a question about why she chose to join politics now, Ms Poh described it as a “very heavy responsibility”.
“It’s about vesting this privilege onto us to represent the people, to work for the people,” she said. “For me, I think now I’m ready at this age and having accumulated some life experiences.
“I think the most important thing for residents to consider is that candidates must really serve from the heart. We must always put the welfare and benefit of the people as number one.”
RAYMOND LYE HOONG YIP
Mr Raymond Lye Hoong Yip, 54, is the managing partner of his own law firm, Union Law. He previously served as a magistrate and deputy registrar of the State Courts before entering the private sector.
He has also been volunteering with clans, societies, associations, boards and committees in healthcare, law, education and media. He was conferred the Public Service Star and Public Service Medal in 2008 and 1998 respectively.
He has been involved in areas like Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris, said Ms Fu.
In introducing him, Ms Fu pointed out that he has “extensive experience working with agencies in resolving local issues” and has a “very good handle on the local issues that are being felt on the ground”.
During the press conference, he spoke about his experience in areas like healthcare, education and law. But community work - where he gets to “listen to residents in their homes, void decks and coffee shops” - remains the most satisfying for him.
“I have always tried my best to help as no Government policy is foolproof,” he said. “There are those who fall through the cracks.”
He also spoke about how he has benefited from meritocracy in Singapore, explaining that his father’s business suffered after the British withdrawal from Singapore, and he remembers “moving from rental housing to rental housing,” and eating “plain noodle lunches”.
“The experience toughened me,” he said. “I worked hard, got some breaks in life and hoped to have improved the lives of my family.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities that Singapore has given me, and I feel a deep sense that I should give back to the community.”
“What is important to me is that meritocracy remains attainable through a level playing field,” he added.
“I believe I am living the Singapore Dream, and I hope that dream not only remains attainable but will resonate even more with the young going forward.”
Editor's note: Information has been corrected in this article about when Derrick Goh began volunteering with a Yishun grassroots organisation and when he returned to Singapore.