SINGAPORE: The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Wednesday (Jun 24) formally introduced the first four new candidates for the Jul 10 General Election.
They are: Former chief executive of the People's Association (PA) Desmond Tan, co-founder of Timbre Group Edward Chia, Keppel Offshore and Marine general manager Ivan Lim and TSMP Law Corporation associate director Nadia Ahmad Samdin.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is the first assistant secretary-general of the PAP, introduced the four at a press conference on Wednesday morning.
When asked where the four candidates would be fielded, Mr Heng said the party was finalising its deployments, and will announce details “in a few days' time”.
Desmond Tan Kok Ming, 50, formerly chief executive of the PA, also served as a brigadier-general with the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), where he spent 28 years.
During his time with the SAF, Mr Tan organised several National Day Parades, was deployed to Afghanistan and was involved in coordinating the SAF’s contribution to disaster operations in the Philippines, Nepal and Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
Married with three children aged 22, 19 and nine, Mr Tan holds a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from the Victoria University of Manchester and a Nanyang Fellows MBA from the Nanyang Technological University.
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, recently highlighted Mr Tan in his Facebook posts on grassroots matters in the constituency.
Touching on his childhood growing up with hand-me-down books in a Bukit Ho Swee flat, Mr Tan said the kindness and generosity of his neighbours “never left” him, and he hopes to contribute towards preserving social mobility.
“As a chief executive (of PA) we look at planning, we look at bringing programmes and support to the residents. But being a Member of Parliament, you’re actually the voice of the people, you speak up for them,” he said.
“I want to speak up for our youth, our children, especially those from the disadvantaged families, to allow them to be able to have the same opportunities (I had) growing up in Singapore.”
When asked about speculation that he was being earmarked for a Cabinet position, Mr Tan said he did not want to get ahead of himself, and that the prospective candidates did not take for granted that they would be elected.
His focus now is on being elected and any future developments would depend on "how things pan out", he added.
Edward Chia, 36, is the co-founder and managing director of Timbre Group, and hopes to be an “effective voice” for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Parliament.
He co-founded Timbre at 21, then a restaurant and bar, while pursuing his undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore. He later graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in economics and political science.
“COVID-19 has done a big blow to many SMEs and entrepreneurs, and Timbre is no exception. So you may then ask why am I not hunkering down in my business, and instead standing to be a Member of Parliament?” said Mr Chia.
“I've always believed that for individuals and businesses to succeed, society must first be successful. For a Singapore company like us to do well, Singapore must first be well.”
Noting that SMEs have faced many challenges including high rentals, insufficient manpower and digital disruption, he said: “I go through this on a daily basis, I can truly empathise with SMEs.”
Mr Chia is currently a council member of Ngee Ann Polytechnic and National Youth Achievement Award Council. He was also the co-chair of the Youth Action Plan.
He has been tipped to be fielded in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, where he has been seen with MP Liang Eng Hwa.
Speaking to the media, Mr Chia said he intends to champion mental health issues if elected.
"Specifically, I would like to upskill many of us in the community to be able to be effective first responders, to be good caregivers," he said, adding he would also like to promote policies for more inclusive work environments.
NADIA AHMAD SAMDIN
Lawyer Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, is an associate director at TSMP Law Corporation.
Ms Nadia, who was previously a current affairs producer with CNA, also serves as a panel adviser at the Youth Courts, and as a befriender to young women in reformative training.
She is also active in grassroots in the Cheng San-Seletar ward of Ang Mo Kio GRC. Her community work includes having served as a council member for both the National Youth Council and the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board.
Noting that the economic and social challenges caused by COVID-19 are “really unprecedented”, Ms Nadia said: “What is also really important is how we react to this rate of change, mentally, and emotionally. But I'm confident in my generation, and I hope to be a voice for my generation.
“We value sustainability, and not just sustainability in the traditional sense, but also thinking about sustainable economic growth, that is, equitable, first and foremost, while preserving the environment and upholding the values of Singapore. I hope to be given the opportunity to represent these voices and both of the young and old.”
IVAN LIM SHAW CHUAN
Keppel Offshore and Marine general manager Ivan Lim Shaw Chuan, 42, is married with four children.
He joined Keppel Shipyard after finishing his GCE O-Levels, and was awarded a scholarship by the company to pursue a diploma in marine engineering at Singapore Polytechnic. He went on to pursue a degree in marine engineering at Newcastle University.
Mr Lim has been volunteering at the Henderson-Dawson ward in Tanjong Pagar GRC over the past year – a "natural fit" for him as he grew up in the area, he said.
“I chose to serve with PAP because the PAP values and attributes are close to my heart. In particular, being compassionate, and also being self-reliant on the ground. I'm concerned about elderly residents and children who require social assistance, especially those with special needs,” he said.