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GE2020: PSP not taking for granted support in West Coast GRC, says Tan Cheng Bock

His walkabout sessions have seen him travel across the Singapore to lend support to candidates from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) but party chief Tan Cheng Bock said he was not taking anything for granted in West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

GE2020: PSP not taking for granted support in West Coast GRC, says Tan Cheng Bock

The Progress Singapore Party's secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock speaking to the media during a walkabout at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: Dr Tan Cheng Bock has travelled across Singapore to lend support to all candidates from his Progress Singapore Party (PSP), but he said he is not taking anything for granted in West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC). 

Speaking to reporters after a walkabout session on Friday (Jul 3) at ABC Brickworks market in Bukit Merah, Dr Tan said his party would have to earn its votes.

“We never take (support in West Coast) for granted,” said Dr Tan, PSP's secretary general. “I always tell them that wherever you go the most important thing is to earn your votes. Never expect the votes to come.”

The PSP team led by Dr Tan is contesting West Coast GRC against the People’s Action Party (PAP).

Dr Tan is part of a five-member PSP slate together with Mr Jeffrey Khoo, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Leong Mun Wai and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan.

The Progress Singapore Party's secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock speaking to the media with the team from Tanjong Pagar GRC during a walkabout at ABC Brickworks Market & Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

They will be up against a PAP team led by incumbents S Iswaran, Foo Mee Har, along with Desmond Lee, Ang Wei Neng and new face Ms Rachel Ong.

Dr Tan was the MP for Ayer Rajah for 26 years, when he was with the PAP. The ward is now part of West Coast GRC

“I’m the leader so I must support all my candidates,” said Dr Tan. “I’m trying to evade you guys so you all cannot catch me. So I’m all over the place - that’s where I should be. I want to make sure my candidates have my support. We are a family, we always go together.”

The Progress Singapore Party's secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock greeting a resident during a walkabout at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Dr Tan added that he and his team at West Coast had also been “going around” at night for outreach efforts.

“We’ve been going around, you all don’t see us," he quipped.

During his visit to ABC Brickworks Market on Friday afternoon, Dr Tan was accompanied by party member Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, as well as the PSP’s candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC. They are organising secretary Michael Chua, IT executive Harish Pillay, lawyer Wendy Low, pilot Terence Soon and workplace safety senior trainer Abas Kasmani.

Also present was PSP’s candidate for Kebun Baru SMC Kumaran Pillai.

The Progress Singapore Party's secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock greeting a resident during a walkabout at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Dr Tan said he does not believe that his presence, along with that of Mr Lee’s, would eclipse his candidates.

“We just want to add our presence. If it’s of help to my candidates, I would like to go anywhere to give my candidates a boost ... If I can add value to all my candidates here, I’ll be very happy,” Dr Tan said.

“Even if I don’t come here, I think they can stand on their own ... it’s not necessarily (the case) that we are coming here so our candidates are weak.”

READ: GE2020: PSP's Tan Cheng Bock tells PAP not to 'frighten Singaporeans' by saying opposition will form government

Dr Tan noted that if voted into Parliament, his party would question policies and search for “proper answers”.

“Any of us who wants to go to Parliament must have that responsibility to represent the people who voted us in,” he said. “That responsibility involves the questioning of policies and looking for proper answers.

“And also to bring into the House views that may not have been considered by the Government, but we can bring all these inputs into the House.”

PSP TOUTS DIVERSITY OF CANDIDATES

Members of the PSP team were also keen to stress their diversity, something which they felt their PAP opponents do not possess.

Progress Singapore Party candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC greeting residents during a walkabout alongside secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

Describing the PSP’s candidates as “3D politicians”, Mr Chua said the party’s candidates had “bared their soul” so that votes would get to know them intimately.

“Among all of us here, we have bared our soul to reveal another side of us so that voters are not voting for a 2D cutout,” he said.

READ: GE2020: Put PSP in Parliament to stop PAP from having a two-thirds majority, says Tan Cheng Bock

Tanjong Pagar candidate Wendy Low added that it was a particular “script and mould” that has resulted in the same quality of PAP candidates over the years.

“You can have very impressive CVs no doubt but it's a particular script and mould that's resulting in the same type of quality time and again for every election. Is that a repeat of what every Singaporean wants?”

Ms Low also noted that there was a difference between the diversity of candidates’ CVs and the diversity of their thinking.

Progress Singapore Party candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC greeting residents during a walkabout with secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre at Jalan Bukit Merah on Jul 3, 2020. (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

“Diversity as reflected on the CV is quite different from diversity in thought and criticism of policies,” said Ms Low.

Two mechanisms actually “limit” this for the incumbent, she added - pointing to the PAP’s pre-selection process and the presence of the party whip in Parliament.

Ms Low noted that the selection process could lead to “collective group-think” regardless of a party candidate’s background.

READ: GE2020: Tan Cheng Bock will not take up NCMP seat, calls scheme a 'ploy' to entice voters from opposition

“There is a collective group-think and the kind of policies that will result from this group-think is the same, regardless of what candidate they put forward as a group,” said Ms Low.

“You can be the most innovative technologist and you have all these astounding ideas, (but) there may limitations set within the party mechanism which may limit how you can actually bring that forward. I think It’s important to draw that distinction.”

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Source: CNA/ec(gs)

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