By-election not about helping political parties: Koh

People’s Action Party’s candidate for Punggol East Dr Koh Poh Koon brushed aside the jabs made by the Workers’ Party against the ruling party in a rally Tuesday night.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday noon during a walkabout in the single-member constituency, Koh tried to put the focus of the by-election on the importance of the individual and local concerns.

“This by-election is about finding the best person to serve the residents needs. It’s not really to better the interest of another political party. We’ve got to be clear what the election is about,” Koh said when asked for comment on calls to support the opposition in Parliament by putting more opposition members there.

Following criticism from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the WP’s record in providing an alternative voice after garnering eight parliamentary seats, WP’s Members of Parliament on Tuesday defended their performance and raised again the issue of the controversial sale of management software by PAP town councils to a company wholly-owned by the ruling party.

Koh declined to comment on the opposition highlighting national issues but emphasised that his focus is on what the residents of Punggol East personally need day-to-day.

“Day-to-day miniscule issues are the ones that plague them the most. My focus is really to serve the residents first as an MP before we take anything national,” he said.

Koh was accompanied in his walkabout by new Parliament Speaker Halimah Yacob, former Minister of State for the Social and Family Development Ministry.

Her joining him on his tour of the constituency reflected the “solidarity of the party”, he said.

Halimah, 58, said that the colorectal surgeon has put in a tremendous amount of effort to connect with the ground.

Whatever issues may arise, she is confident that Koh will “pursue the matters passionately both inside and outside the parliament”.

She also rebutted WP’s criticism that there has been lack of support from the government for the elderly in Singapore.

The first female Speaker of Parliament stressed that the government had put in place many measures to lift the burden of senior citizens during her role as Minister of State for the Ministry Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

Halimah has also just been appointed an advisor to the National Council of Social Service.

Related Stories:
I know what it's like for a family to struggle: PAP's Koh Poh Koon
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