The People’s Action Party (PAP) unveiled on Saturday morning Cheng Li Hui and Desmond Choo as the two new candidates in its Tampines GRC team which will contest the upcoming elections.
The duo will join the five-member team led by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. The other two incumbents are Baey Yam Keng and Masagos Zulkifli.
They will fill the void left behind by veteran MPs Irene Ng and Mah Bow Tan, who both announced their retirement from politics earlier this month.
Cheng, 38, is the only member in the slate without any prior political experience. She is the deputy CEO and executive director at Hai Leck Holdings, which provides e ngineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services to the oil, gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and utilities industries.
On the other hand, Choo was a losing candidate in the 2011 elections, where he contested the Hougang SMC. He ran again in the by-election the following year after Yaw Shin Leong of the Workers' Party (WP) was expelled following an extramarital affair, but lost to WP candidate Png Eng Huat.
The 37-year-old is currently the second advisor to grassroots organisation in Tampines East and Tampines Changkat. Choo is also the director of Youth Development and deputy director of Industrial Relations at National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
Choo, who spoke fluently in both English and Mandarin, stated that he will draw on his experience in Hougang to help the Tampines residents if voted.
“I’ve learnt many valuable lessons over the three and a half years in Hougang; perhaps the most important was to never let the setbacks deter me from serving with passion and continuing to make a difference to residents,” he asserted.
He explained that he will look into ways to help Tampines become an “even more healthy and active” town, whilst also aiming to “empower” the youth and understand their “hopes and aspirations”.
Expecting his first child in October this year, the father-to-be said facilities and policies for young families figure highly on his priorities, and his background in NTUC will enable him to provide employment advice.
Choo also showed his local side when he spoke of a particular Sarawak 'loh mee' at the Tampines round market, when asked by a reporter to share his favourite food.
Meanwhile, Cheng’s agenda is geared towards encouraging “active aging” through various programmes, which she feels will ultimately help to strengthen the community spirit in Tampines.
“Through my interactions, I feel that our seniors would like to continue to be active participants in society and have much to contribute,” she said. “If we can enable society to provide opportunities to our retirees to contribute, this will give them meaning and ultimately benefit everyone.”
The pair were described as “energetic” and “creative” by Heng, who is confident that he has a team that will be united regardless of the opposition they face.
“I believe that we have a team that has the experience and commitment to serve and the background to take Tampines forward and to contribute to Singapore,” he asserted, while also thanking Mah and Ng for their stellar service.
Heng believes that the new Town Hub, scheduled for completion next year, will further help their mission to build a “better sense of home” in Tampines. An exhibition to shed more details on the Hub will be held next week.
“We are very excited by this plan, the initial draft of it,” he said. “We want the entire Tampines town to be a home with warmth, a community with a heart.”
Additional reporting by Alycia Lim.