SINGAPORE — The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) unveiled on Monday (29 June) a new General Election (GE) candidate – Xie Yao Quan – for its Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) team.
The 35-year-old will replace Ivan Lim, who stepped down on Saturday amid a controversy involving numerous allegations made against him online. He was formally introduced on Monday by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the PAP’s Bukit Batok East branch office.
Xie is the head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital and has been leading its COVID-19 operations in a major community care facility and other frontline areas.
Prior to his current job, Xie has worked in an investment company, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces. He holds a Master’s degree in Engineering Management from Duke University.
During the session, Xie said one of the things he learnt from spending five years as an active community volunteer is that “there are many things we can do to uplift lives”.
“But at the same time, we need to do this through partnerships... I’ve found, in my experience, that the more partners we can bring on board, the greater the impact that we can make on residents’ lives,” he added.
“We are more effective when we can have residents, volunteers and these partners coming together on the ground and learning from one another,” said Xie.
A self-professed “geek”, he added that he had sought a breadth of experiences throughout his working life and that this has broadened his perspectives.
“Most importantly, the journey has helped me to clarify my purpose. I am at the stage in life where I think this purpose has never been clearer: and that is to serve. To serve Singapore and fellow Singaporeans, be it in the SAF, public healthcare or in the community,” said Xie.
On the causes he would champion if he entered Parliament, Xie said he would pursue the issues of keeping healthcare affordable and of good quality for Singaporeans as the population ages, as well as strengthening the coordination between healthcare and social support.
“I would also like to focus on the lower-income segment of our society and how to uplift them in coordinated ways,” he added.
Tharman said of Xie, “Yao Quan is at least equal to our other candidates. It’s always a really tough decision as to who is in that first line-up... Those who stay on the sidelines initially are not inferior.”
“I’ve always been keen on Yao Quan because he was here, he was leading and he was well-regarded,” he added, noting that Xie has spearheaded a number of community projects. One initiative, which Xie described, was an essential shopping programme with discounted prices for lower-income families.
Party will ‘come back’ to Ivan Lim issues after GE: Tharman
Commenting on the allegations that led to Lim’s withdrawal from the election race, Tharman said the Jurong GRC team was “moving on” and added that the party would “come back” to the issue once the elections were done.
“We will find the best way of dealing with it... We don’t want to have a cloud hanging over Ivan’s head unnecessarily.
“So let’s be fair and thorough about it. We obviously don’t have time now to look into these things thoroughly,” he added, noting that this would not be the first, nor the last time that the party line-up had been changed at the last minute.
Tharman also expressed regret over Lim’s decision to withdraw as he had been well-received on the ground.
“He made a tough decision to prevent the allegations against him from eclipsing the core issues that are facing us in this election... He put the interests of the party and of Singapore ahead of his own,” he said of Lim.
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