GE2020: Tanjong Pagar GRC's Melvin Yong to stand in Radin Mas SMC; two new faces in team

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
The People's Action Party candidates for Tanjong Pagar GRC (L-R): Eric Chua, Chan Chun Sing, Alvin Tan, Joan Pereira and Indranee Rajah. PHOTO: PAP

SINGAPORE – Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC) will see a change in its Members of Parliament (MP) regardless of which party gets voted in.

Incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) MP Chia Shi-Lu is stepping down while Melvin Yong will seek election in Radin Mas Single-Member Constituency (SMC). Radin Mas incumbent MP Sam Tan will also be retiring.

At a virtual press conference on Monday (29 June) morning, the second assistant-general of the ruling PAP Chan Chun Sing also announced that two newly introduced candidates, Alvin Tan Sheng Hui and Eric Chua Swee Leong will run in the upcoming polls at Tanjong Pagar. This means that besides the new faces, the PAP team for Tanjong Pagar GRC for GE2020 will include Chan, Indranee Rajah and Joan Pereira.

Alvin Tan

Tan, 39, is replacing Yong in the Moulmein-Cairnhill division of the GRC. He is Asia Pacific head of public policy and economics at LinkedIn. He was previously head of public policy in South-east Asia for Facebook and represented the company in arguing against Singapore’s anti-fake news law.

Tan had made a written submission for the company in early 2018 to a committee studying online falsehoods, saying it did "not believe that legislation is the best approach to addressing the issue". When asked if he stood by this, Tan would only say, “During the Select Committee hearings in 2018, I also mentioned a very important point, which is the importance of digital literacy and digital literacy is the best inoculation of our population against misinformation and disinformation.”

Eric Chua and Chia Shi-Lu

Chua, a former commander of the 3rd Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) division, will replace Dr Chia, 48, in the Queenstown division. The latter was elected in 2011 as part of the PAP team that contested Tanjong Pagar. He first came to prominence as a last minute replacement for former NTUC youth wing leader Steve Tan, who dropped out of the electoral race amid online allegations of sexual harassment.

In recent days, prospective PAP candidate Ivan Lim has also dropped out following online allegations of his past behaviour. He has been replaced by Xie Yao Quan, 35, head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital

Chia was asked why he was stepping down, given his relative youth, and whether it had anything to do with an incident in April where he drew flak for posting photos of himself socialising and handing out masks to hawkers, during the first phase of Singapore’s partial lockdown when the country had been told to stay home.

The orthopaedic surgeon replied that it was down to the party’s “consistent policy of self renewal”. He added, “After having served 10 years here, putting many things in place, that this baton be passed on to somebody else who is obviously younger, and also very capable, and I say most importantly has a heart for serving the residents.

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