PAP candidate Koh Poh Koon: I don't need sympathy votes

Satish Cheney
·Satish Cheney
PAP candidate Dr Poh Koon at his weekend walkabout at Punggol East. (Yahoo! photo/ Satish Cheney)

The People's Action Party's candidate for the Punggol East by-election, Dr Koh Poh Koon, says the message for his campaign is simple: “This is me. I am me.”
During a walkabout at Rivervale Plaza on Sunday morning, he told reporters slogans are not as important as the ability to connect with residents.
“Choose me because you can connect with me. Choose me because you think I can do something good for you…You can say all sorts of slogans you want, but if residents can’t connect with you and if they don’t trust you, no slogan is going to change their minds,” said Dr Koh.

The colorectal surgeon also rubbished criticism by some that he was trying to milk the story of his humble beginnings at a recent press conference where he was officially introduced as the PAP candidate.
He said it was inevitable that people will think this way but added that it was important for him to share his past so that residents can make an informed choice.
“It’s not about garnering sympathy votes. If residents feel that I am not the best person, please do not give me any sympathy votes. I do not need any sympathy. This is me. I can’t change my past,” said the 40-year-old.

Talking to the breakfast crowd and shaking hands with residents, Dr Koh told reporters that residents have so far given him a warm reception and have also brought up some issues as well.

Bread and butter issues have been raised, while some have also asked for more stools along walkways for the elderly to rest as well as better infrastructure for cyclists in the area.
Rivervale Plaza's delayed upgrading work was also a major concern and Dr Koh assured residents works should be completed by the middle of the year. However, he said renovation work may be stopped during the lead-up to the Lunar New Year to allow shopkeepers to sell their wares.
Dr Koh has said previously that he will continue to serve the residents in the ward even if he loses the by-election. This had prompted some to suggest that residents might be better off voting for an opposition candidate and getting a two-for-one deal.
“You must choose to vote for the person who can do the work for you,” said Dr Koh.

“It’s a fallacy to believe that you can have the best of both worlds – choose a person to make a statement, but hope that the other person who is voted out is going to have all the resources, all the authority to get the work done for you.”

Multi-cornered fight?

When asked if he would receive the support of PAP heavyweights during his walkabouts in the coming days ahead of , Dr Koh said, "As you can see today, I’m the only one walking around. I feel comfortable because my aim has always been to let people to know me. And you don’t need ten people walking behind to let people to know you, because it doesn’t help.”

Dr Koh also refused to be drawn into the possibility of a with over 31,000 votes.

The Singapore Democratic Party recently proposed sending a, a move which has seen little support.
While he called the proposal an “interesting concept”, Dr Koh said, "It’s something that the opposition has to decide if that is the best way to serve their cause.”

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Dr Koh Poh Koon meets residents at Rivervale Plaza. (Yahoo! photo/Satish Cheney)
Dr Koh Poh Koon meets residents at Rivervale Plaza. (Yahoo! photo/Satish Cheney)