GE2015: PAP unveils candidates for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

PAP's Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC team

The People’s Action Party on Saturday unveiled its six-member team who will be contesting in the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC for the coming General Election. 

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, 60, will be leading the team, which includes Senior Parliamentary Secretary Teo Ser Luck, 47, medical doctor Janil Puthucheary, 42, Zainal Sapari, 49, former defence chief Ng Chee Meng, 47, and Temasek director Sun Xueling, 36.

MP Penny Low, 48, is stepping down while MP Gan Thiam Poh has moved to Ang Mo Kio GRC, where his Punggol South ward has been absorbed. 

"We have a team with experience but also new faces with new ideas who can take us further forward," said Teo. 

In the previous 2011 General Election, the PAP team won almost two-thirds of support against the opposition Singapore Democratic Alliance, with 64.8 per cent of the votes.

The SDA has shown interest in contesting in the same area. The party released its manifesto on Friday, in which they said they would like to champion issues such as the population white paper, CPF and retirement, HDB, costs of healthcare, public transport system, employment and education.

New faces - Ng Chee Meng and Sun Xueling

Ng Chee Meng speaking at a PAP press conference during the unveiling of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC candidates. 

Ng is a former defence chief from the Singapore Armed Forces, who retired from his post to enter politics. 

The father of two daughters said he fully endorses PAP's meritocratic system, but would like to see it being practised with a more "inclusive spirit", and one that is "not only about academic qualification".

He also pointed out the similarities between being in the army and in politics. 

"I can understand there's some perception that people salute me, but it's not quite that way in the SAF. We work together, we listen to the ground," he said, highlighting MINDEF's efforts to gather feedback from National Servicemen on their needs. 

Sun Xueling speaking at a press conference during the unveiling of PAP candidates for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. 

Meanwhile, Sun spoke about helping the young families living in the GRC. The working mother, who has a two-year-old daughter, said she understands the challenges of young Singaporean families, and would like to help them in ways such as eldercare and childcare. 

Sun's China-born husband became a Singaporean citizen six years ago. She spoke about how he and other new citizens integrated themselves into Singapore society.

"What's important is that he made an active step to become a Singaporean... what attracted him to Singapore was the values that we have, the dynamism that we have here. For new citizens, the fact that they want to become Singaporeans show that they really love this place," she said. 

Trend of Singapore politicians with military background

DPM Teo Chee Hean speaking at a press conference for PAP's candidate unveiling, for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. 

Ng is among the many other Singapore politicians such as Teo and Social and Family Development Minister, Tan Chuan-Jin, who have military background. 

When asked about the trend of fielding leaders from the military and Home Team, Teo said, "The party draws its candidates from a wide range of backgrounds and the public service is one source where we have good candidates coming to join us. That's because these are people who have shown over a period of time, the capability, the ability, to work with others and care for Singapore."