Progress Singapore Party introduces 6 candidates to contest in upcoming GE

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Progress Singapore Party announcing six candidates for the general election in a virtual conference. From left: Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Bradley Bowyer, Gigene Wong, Sri Nallakaruppan, Muhammad Taufik Suppan, Francis Yuen, Hazel Poa and host Craig Teo. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Yahoo News Singapore)
Progress Singapore Party announcing six candidates for the general election in a virtual conference. From left: Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Bradley Bowyer, Gigene Wong, Sri Nallakaruppan, Muhammad Taufik Supan, Francis Yuen, Hazel Poa and host Craig Teo. (PHOTO: Screenshot/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) on Thursday (18 June) confirmed six candidates whom it will be fielding for the upcoming general election (GE), including two formerly from other political parties.

The party introduced the candidates at a Zoom press conference: Francis Yuen Kin Pheng, 70, Gigene Wong, 54, party vice-chairman Hazel Poa, 50, Sri Nallakaruppan, 56, Bradley Bowyer, 53, and Muhammad Taufik Supan, 40.

Among the candidates, three are from the party’s central executive committee: Poa, treasurer Nallakaruppan and committee member Yuen.

Nallakaruppan is an investment specialist in capital markets, with 25 years of experience in this area. He was previously a regional senior accountant with the Schlumberger Group and an auditor with Ernst & Young.

Formerly with the Republic of Singapore Air Force for 18 years, Yuen is currently a board director of two foreign companies.

Poa was formerly the National Solidarity Party’s (NSP) acting secretary-general but resigned in August 2015 after the party decided to contest in the MacPherson single member constituency (SMC) after initially withdrawing from the ward. She did not participate in the GE that year.

Before that, she had contested in Choa Chu Kang group representation constituency (GRC) in the 2011 GE under NSP. She was elected as the party’s secretary-general in June 2011 and again in April 2013.

Poa, a Cambridge University graduate and a PSC Overseas Merit Scholarship recipient, previously worked in the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office. She now runs a children’s education firm.

Responding to a question by the media on why she is running again, Poa said, “After 2011, I see that there were a lot more people joining opposition parties and so I felt that perhaps it’s okay for me to leave the political scene. Then after 2015, there were a lot of developments that disturbed me,” she said, citing the criteria for the presidential election, lawsuits directed at those who spoke up against the establishment, and the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act.

“These are developments that I found really disturbing, and again I felt that necessity to get involved again,” she said.

Bowyer is the other candidate who was previously from another party. He was a former member of the ruling People’s Action Party before joining the Peoples Voice party. The media professional was first spotted attending PSP’s first official walkabout on 29 September last year.

Multi-racial team from all walks of life: Tan Cheng Bock

Commenting on its slate of candidates during the video conference, PSP secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock said the party has selected a “multi-racial” team coming from “all walks of life”

“Some are top executives of MNCs and banks. Others are self-made owners or managers of successful enterprises. We have some scholars with some with outstanding academic qualifications,” he said.

“Also we have some who have not taken the usual academic route. They are a little rougher around the edges, but they made a success of their lives nonetheless and have plenty to be proud of.”

The latest candidate announcement comes on the back of PSP introducing 10 other potential candidates to the public over the past two months. The party stated in March that it planned to contest in 15 constituencies.

PSP’s slate of candidates announced on 18 June

Gigene Wong, 54 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Gigene Wong, 54 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Gigene Wong, 54

Wong, who came from a low-income family, has held senior positions in multi-national companies. At age 17, she took three part-time jobs including giving tuition, and as an illegal hawker, to support herself through her studies. She said, “If you have something worrying you, that you dare not speak up (about), count on us, count on PSP, we will speak up for you.”

Francis Yuen Kin Pheng, 70 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Francis Yuen Kin Pheng, 70 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Francis Yuen Kin Pheng, 70

Yuen is a former military man who later entered the private sector. He said, “We are today a first world country. Yet, the majority of our people do not enjoy first world standard of living... Our country has gone off track with one party monopolising the government for too long. Complacency, arrogance and groupthink have set in. Chasing after economic growth has become more important than looking after the welfare of our people.”

Bradley Bowyer, 53 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Bradley Bowyer, 53 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Bradley Bowyer, 53

Bowyer is a media professional. He said, “I was a little lost after I realised that staying with the establishment was legitimising something that I no longer believed in...it was an establishment that was losing its way, putting private profits above public good, breaking promise after promise. And, in my mind, an establishment that no longer had a heart. And after leaving it was a difficult journey to find a new home. I found that home with PSP.”

Hazel Poa, 50 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Hazel Poa, 50 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Hazel Poa, 50

Formerly a civil servant, Poa now oversees a private institution and several education centres. She said, “I want to contribute to building a stronger opposition over the shorter term, because a stronger opposition will actually also push the ruling party to be stronger, and to be more responsive to the needs of the people, and that will be good for Singapore. Over the longer term, I want to help build an alternative for Singapore to give all Singaporeans a choice to an alternative party and an alternative path.”

Sri Nallakaruppan, 56 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Sri Nallakaruppan, 56 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Sri Nallakaruppan, 56

Nallakaruppan is an investment specialist in capital markets. He was previously a regional senior accountant with the Schlumberger Group and an auditor with Ernst & Young.

Commenting on the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on the use of face masks, Nallakaruppan said, “I think as a government we need to be honest to the people, and tell them frankly, and people will understand....so here I am willing to offer myself to Singaporeans, to work to the best of my ability to uplift the lives of my fellow Singaporeans.”

Muhammad Taufik Supan, 40 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)
Muhammad Taufik Supan, 40 (PHOTO: Progress Singapore Party)

Muhammad Taufik Supan, 40

Taufik is an IT professional and seeks to champion the causes of the less fortunate in Singapore. Taufik has an autistic son and was previously retrenched.

He said, “We have an education system which we claim to be one of the best in the world, but yet we claim Singaporeans do not have enough talents. The income gap between social classes is becoming wider. And sadly, on the ground, more Singaporeans are losing their jobs. I will be here to serve the people and not just the economy.”

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