PSP unveils ex-SAF platoon commander, SIA pilot and party's assistant sec-gen among GE2020 candidates

(Clockwise from top) Terence Soon, Kala Manickam, Leong Mun Wai, Abdul Rahman, Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong, Lim Cher Hong, 42. (PHOTOS: PSP)
(Clockwise from top) Terence Soon, Kala Manickam, Leong Mun Wai, Abdul Rahman, Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong and Lim Cher Hong. (PHOTOS: PSP)

SINGAPORE — The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) on Friday (26 June) introduced its final six of 24 candidates running for the 10 July General Election.

During a digital press conference chaired by PSP’s secretary-general Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the opposition party also shared the full line-up of 24 candidates – including Dr Tan who will contest in the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC) – to be fielded across nine constituencies.

The PSP’s six new candidates include Singapore Airlines pilot Terence Soon, 29; former platoon commander of the women wing in the Singapore Armed Forces’ (SAF) Officer Cadet School Kala Manickam, 52, as well as the party’s assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, 60.

Rounding up the sextet are insurance firm ED Broking Asia’s Asia-Pacific chief marketing officer Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong, 51; consulting engineer at US firm Parsons International Abdul Rahman, 67, and chartered financial consultant and author Lim Cher Hong, 42.

Dr Tan described his candidates as “very ordinary people” who desire to step forward and serve the country. Over the past week, he has presented 17 other candidates.

Of the current line-up going into GE, Dr Tan quipped, “But let me remind you, in politics, change can happen.”

On Wednesday morning, Lee Hsien Yang, the youngest child of Singapore’s first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, announced that he has joined the PSP. Lee’s name was not in the party’s candidate list.

Dr Tan said, “You know, candidates can be switched all around, so you just have just to wait and see. You can speculate – that's fair enough.”

Candidates and their contesting grounds

The party will field 24 candidates across nine constituencies – four GRCs and five Single Member Constituencies (SMCs). They are:

  • Hong Kah North SMC: Gigene Wong

  • Pioneer SMC: Lim Cher Hong

  • Yio Chu Kang SMC: Kayla Low

  • Marymount SMC: Dr Ang Yong Guan

  • Kebun Baru SMC: Kumaran Pillai

  • Nee Soon GRC: Damien Tay, Taufik Supan, Brad Bowyer, Kala Manickam, S. Nalla

  • Chua Chu Kang GRC: Francis Yuen, Dr Tan Meng Wah, Choo Shaun Ming, Abdul Rahman

  • Tanjong Pagar GRC: Michael Chua, Harish Pillay, Wendy Low, Terence Soon, Abas Kasmani

  • West Coast GRC: Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Jeffrey Khoo, Hazel Poa, Leong Mun Wai, Loganathan Nadarajah

Leong Mun Wai

The founder of investment firm Timbre Capital was announced as the party’s assistant secretary-general in January.

The former Public Service Commission scholar had graduated as a top student from Japan’s Hitotsubashi University and previously worked at sovereign wealth fund GIC, Mitsubishi Bank, Salomon Brothers, and Merrill Lynch Hong Kong.

The second-in-command will contest in the five-member West Coast GRC, in a team consisting of Dr Tan and Khoo, alongside with vice-chairman Hazel Poa, 50, and Nadarajah Loganathan, 57.

The current government needs “alternative views and pressure to prevent groupthink”, said Leong.

Terence Soon

The second youngest among the candidates, Soon was running his own business in the private aviation industry.

“Politics is not something I would envision myself doing many, many years ago,” he said. “But as time progressed, politics... (became a calling).”

Soon is looking to campaign for the young generation to be given fair employment opportunities so that they will be able to secure jobs over foreign workers amid the downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This does not only affect my generation. If we don't change certain policies, this will affect even my daughter's generation next time,” he added.

Soon will contest in the five-member Tanjong Pagar GRC, along with lawyer Wendy Low, 43, organising secretary Michael Chua, 55; technologist Harish Pillay, 60 as well as business consultant and senior trainer Abas Kasmani, 67.

Kala Manickam

Kala has three decades of working experience in human resources and learning development, including at the Singapore General Hospital and National Heart Centre, and has been an adult educator for 15 years.

After completing her A-Levels, Kala joined the Singapore Armed Forces for seven years and was among the first batch of women officers integrated in tri-service where she trained side by side with men.

“My elder brother was in the air force, my second brother was in the navy and my third was in the army. I was the fourth. We have a strong passion (and patriotism) for the country,” she added.

Kala said she would like to campaign for administrative duties of teachers to be outsourced and class sizes to be reduced to 15 or 20 students.

She will contest the five-member Nee Soon GRC with IT professional Taufik Supan, 40; customer service manager Damien Tay, 51; media consultant Bradley Bowyer, 53; and treasurer Sri Nallakaruppan, 56.

Abdul Rahman

Abdul started his career with the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1975 and is now working with Parsons International as the consulting engineer specialising in fire and life safety audit and design.

He was also involved in projects like IBM Towers and Marco Polo Hotel.

Abdul suggested that resources from the various ethnic-based self-help groups here – such as Mendaki, Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda) and CDAC – could be pooled together to achieve greater results.

He will contest the four-member Chua Chu Kang GRC alongside former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel Francis Yuen, 70; academic Dr Tan Meng Wah, 57; and the party’s youngest member and National University of Singapore law undergraduate Choo Shaun Ming, 23.

Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong

Khoo described himself as “born and bred in Singapore” and “happily” staying in a Housing Board flat in Singapore.

The married man is the founder of the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) Mentorship Programme and has served as chairperson for various NUSS subcommittees.

“To be frank, politics is not my main interest. My childhood ambition, strange enough, was to be a singer,” quipped Khoo.

“I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Now, this may come across strange, but I don't consider myself a politician. I'm just a normal person like everyone else – the only difference is that I'm stepping forward to be the voice of the common man, the guy in the kopitiam, in Parliament.”

Khoo spoke about the uneven distribution of employment, noting that throughout his career, he has witnessed well-paid senior jobs being given to foreign talent and not locals who are qualified for the same roles.

“It is indeed an irony that our education system is consistently rated as one of the best in the world,” he added.

Khoo will contest in the five-member West Coast GRC.

Lim Cher Hong

Before joining the party, the father of three young boys was a programme coordinator cum trainer for the silver generation office. He also wrote "Framework for Creating a Great Financial Plan" and co-wrote "Transform" together with Canadian-American motivational public speaker Brian Tracy.

“Many of my friends always tell me, ‘Siao ah (Crazy), join opposition party!’ I always tell them we are not an opposition party, we are a proposition party,” he quipped.

Lim said he will propose for more budgetary assistance to be given to young families as well as rental subsidies for couples who are waiting for their build-to-order flats to encourage them to tie the knot early.

Lim will contest in Pioneer SMC.

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