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PAP names its candidates for the fights in three single-seat wards

The trio are incumbents in Mountbatten, Hong Kah North and MacPherson

PAP'S YOUNGEST: Ms Tin, who gave birth to her first child two weeks ago, will defend her MacPherson ward as a single-seat candidate this time, instead of as one of the slate of candidates in Marine Parade GRC, like in GE2011.
TWO OTHER SINGLE-SEAT FACES: Ms Khor (left) raked in 70.6 per cent of the votes against her SPP opponent in GE2011 and was the best performer. Mr Lim says he has been working hard on the ground.


THE People's Action Party (PAP) announced on Friday that its serving Members of Parliament in the three single wards of Mountbatten, Hong Kah North and MacPherson will stay on to defend their seats.

Meeting reporters in three press conferences held in their respective constituencies were Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten), Amy Khor (Hong Kah North) and Tin Pei Ling (MacPherson), but Ms Tin's meeting with the media grabbed the most attention.

The 31-year-old first-term MP, who became a first-time mother just two weeks ago, is likely to be in the thick of one of the most-watched battles in the coming general election (GE), where she seems headed for a three-way fight against the opposition Workers' Party (WP) and the National Solidarity Party (NSP).

The NSP had on Wednesday made a surprise U-turn, revealing that it would field a candidate in MacPherson after all, after having said it would bow out of the ward to make way for the WP. The NSP is expected to name Steve Chia, a party central executive committee member and a former Non-Constituency MP as its candidate; the WP has so far been mum on who it would field.

Ms Tin, in her first formal press conference since giving birth on Aug 5 to a son named Ng Kee Hau, was quizzed about the sort of result she hoped to get at the polls.

She replied: "We are not focused on actual or specific numbers. It's really (about) focusing on doing what is right and best for our residents. If the residents are taken care of, we are happiest and if that happens, the votes will follow."

She will fight to keep MacPherson, freshly hived from the Marine Parade Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to become a single-seat ward in the coming polls.

Once again the PAP's youngest candidate, Ms Tin was the subject of much criticism in the last GE of 2011, when her critics panned her for being too young and inexperienced to be an MP.

She admitted that her being mocked for being childish and having little substance had made for a "rocky and painful" introduction to Singapore politics for her. She told reporters: "It was very trying, one of the darkest moments in my life. I'm thankful for my family, friends and team for their unwavering support. At times, I felt some of the accusations were baseless . . . but when I see some of the issues which the residents grapple with, I feel all that pales in comparison."

She said that she wants to use her experience over the last four years to inspire fellow young people to persevere, even when faced with challenges. "If I can quote (American singer) Taylor Swift, it will be to 'shake it off'. Keep calm and carry on."

Over in Mountbatten, it was confirmed that Mr Lim would get his chance to have a second term in the ward. The 52-year-old will probably square off in a rematch of GE2011 with fellow lawyer Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss, who ran then on an NSP ticket and lost to him. This time, she will be contesting under the Singapore People's Party (SPP) banner.

Mr Lim said: "I always welcome competition. The feedback I get is that people have not quite seen her (Mrs Chong-Aruldoss) on the ground.

"I have been here every week, four to five times a week in this constituency. Residents can see how much time we spend on promoting relationships between neighbours and racial harmony."

Meanwhile, the PAP will once again field veteran politician Amy Khor, 57, in its bid to the retain Hong Kah North single seat.

The Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health was the best performer at the last GE, when she scooped up 70.6 per cent of the votes against Sin Kek Tong of the SPP. Dr Khor, the current deputy government whip, will probably face another opponent from the SPP.

"Every election is a new election. It's just like a test. Every test you have to start from zero. Work your way and earn the support of the residents," she said.