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GE2020: Surprise departure of Heng Swee Keat in Tampines GRC
THE defending team from the People’s Action Party (PAP) in the five-member Tampines GRC will be facing off against National Solidarity Party (NSP) without the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Instead, the PAP team in Tampines will be anchored by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli, with incumbent members Desmond Choo, Baey Yam Keng, and Cheng Li Hui. The fifth member is Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who was formerly from Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Mr Heng will be leading a five-man PAP team into the battle for East Coast GRC, which is being contested for the fourth time in electoral history. Former anchor minister Lim Swee Say will be retiring from politics.
Mr Masagos, who will helm the PAP team for Tampines, entered politics in 2006, when he was one of the five Members of Parliament elected for Tampines GRC. Prior to that, he was CEO of Singtel Global Offices.
Trained in electrical engineering, Mr Masagos has a first class honours degree and a Master of Science from the National University of Singapore. He also graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California, following a postgraduate scholarship awarded by Singtel.
Mr Masagos said the Covid-19 pandemic has been a very testing period for Singaporeans.
Similarly, when Mr Heng fell ill it was a challenging time. "When Mr Heng became unwell, it was also a test for the team to come together and know that working as a team, we can overcome it. It was also when our Tampines Hub was just being completed. On top of us helping out the grassroot leaders in the activities in Mr Heng's constituency, we also had to deliver Tampines Hub so that what residents dreamt of would come true.
"That crisis tested the four of us. It has gone beyond to support Mr Heng, even after he got well. We are glad DPM (Heng) recovered and is back more energetic. In the process, we became a stronger team (which enabled) us to help him as he took on a bigger role as DPM," Mr Masagos said.
He added: "The advantage of being a DPM is that he takes care of the whole Singapore. (Mr Heng) may have left Tampines as a MP, but he has not left Singapore and remains concerned about everyone of us. He remains accessible."
There are about 151,000 eligible voters in Tampines GRC. PAP won the constituency with 72 per cent votes in 2015.
The NSP team consists of Fong Chin Leong, Mohd Ridzwan bin Mohammad, Yeo Ren-Yuen, Choong Hon Heng and Vincent Ng Kian Guan.
For Nomination Day developments and more on Singapore GE2020, go to bt.sg/ge2020