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GE2020: Tanjong Pagar GRC sees face-off between PAP and PSP

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing and the PAP team contesting in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

THE People's Action Party (PAP) will be contesting the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) to defend late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's stronghold, Tanjong Pagar group representation constituency (GRC).

The PAP slate comprises Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, 50, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, 57, Joan Pereira, 53, Alvin Tan, 39, and Eric Chua, 41.

Mr Tan, who is LinkedIn's Asia-Pacific head of public policy and economics, is a fresh face for PAP. Joining him too is Mr Chua, a former director of the SGSecure Programme Office.

The PSP is fielding Wendy Low, Harish Pillay, Michael Chua, Abas Kasmani, and Terrence Soon.

Ms Low, 43, currently leads the intellectual property advisory and dispute practice at legal firm Eldan Law. Mr Pillay, 60, is head of community architecture and leadership and chief technology architect at IT firm Red Hat.

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Mr Chua, 55, was among the first few people who joined the party when it was founded in 2019. He is currently organising secretary for PSP. Mr Abas, 67, is a workplace safety senior trainer and Mr Soon, 29, is a Singapore Airlines pilot.

Tanjong Pagar GRC is a PAP stronghold; Mr Lee Kuan Yew held the Tanjong Pagar seat from 1955 when it was a single seat until his death in 2015, by which time it had become a part of Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Speaking to the media, the PAP's Indranee Rajah noted that the party had a chance to object to PSP running due to problems with their paperwork. But she said the team wanted to offer residents of Tanjong Pagar a choice and they wanted a strong mandate to lead. 

The PSP's Michael Chua meanwhile tackled a wide range of questions, especially regarding the news that Lee Hsien Yang, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's estranged brother, was not running as a candidate despite being seen with the team in the morning. 

There had been talk earlier that Mr Lee Hsien Yang would contest Tanjong Pagar GRC. He announced that he had joined PSP at a breakfast meeting in Tiong Bahru Food Centre, which sits in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Mr Chua maintained that the party had been very consistent in stating that Mr Lee Hsien Yang was a member and has become a public front for the party. "He has never mentioned he will be a candidate," said MrChua. 

Mr Lee Hsien Yang was seen with the team on Tuesday morning at a coffeeshop opposite Bendemeer Primary School, but did not enter the nomination centre with them.

The PSP unveiled its manifesto on Monday. In it, the PSP called for, among other things, a reduction in dependence on foreign labour, more support for small businesses hiring local talent, and a stronger safety net for vulnerable groups.

The PAP won 77.7 per cent of the votes in Tanjong Pagar in GE2015 while their opponents, the Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party, had 22.3 per cent of the votes cast. SingFirst was led by former presidential candidate Tan Jee Say.

Mr Tan dissolved his party last week and has applied to rejoin the Singapore Democratic Party.

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