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PAP introduces new face in Chua Chu Kang
THE People's Action Party (PAP) unveiled a host of lineups on Sunday, including a new face for Chua Chu Kang Group Representation Constituency (GRC), which will be fronted by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Zaqy Mohamad, Low Yen Ling and new candidate Yee Chia Hsing, who takes over from Alvin Yeo.
Meanwhile, West Coast GRC will be co-anchored by Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang, and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S Iswaran. The team also comprises Foo Mee Har and Patrick Tay. Mr Tay, assistant secretary-general of NTUC, was previously an MP with Nee Soon. He replaces Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who will be leaving to co-anchor the PAP team in the newly-formed Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC. Over at Pioneer, MP Cedric Foo will remain to defend the single-member constituency (SMC).
Speaking at the unveiling of the PAP team for Chua Chu Kang GRC on Sunday morning, Mr Yee, who is currently head of Catalist at CIMB Bank Singapore, described joining the GRC as a "homecoming" given that he grew up in Jurong West and his parents and sister still live in the area. He added that, being an employee in the private sector, he hopes to bring a different perspective to the decision-making process at the national level.
The big macroeconomic numbers do not capture the experience of the man in the street - whether SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) bosses, stallholders in the wet market or taxi drivers - said Mr Yee.
"I'm receiving a lot of feedback from SME bosses that they feel the economy is slowing down . . . so, because I interact with different groups of people - and also my background is different - when I talk to civil servants, I will have a different view," he said.
While there are no specific issues he will be campaigning on, he added that he hopes to encourage more people to take up volunteering. "Not only at grassroots but at other voluntary welfare organisations as well. We already have a programme in Nanyang which encourages young people to come forward to volunteer, so I hope to build on this platform."
Looking ahead at the next five years, Mr Gan said his team hopes to make Chua Chu Kang a "connected community". He outlined three ways this would be done: physically by improving access to public transport, building more covered linkways, and building infrastructure for cyclists; by connecting the community through the provision of community spaces for activities, and the upgrading and building of community facilities like community clubs; and improvement of "heartware" through the creation of programmes for inter-generational bonding.
Separately, Mr Yeo, a two-term MP, quipped that he would probably have to go back to his day job as a lawyer, but added that he would be back to visit and stay in touch with Chua Chu Kang GRC residents. Mr Yeo is senior counsel at WongPartnershp.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Mr Yeo said: "Personally, I reached a point where I felt I'd done what I set out to do. Also, at the same time, I do feel the party needs to renew its membership from time to time. You can't have a situation where too many MPs step down (at the same time).
"I've had discussions with the leadership from time to time but I suppose it was over the last month or so, when the party needed to finalise its slate of candidates, that my decision was finalised as well."