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PAP's final four new faces include social enterprise founder, grassroots leader
THE People's Action Party (PAP) rolled out its final batch of new faces for the General Election on Friday, unveiling four candidates of "diverse" backgrounds but united "in their passion to serve Singapore".
The candidates are Mariam Jaafar, 43, the Singapore managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group; Carrie Tan, 37, founding executive director of charity Daughters of Tomorrow (DOT); Chan Hui Yuh, 44, marketing director at Jingslink Marketing; and Shawn Huang, 37, director for enterprise development at Temasek International.
While they come from different walks of life, these candidates share a "passion to serve Singapore, to not only help fellow Singaporeans overcome challenges today, but take Singapore forward to the next lap and distinguish ourselves from the rest of the competitors", said PAP's second assistant secretary-general Chan Chun Sing during a Zoom press conference.
Ms Chan, who is also PAP's Serangoon branch chairman, helped out in the party's campaign in Aljunied Group Representation Constituency (GRC) during the 2015 General Election, although she did not stand for election then because her two children had been too young.
On Friday, she indicated that she hopes to focus on the elderly and explore issues relating to women, saying: "We have women who, because they have to look after their children, cannot go out to work, so we need to have more childcare facilities and negotiate affordable childcare so women can have the peace of mind to go out and earn a living."
Ms Chan, who has been active in grassroots work since 2000, said the government has to continue to listen to people and find new ways to meet their needs and aspirations. "I look forward to be able to help make the process, the system, friendlier and easier to our citizens and businesses to get help to fulfil their needs, dreams and hopes."
Meanwhile, Boston Consulting Group's Ms Mariam, who has degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Business School, believes education is a great leveller for social mobility – and that a country's best investments are in its people.
Ms Mariam was introduced in March on Facebook by Amrin Main, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health and Member of Parliament (MP) for Sembawang GRC.
Explaining why she is standing for election, Ms Mariam said: "I'm here because I want to give back (to society). I've thought about it and concluded that politics is the unique platform where I can make a difference to the lives of many."
DOT's Ms Tan, who has helped "hundreds" of women secure jobs through her social enterprise, wants to focus on low-income workers and the "sandwich generation" that bears the brunt of caregiving in Singapore's fast-aging society.
On becoming a PAP candidate, Ms Tan, who has been seen walking the ground in Nee Soon GRC, said: "I hope to bring my experience and skills in community building into politics and create a slightly different space where, beyond the efficiency and the task-driveness of solving problems, we can create a space for people's feelings to be valued and acknowledged."
Mr Huang has been active in community work. The former fighter pilot in the Singapore Air Force has been a volunteer in Taman Jurong constituency. He dedicated most of his free time to mentoring children from low-income homes and helped former prison inmates restart their lives.
When Mr Huang was chairman of the Community Arts and Culture Club, he led efforts to promote arts and culture activities. "Art is the bedrock of civilisation," he said.
A high achiever, Mr Huang has topped the aeronautical engineering class in the US Airforce Academy, the first non-American to do so. He repeated the performance at a command preparation course in the Command and Staff College in Indonesia.
If elected, Mr Huang wants to focus on sustainability and inequality issues. "I also believe that everyone deserves a second chance in life and we can create opportunities for people to bounce back on their feet," he said.
Mr Huang believes that digitisation is the greatest leveller of social mobility, and hopes to push for further growth of e-commerce as well as improvements in home-based learning.
For more of our Singapore GE2020 coverage, go to bt.sg/ge2020