Social issues are focus for four PAP candidates


SOCIAL and community issues were the focus of four candidates introduced by the People's Action Party (PAP) on Thursday, in one of three sessions on its second day of unveiling new candidates.

They are driven by a "mission of service to the community", said PAP vice-chairman Masagos Zulkifli, who introduced the candidates.

The team includes former civil servant Eric Chua Swee Leong, 41, who was previously director of the SGSecure Programme Office and was a Singapore Civil Defence Force scholar. He wishes to work with youths and start a mentorship programme for those from less privileged backgrounds in particular.

Asked why he was choosing to enter politics now, Mr Chua - whose first child was born just last week - said that he had made the decision with the support of his family, as this seemed "the right time" to take on weightier responsibilities.

Youth and education are also the focus for Republic Polytechnic senior lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42, who highlighted education's key role in enabling social mobility.

"I hope to be the voice in Parliament that upholds social mobility," he said. He took a "non-linear path" himself, as a Normal Academic student who went on to Temasek Polytechnic, followed by the National Institute of Education, and later, Nanyang Technological University, where he obtained his degree at the age of 31 and went on to gain a postgraduate doctoral degree in 2017.

Dr Wan Rizal said he was approached at the end of 2016 by Member of Parliament Zainal Sapari - who happened to have been his form teacher in secondary school - to help out at Meet-the-People sessions, after which he became a grassroots leader in Pasir Ris East and Punggol East. He is married with four children.

Social entrepreneur Yeo Wan Ling, 44, who runs online caregiving platform Caregiver Asia, wants to be the "in-community champion for caregiving programmes", through avenues such as training, local support groups, and creating careers in community care.

Coming into politics allows her to bring her experience to a larger platform, not only addressing day-to-day needs but affecting national policies, she said. Prior to Caregiver Asia, she had been with the Economic Development Board for over a decade.

LinkedIn head of public policy and economics (Asia Pacific) Alvin Tan Sheng Hui, 39, wants to use his skills and experience to "help Singaporeans prepare for the future of work". He noted how the need to work remotely amid the Covid-19 outbreak has accelerated the trend of digitalisation.

But he is also passionate about racial and religious harmony, chairing the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens Consultative Committee Inter-Racial & Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC), as well as greening and sustainability.

Caring for the elderly, particularly those who live alone, has been another focus of his volunteer work. He is married with two children.

After two introductory sessions on Wednesday and three on Thursday, the PAP will introduce the rest of its 26 new candidates on Friday.


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