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Singapore GE2020: 101 overseas Singaporeans won't get to vote due to glitch in ICA system

SINGAPORE – Some overseas Singaporeans will not get to vote in the general election as a result of a glitch in the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) system.

On Saturday (July 4), the ICA apologised to the 101 affected Singaporeans and promised to improve the robustness of its systems.

In a joint statement with the Elections Department (ELD), the authority said it was informed by ELD that the applications of some overseas Singaporeans to register their local contact addresses for voting purposes were not processed.

Singaporeans who have changed their NRIC address to an overseas address have to provide a local contact address if they wish to vote in an election. This is so that the ELD can allot the voter to an electoral division to vote in.

After it was informed by the ELD, the ICA uncovered a glitch in its system, which led to a failure to generate hard copy letters to be sent to the owners of the local contact address. These letters would otherwise have been sent by registered mail to the owners, to confirm that they agree to the use of the address by the overseas Singaporean.

As a result, the ELD would not have received a confirmed local contact address for these Singaporeans and did not include their names in the Registers of Electors.

On March 13, the ELD had announced that the Registers were opened for inspection by Singaporeans, including overseas Singaporeans, from March 14 to March 27. A total of 168 Singaporeans who submitted claims to be included in the Registers were added, making for a total of 2,653,942 registered voters.

But the 101 overseas Singaporeans did not submit claims to be included in the Registers.

Under the Parliamentary Elections Act, no further names can be included in the Registers for the current elections after the Registers have been certified. As the Registers were certified on April 15, these 101 individuals will not be able to vote in the July 10 polls.

The ICA said it is reaching out to the affected Singaporeans. Those who wish to seek further clarifications can e-mail ICA at [email protected]

According to ELD, there are 6,570 overseas voters in the general election.

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Singapore GE2020: Time to move on from 10m population dispute says SDP, accuses PAP of 'desperation'

SINGAPORE – Singapore Democratic Party leaders Paul Tambyah and Chee Soon Juan said it was time for the election campaign to move on from the 10 million population dispute – but not before accusing the PAP of “desperation” and asserting again that their party had come out on top.

Party chairman Paul Tambyah, speaking on Saturday (July 4) during a walkabout in Bukit Panjang, which he is contesting, also praised his election rival, the People’s Action Party’s Liang Eng Hwa, for declining to comment on the population saga when asked by reporters.

“That is exactly the way it should be. This is what we want this campaign to be fought on. We don’t want it to be fought on personal attacks, on events which occurred one year ago… We want to talk about the issues,” he said.

“We want to have a fair campaign, have people look at the different visions for how we want to see Singapore in a post-Covid era.”

Prof Tambyah’s call to move on came after he reiterated that the SDP extracted a promise from the Government that it was not aiming for a 10 million population target for Singapore.

The PAP and its leaders have repeatedly said there have never been such plans, and accused the SDP and Dr Chee, its secretary general, of attempting to mislead Singaporeans.

On Saturday, Dr Chee said the PAP was “beating a dead horse” by having continued to raise the issue. He told reporters at a coffee shop in Bukit Batok after a walkabout: “We said what we wanted to say. Job done, mission accomplished.

“Now we are asking voters to get us into Parliament to make sure that the PAP, what it says before the election, it continues to hold on to it after the election.”

One of the SDP’s key planks in the election was a call to voters to say “no” to what the party said was the PAP’s plan to increase Singapore’s population to 10 million.

The SDP maintains that the 10 million figure was from a Straits Times report on remarks by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat at a dialogue with Nanyang Technological University students in March last year.

The March 29, 2019 article on the dialogue, which included a question on population density, reported that Mr Heng said Singapore’s population density is not excessive, and noted that other cities are a lot more crowded in terms of liveable space.

The article also said Mr Heng cited former chief planner Liu Thai Ker, who said in 2014 that Singapore should plan for 10 million people for it to remain sustainable in the long term.

Mr Heng had cited Mr Liu in his response to a question on the Government’s 2013 Population White Paper. However, he had stressed that the number goes beyond how densely populated Singapore would be. The social space is as important, he said, adding that openness and understanding is important.

But Mr Heng did not say Singapore should plan for 10 million people – nor did he mention the figure.

Dr Chee cited the report in a televised debate on Wednesday night, claiming that Mr Heng had toyed with the idea of raising the population to 10 million – a charge refuted several times by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan of the PAP, who also took part in the debate.

Dr Balakrishnan told Dr Chee at the debate that the 10 million figure was a “strawman” and a “falsehood”, adding: “Let me state for the record: We will never have 10 million. We won’t even have 6.9 million. The Government doesn’t have a target for the population.

“What we want is a Singapore core that is demographically stable, able to reproduce ourselves, able to create opportunities and jobs for ourselves and able to stay as a cohesive whole. It is not a target, and it’s certainly not 10 million.”

On Friday, the PAP released a statement, saying it was “disappointed that Dr Chee and the SDP have dug their heels in, repeated their falsehoods and refused to apologise to Singaporeans for misleading them”.

In that same statement, the party also criticised Prof Tambyah, saying: “We are disappointed and surprised Dr Paul Tambyah, the SDP’s chairman, has joined his chief in this charade. We thought he was a better man.”

On Saturday, Prof Tambyah described the PAP’s comments as being “a sign of desperation”, and said it showed that the ruling party had “run out of ideas”.

“So, they’ve resorted to the old PAP tactics of just politics of personal destruction.”

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Singapore GE2020: PAP unveils plans for healthcare services, infrastructure improvements in West Coast

SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party unveiled plans on July 3 to improve West Coast GRC over the next five years.

During a walkabout on Friday (July 3), Mr Ang Wei Neng, one of the five PAP candidates for the GRC, announced his plans for Nanyang in Jurong West, including providing healthcare services and infrastructure improvements.

The plans include a free medical tele-consulting service for 1,000 lower-income Nanyang residents, and a medical escort service for vulnerable elderly living alone, said Mr Ang, who is expected to serve in the Nanyang ward if elected.

The one-year tele-consulting scheme is meant for residents with blue or orange Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) cards. Those who need medicine can also have it delivered to their homes for free. Registration for the scheme closes on July 31.

Speaking to reporters at Jurong West Street 91, the 53-year-old candidate, said that the scheme was not cheap, but if it proved popular, there were plans to get more donors to expand the scheme to the rest of West Coast GRC.

His running mates in West Coast GRC are Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, two-term MP Foo Mee Har and new face Rachel Ong.

In terms of infrastructure, Mr Ang, who is chief executive of ComfortDelGro Taxi, said residents have told him that the area was a bit dated. He said he was confident of getting resources to spruce up the area if he was elected, adding that covered walkways were a popular request.

Friday’s plans for Nanyang comes days after the PAP team contesting West Coast GRC released its manifesto for the GRC, which highlighted upcoming infrastructure projects such as MRT stations, covered linkways, cycling paths, and Silver Zones to make roads safer for the elderly.

There are more than 2,000 Housing Board homes in three upcoming precincts – West Coast Link, Boon Lay Glade, and Jurong West Jewel – as well as more than 150 upcoming community improvement projects, such as fitness corners, playgrounds, and community gardens.

Asked about his ground efforts, Mr Ang, who moved from the adjacent Jurong GRC, said he has been trying to visit as many blocks as possible since the second phase of Singapore’s reopening from the circuit breaker started about two weeks ago.

The same goes for Mr Desmond Lee, who also moved from Jurong GRC and has been covering about 10 blocks a day, he added.

Asked what he thought about the closely watched contest in West Coast against the Progress Singapore Party’s Tan Cheng Bock, Mr Ang said his focus is on programmes and infrastructure that can benefit residents.

“So the emphasis is how to help residents, help them voice their concerns, and they will decide.”

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Singapore GE2020: Pick leaders who can unify country in unusual times

I remember the first time I voted – I was 22, excited and had followed all the rallies and speeches.

The voting centre was just across the road from home, and early in the morning on Polling Day, I got in line to have my identity card checked, shuffled into a classroom and, in a voting booth, marked a cross on my ballot paper. It was over in maybe 15 minutes, and I remember leaving the school thinking how something so important could feel so anticlimactic.

That was in 2011, and unbeknownst to me at that time, I was one of the two million voters who played their part in a watershed election in Singapore’s political history. In the election that year, the Workers’ Party (WP), led by Mr Low Thia Khiang, bested the People’s Action Party (PAP) in Aljunied GRC, marking the birth of a more confident opposition in Singapore.

I gained a new appreciation for politics and the power of the vote after that – and I raise this now because General Election 2020 is looking like it could also be a potential watershed.

The PAP has cast the coming polls as a “crisis election”, with its secretary-general and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saying the stakes are high. “Sometimes, like now, we have an election during a crisis. These are elections that focus everyone’s mind and they can also change the course of history,” he said on Tuesday as campaigning kicked off.

On the other hand, the WP stressed the importance of checks and balances in Parliament, warning that the presence of elected opposition members could be wiped out if voters flock to safety in the PAP.

What do voters think?

For most people of my generation, growing up, all we have known is a Singapore that has been exceptional.

It is a point that has been drummed into us since we were children. Our country, we are told, has the world’s best airport and airline, an efficient civil service, clean and safe public housing, the best food (don’t fight me on this), and in each of our hands, we hold a passport that opens doors to countries around the world and reminds us just how exceptional ours is.

But the pandemic has changed everything and forced a once-confident generation to take an introspective look at our country. That eight-week circuit breaker in April and May felt a bit like living in a dystopia. The streets were emptied, office lights were snuffed out and coffee shops, once alive with chatter and the tinkle of metal spoons on glass, went quiet.

Those more fortunate among us worked jobs that could be done from home, while others did deliveries or signed up to serve on the front lines to try and make ends meet. It raised questions about whether society valued enough those among us who perform essential work – cleaners, nurses, bus drivers, deliverymen and others – whose toil it had until now taken for granted.

The pandemic exposed inequalities in society, showed how the poor had less resources to cope in times of crisis, and made us wonder whether we could build a more equitable, fairer society.


The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the rifts and fractures in Singapore society and it is pressing now for Singapore to pick leaders who can unify, not divide, says ST China correspondent Danson Cheong. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong greeting a patron at a coffee shop with a fist bump during a walkabout yesterday in Ang Mo Kio GRC, where he is leading the People’s Action Party team contesting in the constituency. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO 

NAVIGATING UNCERTAIN FUTURE

This circuit breaker has been a disorienting experience, and as the country comes back to life again, it is at this precise moment that Singaporeans are going to the polls, to choose leaders who can help Singapore navigate an uncertain future. Globally, there has been a flight to leadership, with people looking to their leaders for answers.

STRAITS TIMES CHINA CORRESPONDENT DANSON CHEONG

And now, with the country set to face its worst recession since independence and job losses looming – the economy is projected to contract by between 4 per cent and 7 per cent – more existential questions are being asked.

Will we be able to keep our jobs? Will we be able to afford homes and support and raise our families? Will our children also grow up knowing an exceptional Singapore? Speaking to Singaporeans, and not just young ones, in the run-up to the general election, these are the questions that they want answered.

I can hear it in the concern of the 23-year-old university graduate, who has sent out 20 job applications and has not received a single offer.

You feel it in the frustration of the 53-year-old business owner, who wonders when business will recover so he can support his family.

And also sense it in the worry of the 31-year-old civil servant, who wonders what this tiny island will look like for his children, who face all these global challenges – climate change, technological disruption, geopolitical tensions.

This circuit breaker has been a disorienting experience, and as the country comes back to life again, it is at this precise moment that Singaporeans are going to the polls, to choose leaders who can help Singapore navigate an uncertain future. Globally, there has been a flight to leadership, with people looking to their leaders for answers.

The PAP Government has done its best to steady the ship, rolling out programmes to subsidise wages and keep people in jobs. It has promised to create some 100,000 job opportunities to address unemployment, and asked Singaporeans to give the party a strong mandate so it can take the country into the post-Covid-19 future.

On the other hand, opposition parties like the WP have also set out their vision of what Singapore should be. These promises will be scrutinised in the days ahead as parties pick up the pace on the hustings, but one thing is clear – an exceptional Singapore needs exceptional leaders.

Covid-19 has highlighted the rifts and fractures in our society and it seems to me that it is pressing now for Singapore to pick leaders who can unify, not divide. Whether from the PAP or opposition, an exceptional Singapore needs leaders who represent the best in them.

Danson Cheong is ST’s China correspondent currently in Singapore to cover the 2020 General Election.

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Delayed BTO projects to get priority; lift upgrading debate heats up as election issue in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

SINGAPORE – Build-to-Order (BTO) projects that have been delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak will get priority for completion once construction resumes, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad said on Thursday (July 2).

The Housing Board said in late May that some projects could be delayed by up to six months, although it plans to launch about 7,800 BTO flats in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Choa Chu Kang, Geylang, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Tengah and Woodlands in August.

Mr Zaqy, who is in the four-member Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC team anchored by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, said during a walkabout at Woodlands MRT station: “The whole construction sector needs time to restart and we are doing our best and utmost to prioritise projects that will need support, so HDB flats are one of those.

“We know many young couples will be looking forward to the upcoming launches and rest assured, the MND will do its utmost to support this and to see how best that we don’t delay our projects any further.”

He also promised to look into a lift upgrading issue raised by residents of two blocks in the GRC, as the opposing Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) ramped up its criticism of the problem.

The SDP said earlier this year that the lack of lift access on every floor at Block 115 and 119 in Marsiling Rise had inconvenienced residents. It started an online petition on the issue that has garnered about 500 signatures.

It also posted a video interview with two affected residents on Thursday talking about the challenges they faced.

Mr Zaqy reiterated a previous point raised by the ministry that almost all flats now have lift access on every floor, except some 150 blocks across Singapore, as it is not possible for the HDB to install new lifts.

The MND said in 2018 that about 70 per cent of these 150 blocks are not eligible for its lift upgrading programme “due to cost considerations”.

Mr Zaqy said: “You also want to be fair to residents and taxpayers on how taxpayer dollars are being used to do upgrading.

“But certainly over time, with different ways in which lifts can be upgraded or used, we can review the different types of cost structures to see which flats are now eligible… I just want to assure residents we will look into it and I will take it up.”

Mr Bryan Lim, who helms the SDP’s Marsiling-Yew Tee team, said incumbent MP Ong Teng Koon had made similar comments previously.

Mr Lim told the media during the SDP’s walkabout in Marsiling Road on Thursday morning: “Many people say it is a minor issue, but you actually go to the ground and you see the elderly, the handicapped, they are suffering because they don’t have lift access at every floor.

“It pains me, it really pains me.”

The upcoming election will be the second time the PAP and SDP are facing off in the constituency.

In 2015, the SDP team featuring Mr Lim and three other members was defeated by the PAP team led by Mr Wong and Madam Halimah Yacob, who has since become President. The SDP attracted 31.27 per cent of the vote.

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Singapore GE2020: What are the election rallies to catch online today?

SINGAPORE – No physical rallies are allowed with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but the battle for Singaporeans’ votes continues online.

Political parties have started their e-rallies. Here’s a summary of the key ones lined up each day.

Follow our full coverage of GE2020. 

Tuesday, June 30

8.45pm: SDP held its first online rally just hours after nominations closed on Tuesday (June 30). Party chief Chee Soon Juan did a broadcast of the SDP’s GE2020 campaign “4 Yeses and 1 No” on its Facebook page, complete with a slide deck and audio effects. The live stream lasted about 20 minutes.

In his speech, titled PAP Bankrupt Of Ideas, Dr Chee laid out the party’s ideas, including suspending the goods and services tax until the end of next year and paying retrenched workers 50 per cent of their last drawn salary for 18 months. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 1

7pm: The Workers’ Party’s (WP) Hammer Show will be broadcast live on Facebook. Watch it here.

8pm: PAP, WP, Singapore Democratic Party and Progress Singapore Party members will take part in a television debate. Watch it here.

8.30pm: PAP’s East Coast team, led by first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat, goes on Facebook to discuss its plans for the constituency. Watch it here.

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Singapore GE2020: WP's East Coast team expects 'a good fight' against PAP team led by Heng Swee Keat

SINGAPORE – The Workers’ Party (WP) team contesting East Coast GRC expects a good fight against its People’s Action Party (PAP) rivals led by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, calling his inclusion in the PAP line-up a pleasant surprise.

Mr Kenneth Foo, who is part of the WP’s East Coast team, told reporters on Wednesday (July 1): “We were pleasantly surprised that Mr Heng actually made the move from Tampines GRC to East Coast GRC… He has been on national television, everyone knows he is the DPM, and we think that it will be a good fight.”

But the WP team will stay focused on its plan to work with and reach out to more residents in the area, said Mr Foo, 43, who ran in Nee Soon GRC in 2015, where his team lost to a PAP team led by Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.

He said: “For the past five years, we have been ploughing the ground. We have worked with and (tried to) understand the residents, set up new programmes to help the residents.”

He added: “Although we are a new team here, the work has been consistently done.”

This marks the fourth time the WP is fielding a team in East Coast GRC. At the 2015 GE, it lost to a PAP team anchored by then Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, with 39.3 per cent of the votes against PAP’s 60.7 per cent.

Mr Foo and his four WP teammates are all running in the constituency for the first time. His team members are Mr Dylan Ng, 44, who works in finance; Mr Terence Tan, 49, a lawyer; Mr Shariff Kassim, 54, a former researcher; and Ms Nicole Seah, 33, an associate director in a multinational marketing firm.

They go up against a PAP team comprising Mr Heng, 59, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, 54; three-term backbencher Jessica Tan, 54; one-term Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan, 44, whose single seat is now part of the GRC; and new face Tan Kiat How, 43, the former Infocomm Media Development Authority chief executive.

The opposition team, along with WP chief Pritam Singh, were speaking to reporters at a market at 58 New Upper Changi Road. They had earlier gone on a walkabout at the Block 85 Market and Food Centre in Bedok.

Mr Singh had said in an earlier interview, after nomination proceedings on Tuesday, that he has full confidence in the team.

Reiterating his point on Wednesday, Mr Singh said: “We see (the addition of Mr Heng) as a strong challenge, but it also says something about the PAP’s assessment of the Workers’ Party team in East Coast. I think they see the slate as a very strong one, and they know they will have to fight hard for every vote, as is what the PAP always does in every election.

“I think the East Coast team and their group of volunteers have been constantly working the ground to the best of their ability. And I think they will put up a good fight.”

Mr Tan of the WP East Coast GRC team said some issues that residents there have shared with him include concerns about the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, retrenchments, and business rental costs.

He said: “I think that once the government is formed, I do hope that they will consider retrenchment benefits and cash assistance while people are looking for jobs and struggling to stay on their feet.”

PAP’s Ms Chan, who was at the Block 85 Market and Food Centre in Bedok shortly before the WP team turned up, told reporters: “I think every fight has been a tough fight. East Coast has always been a hotly contested ward, so it will be no different from the past.”

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Singapore GE2020: MBS and JW Marriott South Beach to be special polling stations for voters serving stay-home notice at the hotels

SINGAPORE – Marina Bay Sands and JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach have been designated as special polling stations for voters serving their stay-home notice in those hotels.

According to a government e-gazette notice on Tuesday (June 30), these stations will be established for the July 10 polls under the Parliamentary Elections (Covid-19 Special Arrangements) Act.

The act, meant to allow Singapore to safely hold an election amid the coronavirus pandemic, lets voters serving their 14-day stay-home notice at designated facilities like hotels vote outside their electoral divisions, since they are unable to leave the premises at which they are staying.

There will be four stations at Marina Bay Sands, spanning two different towers with each station covering more than 20 levels, and one at JW Marriott. They will be open from 8am to 8pm on polling day.

The Elections Department (ELD) announced earlier this month that voters across the island will be allotted recommended time bands to visit polling stations in order to reduce crowding in the upcoming election.

For those serving the stay-home notice at home, it will make arrangements for them to vote “while minimising exposure to other voters, candidates and election officials”.

The ELD said more details would be available Wednesday.

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Singapore GE2020: Single seats to watch include Bukit Panjang and Marymount

SINGAPORE – The 14 single-member constituencies (SMCs) in the coming general election will see a mix of fresh faces and experienced hands fighting for votes.

At Marymount SMC, which was carved out of the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, People’s Action Party (PAP) new face Gan Siow Huang was a surprise choice as earlier talk had been that incumbent Bishan-Toa Payoh MP Chong Kee Hiong might stand there.

But Ms Gan, 46, Singapore’s first female brigadier-general, submitted papers on Tuesday (June 30), Nomination Day, instead. She will face Progress Singapore Party’s (PSP) Dr Ang Yong Guan, a retired army colonel.

Dr Ang, a 65-year-old psychiatrist, had contested as a member of the Singapore Democratic Party in the 2011 election. Three years later, he became a founding member and chairman of the Singaporeans First party, and was a candidate in the 2015 election.

He made his first appearance on the PSP Facebook page through a video released in April.

In a speech after nominations closed, Ms Gan, who is deputy chief executive of the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute, noted that Marymount may be a new SMC but many residents had lived there for a long time.

“We have built one of the best and most beautiful towns in Singapore. We have forged strong community bonds through the years. Vote for PAP, so that we can continue to serve you,” she said.

In his address, Dr Ang called on residents to vote for the PSP and to deny the PAP a two-third majority.

“Send 32 of us, PSP plus alternative parties, to get into Parliament. For country, for people, you deserve better,” he said.

When new electoral boundaries were announced earlier this year, Singapore saw an increase from 13 to 14 SMCs.

Four of them were new ones: Kebun Baru, Marymount, Punggol West and Yio Chu Kang.

At Yio Chu Kang SMC, which was part of Ang Mo Kio GRC, PAP’s Mr Yip Hong Weng is looking forward to a “good fight” against PSP’s Ms Kayla Low, a fellow 43-year-old newcomer.

Addressing the ward after nominations closed, Mr Yip, the former group chief of the Silver Generation Office at the Agency for Integrated Care, said: “I will listen to your cares, needs and concerns… I will work with you to build Yio Chu Kang into a place we can be proud, into a home we can happily raise our families.”

Ms Low, a chartered accountant, said she was committed to serving Singapore and Yio Chu Kang residents if elected, with the guidance of PSP founder and secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock.

All in, the PSP will be contesting five single seats, the SDP three, the Workers’ Party two and four other parties will be contesting one each.

The SDP slate includes chairman Paul Tambyah who, in a late tactical switch, was fielded in the Bukit Panjang single ward.

He will face the PAP’s Mr Liang Eng Hwa, who was from Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and replaces departing PAP MP Teo Ho Pin.

Professor Tambyah, 55, a professor of medicine at the National University of Singapore, had been widely expected to contest in the SDP’s team in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC again.

After nominations closed, Dr Tambyah revealed that he had considered the move for “at least a few weeks”, and was ultimately convinced by the positive response he received on the ground during his walkabouts.

At the 2015 General Election, Mr Liang, a 56-year-old managing director at DBS bank, was part of the PAP team that defeated Dr Tambyah’s SDP side with a vote share of 66.6 per cent.

SDP’s secretary-general Chee Soon Juan, 57, is also gunning for an SMC, taking on PAP’s incumbent Murali Pillai in Bukit Batok in what looks set to be a fiery rematch of the 2016 by-election.

The two had contested for the ward after the departure of PAP’s Mr David Ong over allegations of an extramarital affair. Mr Pillai, a 52 year-old lawyer, won the seat with a share of 61.2 per cent.

Another SMC to watch is Punggol West, where Workers’ Party freshman Tan Chen Chen, 38, will face off against PAP’s Ms Sun Xueling, the incumbent at the ward hived off from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

The 40-year-old Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development will be looking to win her second term.

Earlier, Peoples Voice (PV) leader Lim Tean had indicated its interest in taking on Punggol West, but the party did not field a candidate ultimately.

While three-cornered fights failed to materialise at Punggol West and Bukit Panjang, where perennial independent candidate Ooi Boon Ewe was spotted on Nomination Day, there will still be one multi-way SMC contest – at Pioneer.

PAP’s Mr Patrick Tay, 48, and PSP’s Mr Lim Cher Hong, 42, already had their names in the hat, while 65-year-old retired financial accountant Victor Ronnie Lai emerged as a possible independent candidate.

However, Mr Lai belatedly decided not to contest, and it was left to business consultant Cheang Peng Wah to become the sole independent candidate at this general election.

Mr Cheang, who declined to give his age, told reporters: “You see the fourth-generation ministers, I don’t think they are up to the mark yet. Why? Maybe because the opposition is not strong enough yet.

“They are not surrounded by wolves, lions or tigers. So with our help, we can help them get more steel within them to make Singapore better.”

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Singapore GE2020: PAP new face Yip Hon Weng takes on PSP newbie in Yio Chu Kang SMC

SINGAPORE – First-time candidates from the opposition Progress Singapore Party (PSP) and ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will go head to head in Yio Chu Kang SMC.

A three-cornered fight was averted when the Reform Party (RP) did not field a candidate for the single seat, which has 26,005 voters.

The PAP candidate is Mr Yip Hon Weng, 43, the former group chief of the Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care. The AIC serves seniors and their caregivers.

He is up against PSP’s Kayla Low, 43, a chartered accountant and former prisons officer. She also volunteers with low-income families and the elderly.

Speaking to reporters after nomination papers were filed on Tuesday (June 30) morning, Mr Yip said he will listen to residents’ cares, needs and concerns, and hopes to win their support.

He has been walking the ground in Yio Chu Kang ward for the past few months, he said, adding: “My next immediate priority is to meet up with everyone to see how best to improve the living environment in Yio Chu Kang, as well as to improve and build up the community spirit”

Ms Low’s priorities are to help the ward’s elderly residents, especially with their mental well-being, and to address issues of cleanliness.

Yio Chu Kang SMC was carved out of Ang Mo Kio GRC, which RP contested in the past two elections in 2011 and 2015.

The area has been in and out of the GRC. In 1991, it became part of Ang Mo Kio GRC, but was carved out in 2006. Then in 2011, it rejoined Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Since 2015, the PAP MP for the area has been Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon. He has now moved to join the PAP’s Tampines GRC team.

Mr Yip is not the first PAP new face to be fielded in an SMC. In 2015, then-PAP new face Cheryl Chan stood in Fengshan SMC and won the seat with 57.5 per cent of the votes, against Mr Dennis Tan of the Workers’ Party.

In this campaign, the PAP is fielding two first-timers in SMCs – Mr Yip and Ms Gan Siow Huang, 46, a former brigadier-general in the Republic of Singapore Air Force, who will stand in Marymount SMC.

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