SINGAPORE – Hoping to rewrite electoral history in Singapore’s only opposition-held GRC, are five PAP branch chairs who have been on the ground there for the last few years.
The team in Aljunied GRC – artificial intelligence fintech chief executive Victor Lye, 58; lawyer Alex Yeo, 41; marketing director Chan Hui Yuh, 44; bank executive Chua Eng Leong, 48; and Centre for Domestic Employees executive director Shamsul Kamar, 48, say their efforts since the last general election give them a positive platform to run on.
Meeting at a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 on Tuesday (June 30) before filing their nomination papers, they said they believed their best bet for trying to win back the ward is to help residents and improve lives – household by household.
Mr Lye, the Bedok Reservoir-Punggol branch chair, told The Straits Times: “Our focus continues to be on helping our residents every day, especially with more calls for help during this very challenging (Covid-19) period. We focus on each resident privately.”
He has raised funds for residents in need and worked with restaurants to employ single mothers. He stays in touch with them even after they move to other wards.
Meanwhile in Kaki Bukit, which has several blocks of rental flats and an ageing population, Mr Shamsul has been distributing food packs to the needy, and working with coffee shops to provide meal vouchers to the elderly and low-income residents.
More than 100 Kaki Bukit residents have also found jobs through a centre started last July, that provides career advisory and job matching services.
In Eunos, where over a third of residents are aged 60 and above, Mr Chua says his priority has been to reduce the healthcare costs of the elderly.
He soft-launched an eldercare facility in March, and an integrated polyclinic is in the works. To create more childcare places, two kindergartens are being converted to childcare centres.
Mr Yeo has conducted 15 Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) seminars and 20 LPA drafting sessions for residents in Paya Lebar since March 2017. He recently launched a mobile clinic to bring health and wellness programmes closer to seniors.
He was appointed to Paya Lebar in 2017 after his predecessor, Mr Murali Pillai, was elected MP for Bukit Batok in a 2016 by-election.
His colleague Ms Chan, another new face fielded this year, did not stand in the last election but has been active in the Serangoon ward since 2014.
Former Cabinet minister Lim Boon Heng has been advising the candidates and making the rounds with them.
The branch chairs also front government initiatives in the GRC, such as the Home Improvement Programme. In Paya Lebar alone, close to 6,000 homes have undergone this programme since 2017.
Whether these efforts will be enough to sway voters remains to be seen. Despite losing by only a razor-thin margin, with 49.05 per cent of the vote share at the 2015 election, the team is up for a tough fight this year against the Workers’ Party “A” team – party chief Pritam Singh, 43, chairman Sylvia Lim, 55, Mr Faisal Manap, 45, and two experienced Non-Constituency MPs, Mr Leon Perera, 49, and Mr Gerald Giam, 42.
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