GE after baby? Bring it on

GE after baby? Bring it on
PHOTO: Tin Pei Ling's Facebook

She is heavily pregnant, and her first child is due early next month. But no matter when the General Election (GE) are called, Member of Parliament (MP) Tin Pei Ling said she is ready.

The first-term MP, who was the youngest People's Action Party (PAP) candidate when she was introduced during the GE in 2011, had then attracted attention for a variety of reasons.

Now it seems she might be in the spotlight again in the next GE - MacPherson, where she is the incumbent MP, has now been carved out of Marine Parade Group Representative Constituency (GRC) into a single-seat constituency (SMC).

It is likely that as an SMC, the area will be hotly contested and Ms Tin is up for the challenge.

"I would like to stand again, (though) the decision on who is to be fielded is not up to me," the 31-year-old told The New Paper last night.

Speaking about her pregnancy, Ms Tin said: "The baby should come fairly soon and if the election comes in September as speculated, then I think I would have had a few weeks of rest and the chance to recover from childbirth.

"But no matter when it is, if I have to go campaign, I have to go."

In the past, women who had given birth would rest for a few days before going right back to work, even doing hard physical labour, she said.

"(These woman) were very strong and resilient, and are an inspiration to me. If GE happens to be called in September... I'll continue to do my best, and to do what I can."

Giving credit to her support team, Ms Tin said they have been very helpful in ensuring that business can go on as usual even when she is not around.

"(Furthermore), how long a woman chooses to take for maternity leave or for confinement is a personal choice. I don't think a pregnant woman or a new mother should be brushed aside just because they have an additional role," she said.

Political watchers have also said that fielding Ms Tin in the SMC would be an interesting choice.

Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan called it a fantastic opportunity to prove her critics wrong.

During GE 2011, Ms Tin drew flak for her youth and inexperience.

Said political commentator Mano Sabnani: "She has done work on the ground, and if she is fielded (in MacPherson) again, it'll be an interesting contest to watch."

New boundaries

New electoral boundaries were announced yesterday.

While there is no fixed date for the election to be called after the report is made public, it has in previous elections taken as short as one day and as long as one month and 26 days.

The GE has to be held by January 2017.

In past years, Nomination Day has usually been seven days from when the writ of election is issued, and the campaigning period begins.

Generally, the campaign period lasts nine days before Polling Day.

Key changes in the new electoral boundaries include an increase in the number of GRCs and SMCs, while all opposition-controlled wards have stayed the same.

Associate Professor Tan said that now that the battle lines have been drawn, it is likely the political parties, especially the opposition ones, will firm up their slate of candidates and how their cards will be played.

"These elections will be interesting because (non-Workers' Party opposition parties) not only have to contend with the PAP, they will also have to contend with the WP, which is unlikely to agree to any electoral pact," he said.

And the fringes of Marine Parade GRC seems to be the area to watch.

After carving out MacPherson, the GRC has absorbed Joo Chiat SMC, a hotly contested seat in the last election where the PAP narrowly won by 388 votes.

Said Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong of the WP, who contested in the area during the last GE: "I'm highly disappointed, not just myself but the residents too.

"It was a good and close fight the last round and we were looking forward to another round."

He said that he has no immediate plans because he needed "time to digest" the sudden news.

Residents in MacPherson that TNP spoke to said they just want a credible candidate.

Customer relationship manager Nadirah Muhammad, 37, said: "At the end of the day, it is really up to us to get to know the people contesting and pick our representative according to their credibility and reliability.

"History has given the most solid evidence when it comes to decisions like this."

Ms Tin, who hopes to run again, said she will let her work speak for itself.

"My activists and I, we have been on the ground for the last four years or so, many longer...

"We wouldn't be able to last if we didn't feel passionate about serving the residents of MacPherson," she said.

Additional reporting by Catherine Robert

This article was first published on July 25, 2015.
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