Khaw reveals likely line-up for 2 GRCs

Khaw reveals likely line-up for 2 GRCs
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The People's Action Party (PAP) slate of candidates is starting to take shape in some constituencies sliced and diced by new electoral boundaries released last week, and MPs have begun working the new ground.

Party chairman Khaw Boon Wan yesterday said he and his team were reaching out actively to the 53,177 new voters added to his Sembawang GRC from parts that used to come under Nee Soon GRC, while "handing over" wards that have been carved away to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.

With the changes, two of his current team of five - Senior Parliamentary Secretary Hawazi Daipi and one-term MP Ong Teng Koon - will see their divisions go over to Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, Mr Khaw, who is National Development Minister, told The Straits Times.

In turn, Lim Wee Kiak, a two-term MP, will join Sembawang GRC with his Canberra division, he added.

This leaves one more spot in the five-member Sembawang GRC, but Mr Khaw would not confirm if the new member in his team is lawyer Amrin Amin, 35, a new PAP face.

But he said: "He's in my group. He's very proactive. I need a Malay after (the) carving out of Marsiling."

Mr Khaw gave the likely line-up at his GRC and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC while meeting Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah at a coffee shop in Yishun Avenue 11 for a briefing on the 51 blocks the MP was "losing" to Sembawang GRC.

They are residents she is "very reluctant to hand over", she told him.

Mr Khaw noted that the changes in electoral boundaries have the greatest impact on the PAP, and in some cases, are "quite drastic".

"We've invested time. Now new relations have to be forged, " he said.

He added that his team has been pounding the new additions to the Sembawang GRC "ever since the map came out''.

Losing Marsiling, which has a predominantly elderly population, Mr Khaw said, will lower the median age for the new Sembawang GRC and bring it nearer to the national median age of just over 40 years.

On her part, Ms Lee will end up with slightly more voters in her Nee Soon South division despite losing the 51 blocks.

She said her reluctance to hand them over stemmed from how much she had done for them since the last general election in 2011.

One of the first things she did was to get two childcare centres along Yishun Avenue 11. One is run by the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) which opened in blocks 446-448 in early 2013 and the other by NTUC First Campus in blocks 423-425, which opened later in the year.

Although each can accommodate about 200 children, it is still not enough for the many young families there and a new mega childcare centre will be built by the third quarter of next year, she said.

Another thing she is proud to have done for her constituents was to improve public transport to the area, with more buses and new bus services plying the streets in her ward.

"Over the last four years, residents have seen a lot of improvement in transport," she said.

Mr Khaw said in a Facebook post yesterday afternoon: "She is doing very good work there and we will build on that."

salma@sph.com.sg


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