TRANSPORT Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday introduced senior police officer Melvin Yong as the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate who will be fielded in his place in Moulmein at the next general election.
Mr Lui has been MP for the ward - under Moulmein-Kallang GRC - since 2006. He said in a surprise announcement last week that he was leaving politics, after what is only his second term in Parliament.
Mr Lui played on his surname and Mr Yong's Chinese name, Yi Cai, when making the introduction. He said: "Last time, it was 'Lui lai liao' (Hokkien for 'Money is coming'), now it's 'Cai lai liao'." Cai means fortune in Chinese.
Mr Yong, 43, is expected to join the PAP team for Tanjong Pagar GRC, which takes in Moulmein when the electoral-boundary changes kick in at the next polls.
The other members of the five-member GRC team are Labour chief Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah, backbencher Chia Shi-Lu and former public servant Joan Pereira, another new face.
Aside from Dr Chia, who was at another grassroots event, all were at Pek Kio Market and Food Centre, where Mr Yong was unveiled yesterday. It was also the assistant commissioner of police's last day of work in the force, after he put in his papers for early retirement.
Mr Chan said Mr Yong is no stranger to Tanjong Pagar GRC because parts of the constituency were under his watch when he was commander of the Clementi Police Division from 2010 to last year. "So we are happy that (Mr Yong) is here to join us and re-acquaint himself with Tanjong Pagar issues," he added.
PAP activists at the market also surprised Mr Lui with a cake to celebrate his 54th birthday. He said that he felt like he was 108, "because the last nine years, you got to multiply it by seven".
Despite his upcoming retirement, Mr Lui said he will continue to visit residents as a private citizen.
Looking ahead, he said that his focus will be on helping Mr Chan and Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim - a fellow MP at Moulmein-Kallang GRC and candidate for the new Jalan Besar GRC - lead their teams to victory at the next polls.
And if the new candidate needs his help, "I will support him in any way," Mr Lui added.
PAP's Tanjong Pagar team is likely to face the Singaporeans First party at the polls.
Yesterday, the PAP also introduced its four candidates for the resurrected Jalan Besar GRC, which will replace the dissolved Moulmein-Kallang GRC.
The team will be led by Dr Yaacob and include Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Heng Chee How, Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua and veteran backbencher Lily Neo.
Dr Yaacob, speaking to reporters, emphasised the team's collective experience of about 60 years and their track record in managing the town council.
He said: "We have managed the town council well in terms of governance, transparency. And our financials are very healthy."
The team is likely to face the Workers' Party (WP) at the upcoming polls. Accounting and governance lapses have been uncovered at the WP-run Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council.
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