SINGAPORE - Labour chief Ng Chee Meng will helm the People's Action Party (PAP) team contesting Sengkang GRC in the general election.
Mr Ng, formerly an MP for Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC, went on a walkabout in Compassvale on Sunday (June 28), along with Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin, and lawyer Raymond Lye.
All four wore Sengkang GRC T-shirts and spoke about what they would bring to the constituency if they were elected.
Mr Ng, 51, noted that Sengkang has a younger demographic, and said his team is paying attention to young families.
"The key thing is to help them keep their jobs, and when displaced, help them (get) new jobs. Beyond this we also want to address municipal issues," he said adding that residents could also look forward to new CCs and an aquatic playground.
Mr Lye, 54, who chairs the Pungol East CCC, said Rivervale was the first part of Sengkang town to be built, and added that residents there would probably be slightly older. He said one of his focus areas will be to bring in more barrier-free access routes for seniors, covered linkways and senior activity centres.
Mr Amrin, 41, pipped to move over from Sembawang GRC, said he would focus on the big picture, noting that the coronavirus pandemic is the crisis of a generation. He said the team has talked to delivery riders and taxi drivers, "people who have lost their jobs and are taking on these jobs to tide them over".
He added: "We are going to put firm focus on ensuring that jobs are taken care of, that people feel secure, and so the Sengkang careers centre which will be launched will provide job matching assistance... and this is in addition to the existing local initiatives."
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, the PAP's first assistant secretary-general, also took part in the walkabout. Asked if he could confirm that the four men would be fielded in Sengkang, he replied: "You will know all the details by (the) Nomination date, so please be patient."
Political observers expect a close fight between the PAP and the opposition in this GRC.
The new Sengkang GRC, known for its relatively young demographic, was formed by taking the Sengkang Central ward from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and combining it with the single seat of Punggol East and part of Sengkang West SMC. It covers the Anchorvale, Compassvale and Rivervale neighbourhoods.
Vying for the support of the GRC's 120,166 voters in next month's general election will be a team from the Workers' Party (WP), which has announced that Sengkang will be one of four GRCs it is contesting.
Sengkang GRC contains old WP stomping grounds. Both Punggol East and Sengkang West were contested by the opposition in previous general elections.
The PAP won Punggol East SMC by a slim margin in 2015. Party stalwart Charles Chong, with 51.76 per cent of the vote, took the single-member constituency from the WP's Lee Li Lian that year.
Ms Lee had previously won the SMC in the 2013 by-election after then PAP MP Michael Palmer stepped down.
In 2015, Dr Lam of Sengkang West SMC defeated his WP opponent Koh Choong Yong with 62.1 per cent of the vote.
This year, the WP team for Sengkang is likely to be helmed by former Punggol East MP Lee Li Lian, and could field new candidates such as economist Jamus Lim, social activist Raeesah Khan, and equity research analyst Louis Chua Kheng Wee.
On facing a WP team, Mr Ng said: "In our democratic process, we welcome competition for the good of our GRC and for Singapore. My focus, my team's focus, will (be) on our residents - to bring the very best regardless of the different issues of politics."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.