PAP teams highlight track record, experience

While the opening beats of the People's Action Party (PAP) campaign have emphasised political renewal, the 13 candidates introduced yesterday took a different tack, highlighting instead their decades of political and ground experience.

With only one new face among the 13 PAP candidates to be fielded across Jalan Besar GRC, West Coast GRC, Chua Chu Kang GRC and Pioneer SMC, the politicians yesterday said they represented stability and continuity, and had earned residents' trust through years of political service.

Jalan Besar GRC's slate of four candidates represents 60 years of political experience, they said.

All four - Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How, Mayor Denise Phua and Dr Lily Neo - have had stints as town council chairmen.

Jalan Besar GRC is likely to be contested by the Workers' Party, whose record in running its town council has been questioned by the PAP.

"The wealth of experience that we have in running the town council and the district is our track record," said Dr Yaacob yesterday. "We have managed it well in terms of governance, in terms of transparency, and our financials are very healthy."

Track record was also emphasised by the PAP's candidates in West Coast GRC, who are likely to face a repeat challenge from the Reform Party. In the 2011 General Election, the Reform team garnered 33.4 per cent of the vote.

Asked how the PAP team planned to fight this coming campaign, Second Minister for Trade and Industry as well as Home Affairs S. Iswaran said: "We have worked on this every year, every week, from the last GE and the GE before that."

Mr Iswaran is now co-anchoring the GRC with Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang, who is contesting his sixth GE. The other two candidates for West Coast GRC are first-term backbenchers Foo Mee Har and Patrick Tay, who moves over from Nee Soon GRC.

Mr Lim said "the slate represents experience as well as freshness". Though sad to leave Nee Soon, Mr Tay, a union leader, has discovered unexpected connections in Boon Lay. He has represented shipyard and shipbuilding workers before, and many of these factories are in or around Boon Lay. "I'm glad to see many old friends and I hope to add value to the West Coast team."

Similarly, the Jalan Besar GRC team brought together candidates who had once contested alongside one another, but whose constituencies were hived off as part of different GRCs.

The sole new PAP candidate introduced yesterday, banker Yee Chia Hsing, will be fielded in Chua Chu Kang GRC. He replaces retiring MP Alvin Yeo, 53, in the slate headed by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

The other two Chua Chu Kang GRC candidates are second-term backbencher Zaqy Mohamad and Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling.

Chua Chu Kang GRC is likely to be contested by the newly formed People's Power Party, led by opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng.

The PAP's candidate for the Pioneer single seat, Mr Cedric Foo, is gunning for a fourth term as the area's MP.

This article was first published on Aug 17, 2015.
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