Possible PAP candidate spotted

Research scientist Ismail Muhamad Hanif, 35, was seen mingling with Bukit Batok East residents on Sunday morning as Jurong GRC MP Halimah Yacob took Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong on a walkabout around shops in the area.

Dr Ismail has been a member of the Tampines West Citizens' Consultative Committee since 2009 and helped out in the last general election.

Madam Halimah told reporters that she had met Dr Ismail at a community event and invited him to volunteer in her ward. She declined to say if he was a potential People's Action Party candidate for the next polls, saying only that he was part of Bukit Batok East's Volunteer Induction Programme, started in 2010. "Sometimes it's a holding ground before people truly want to be committed as grassroots leaders," she said. "We give them a chance to try out, to see what it's like to do grassroots work. And if they like it, they will migrate to become grassroots leaders."

Dr Ismail, who is married, was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Medical School and studied cancer biology. Before that, he did his doctorate at the National University of Singapore Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering.

Three other potential PAP candidates have been flagged in the past week, two in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and one in Sembawang GRC.

PAP organising secretary Ng Eng Hen said earlier this month that potential candidates have been getting a feel of the ground.

This article was published on April 28 in The Straits Times.

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