Singapore

Marsiling-Yew Tee residents meet their new grassroots adviser

Zaqy to take over Marsiling grassroots adviser role from Halimah

While Madam Halimah Yacob has resigned from her role as a grassroots adviser and MP in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, residents in the constituency have far from lost her.

This is because they have her in a "potentially bigger capacity representing the whole of Singapore", said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday, referring to Madam Halimah's bid to contest the upcoming presidential election.

During a National Day observance ceremony held in Marsiling, Mr Wong, the group representation constituency's (GRC) anchor MP, told residents that they had gained a new adviser in Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Zaqy Mohamad, who was appointed by the People's Association.

"I'm sure there will be quite a number of items to hand over (to Mr Zaqy), but I'm also sure that Madam Halimah will be very busy in the coming weeks and months and even beyond that," Mr Wong told reporters, in an oblique vote of confidence for Madam Halimah's presidential bid.

The presidential election is expected to be held next month.

On Monday, Madam Halimah resigned as MP, Speaker of Parliament and member of the People's Action Party - a day after announcing that she will run for president.

Mr Wong yesterday took the opportunity to formally introduce Mr Zaqy to the residents who attended the celebrations held at the Marsiling Community Club's sports park.

Addressing them for the first time, Mr Zaqy said: "She (Madam Halimah) definitely leaves very big shoes to fill, so I hope I'm able to continue and meet expectations."

He said Madam Halimah, who was also at the event, had done much in Marsiling, with a focus on helping low-income families and health programmes.

He said he will look into several ongoing projects she had started, such as a new hawker centre and dialysis centre, and the enhancement of bus services in the area.

Mr Zaqy said his 11 years of experience as an MP will hopefully "speed up the learning curve" in getting familiarised with his new constituency and knowing the aspirations and needs of the residents.

He continues to serve as grassroots adviser to neighbouring Chua Chu Kang GRC.

Mr Wong said he and Mr Zaqy, as well as the remaining two MPs, Mr Ong Teng Koon and Mr Alex Yam, will work to ensure that the constituency's programmes and Meet-the-People sessions are covered.

Asked about Mr Zaqy wearing two hats, Mr Wong told reporters: "It's not just one person but all four of us coming together to support Marsiling and to make sure that the residents here are well served."

adrianl@sph.com.sg

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