Singapore

Suicide squad? We're heavyweights, says PAP's Aljunied team

They are going up against strong incumbents, so much so that people have likened them to 'suicide squads'. TNP reporters put this to three political parties

TEAM: PAP, AGAINST: WP, WARD: Aljunied

The People's Action Party (PAP) laughed off the suggestion that its Aljunied group representation constituency (GRC) team was not a heavyweight one.

It playfully pointed out that candidate Chua Eng Leong was a "heavyweight" in his own right. Quipped Mr Chua, an executive director of a bank: "I'm 110kg!"

The PAP team was backed by the presence of two political majors yesterday: Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and former Cabinet minister and former PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng, who was appointed to lead a PAP task force to win back Aljunied GRC.

Mr Lim, who now functions as the Aljunied team's adviser, said candidate K. Muralidharan Pillai, 47, heads the litigation department at law firm Rajah & Tann and has regional responsibilities and 100 lawyers under him. "We've got lawyers competing on either side. You tell me the other side is the heavyweight?"

He said the team, which also comprises Shenton Insurance chief executive Victor Lye, 52, Spectra Secondary School's former head of student management Shamsul Kamar, 43, and four-term labour MP Yeo Guat Kwang, 54, were well suited to wrest Aljunied back because they had been extensively working the ground and are "good fits".

Said Mr Muralidharan: "I'm not fazed by the odds. I've no hidden agenda here. I'm confident that collectively, the PAP's Aljunied team has the capability to lead Aljunied as one community and manage its town council well."

Mr Tharman described the five men as credible, honest and dedicated. He said: "They go in with the mindset of the underdog. They go in with the mindset of being humble in everything they do, but they go in with more than a fighting chance. They really want to prove their worth and serve the residents better."

Added Mr Lim: "These are men of courage. It takes courage for anyone to come forward to stand for election in opposition-held territory."

RESIDENTS SAY

Mr Lim said the fact that Mr Tharman was at the press conference showed that the party cares about Aljunied.

The issue of town council management also came up during the press conference and the team was asked what residents felt about Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council's accounting lapses.

Mr Lye replied that some residents, including a junior college student he spoke to, had a sense that something was wrong.

Mr Lee also said while many residents did not fully understand town council issues, they found that the environment was not as clean as it should be and some maintenance works were patchy.

When asked if the WP should be given another chance as this was its first time managing such a large town council, Mr Tharman said the recent issue was not for political gain.

"It's not aimed at putting the WP down. When I speak of an issue, it is because I'm worried. I'm really worried.

"I want to make sure that we have responsible and honest politics in Singapore. That's all," he said.

The five candidates referred to Aljunied GRC as their "home".

Mr Yeo, an Aljunied GRC MP from 2001 till 2011, when he was moved to Ang Mo Kio GRC, said it was great to be home.

Mr Chua said his team would go the extra mile for residents and added: "Bring us home to Aljunied."


"They go in with the mindset of the underdog. They go in with the mindset of being humble in everything they do, but they go in with more than a fighting chance. They really want to prove their worth and serve the residents better."

- Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, on PAP's Aljunied team

SPOTLIGHT ON:
 ALJUNIED GRC

2015 GE

Voters: 148,024

WP: Mr Low Thia Khiang, Ms Sylvia Lim, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Chen Show Mao, Mr Faisal Abdul Manap

PAP: Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, Mr Chua Eng Leong, Mr Victor Lye, Mr K. Muralidharan Pillai, Mr Shamsul Kamar


2011 GE

Voters: 143,148

Valid votes: 132,118

WP: Mr Low Thia Khiang, Ms Sylvia Lim, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Chen Show Mao, Mr Faisal Abdul Manap

% of votes: 54.7

PAP: Mr George Yeo, Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Mr Zainul Abidin, Ms Cynthia Phua, Mr Ong Ye Kung

% of votes: 45.3

Singapore Electionsaljuniedsuicide squadUncategorisedPAPPeople's Action Party