Mum-to-be Tin Pei Ling says she’s ready for GE if fielded
She would be a mother of just about a month if the election is called in Sept but MP Tin Pei Ling is raring to go
She is heavily pregnant, and her first child is due early next month. But no matter when the General Election (GE) are called, Member of Parliament (MP) Tin Pei Ling said she is ready.
The first-term MP, who was the youngest People's Action Party (PAP) candidate when she was introduced during the GE in 2011, had then attracted attention for a variety of reasons.
Now it seems she might be in the spotlight again in the next GE - MacPherson, where she is the incumbent MP, has now been carved out of Marine Parade Group Representative Constituency (GRC) into a single-seat constituency (SMC).
It is likely that as an SMC, the area will be hotly contested and Ms Tin is up for the challenge.
"I would like to stand again, (though) the decision on who is to be fielded is not up to me," the 31-year-old told The New Paper last night.
Speaking about her pregnancy, Ms Tin said: "The baby should come fairly soon and if the election comes in September as speculated, then I think I would have had a few weeks of rest and the chance to recover from childbirth.
"But no matter when it is, if I have to go campaign, I have to go."
In the past, women who had given birth would rest for a few days before going right back to work, even doing hard physical labour, she said.
"(These woman) were very strong and resilient, and are an inspiration to me. If GE happens to be called in September... I'll continue to do my best, and to do what I can."
Giving credit to her support team, Ms Tin said they have been very helpful in ensuring that business can go on as usual even when she is not around.
"(Furthermore), how long a woman chooses to take for maternity leave or for confinement is a personal choice. I don't think a pregnant woman or a new mother should be brushed aside just because they have an additional role," she said.
Political watchers have also said that fielding Ms Tin in the SMC would be an interesting choice.
Singapore Management University law don Eugene Tan called it a fantastic opportunity to prove her critics wrong.
During GE 2011, Ms Tin drew flak for her youth and inexperience.
Said political commentator Mano Sabnani: "She has done work on the ground, and if she is fielded (in MacPherson) again, it'll be an interesting contest to watch."
New electoral boundaries were announced yesterday.
While there is no fixed date for the election to be called after the report is made public, it has in previous elections taken as short as one day and as long as one month and 26 days.
The GE has to be held by January 2017.
In past years, Nomination Day has usually been seven days from when the writ of election is issued, and the campaigning period begins.
Generally, the campaign period lasts nine days before Polling Day.
Key changes in the new electoral boundaries include an increase in the number of GRCs and SMCs, while all opposition-controlled wards have stayed the same. (See report on facing page.)
Associate Professor Tan said that now that the battle lines have been drawn, it is likely the political parties, especially the opposition ones, will firm up their slate of candidates and how their cards will be played.
"These elections will be interesting because (non-Workers' Party opposition parties) not only have to contend with the PAP, they will also have to contend with the WP, which is unlikely to agree to any electoral pact," he said.
And the fringes of Marine Parade GRC seems to be the area to watch.
After carving out MacPherson, the GRC has absorbed Joo Chiat SMC, a hotly contested seat in the last election where the PAP narrowly won by 388 votes.
Said Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong of the WP, who contested in the area during the last GE: "I'm highly disappointed, not just myself but the residents too.
"It was a good and close fight the last round and we were looking forward to another round."
He said that he has no immediate plans because he needed "time to digest" the sudden news.
Residents in MacPherson that TNP spoke to said they just want a credible candidate.
Customer relationship manager Nadirah Muhammad, 37, said: "At the end of the day, it is really up to us to get to know the people contesting and pick our representative according to their credibility and reliability.
"History has given the most solid evidence when it comes to decisions like this."
Ms Tin, who hopes to run again, said she will let her work speak for itself.
"My activists and I, we have been on the ground for the last four years or so, many longer...
"We wouldn't be able to last if we didn't feel passionate about serving the residents of MacPherson," she said.
- Additional reporting by Catherine Robert
MACPHERSON SMC: A LOOKBACK
NUMBER OF ELECTORS:
2011: Ward did not exist
2011: Not applicable
2006: People's Action Party's Matthias Yao Chih beat Singapore Democratic Alliance's Sin Kek Tong, winning 68.48 per cent of the votes cast.
2001: PAP's Yao beat Democratic Progressive Party's Tan Soo Phuan, winning 83.73 per cent of the votes cast.
1997: PAP's Yao beat Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan, winning 65.14 per cent of the votes cast.
Changes at a glance
BUKIT BATOK SMC
Carved out from Jurong GRC, the constituency makes its return from the 1991 GE, when the late Dr Ong Chit Chung of the People's Action Party (PAP) narrowly beat Singapore Democratic Party's (SDP) Kwan Yue Keng by 3.64 per cent of the votes cast.
This SMC also makes a return after it was carved out from East Coast GRC.
In 1988, PAP's Arthur Beng beat Workers' Party (WP) candidate Chng Chin Siah by 57.92 per cent of the votes, before the constituency became part of Bedok GRC in 1991.
MARSILING-YEW TEE GRC
A completely new GRC that was carved out from parts of Choa Chu Kang GRC and Sembawang GRC.
JALAN BESAR GRC
It makes its return since the 2006 GE, when the PAP defeated the Singapore Democratic Alliance with 69.26 per cent of the votes.
The revived constituency has absorbed Whampoa SMC and now includes parts of Tanjong Pagar GRC and the soon-to-be defunct Moulmein-Kallang GRC.
See main story.
MOULMEIN-KALLANG GRC AND WHAMPOA SMC
The constituencies are now absorbed by their neighbouring GRCs, including the newly created Jalan Besar GRC and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
In the 2011 GE, the PAP team consisting of Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Transport Lui Tuck Yew, Ms Denise Phua and Mr Edwin Tong, won Moulmein-Kallang GRC by 58.55 per cent of the votes.
Meanwhile, PAP's Heng Chee How beat National Solidarity Party's Ken Sun for Whampoa with 66.1 per cent of the votes.
JOO CHIAT SMC
The constituency, which is the only one without any HDB flats within it, saw one of the closest fights in the 2011 GE, with PAP's Charles Chong beating his WP challenger Yee Jenn Jong by a narrow margin of 2.04 per cent.
It is now absorbed into Marine Parade GRC.
Hougang and Punggol East SMCs, as well as Aljunied GRC, all of which are helmed by WP MPs, remain unchanged.
This means that residents living in Blocks 501 to 554 at Bedok North Avenue 3 will remain in the same constituency for only the second time in 27 years. Civil society organisation Maruah earlier pointed out that they had been under four GRCs since 1988.
- Ronald Loh
WHAT PM, MPS SAY
"Wherever the boundaries may be drawn, MPs should serve the residents they represent to the best of their ability. And voters should support the candidates or teams who will best represent their interests, both in the constituency and as the Government of Singapore."
- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Facebook
"...there's a sense of disappointment because I've been with the residents for so many years and I've really come to grow to be very fond of them and I will miss them dearly... (But) We have to understand why this is happening - because I know (the Prime Minister) has given the guidelines to the boundaries committee to have smaller GRCs... naturally the boundaries will have to shift and I think in this case Moulmein is one of the more affected constituencies."
- Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, who is the MP for the soon-to-be defunct Moulmein-Kallang GRC, to The Straits Times
"I am highly, highly and absolutely disappointed with the report. There is no clear justification for the changes. With the eraser and the pencil, the mighty committee has made the Joo Chiat SMC with such a rich and unique tradition disappear. We have walked the ground tirelessly for four years since the last GE, in and around the SMC, week after week, sometimes even in scorching heat and drizzles."
- Non-Constituency MP and Workers' Party member Yee Jenn Jong, who narrowly lost out on Joo Chiat SMC, on Facebook
"Boundary changes or not, we will continue to serve our residents and provide the best policies for Singapore. This election is going to see strong contest, we are ready, we are prepared."
- Education Minister Heng Swee Keat to The Straits Times