PAP gives glimpse of its promising younger faces

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The People's Action Party (PAP) gave a glimpse of its promising younger faces at its annual convention yesterday, when three activists took the stage to speak about jobs and the economy as well as Singapore's need to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world.

They were Ms Fang Eu-Lin, 39, of the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng branch, Ms Asyifah Rashid, 27, of the Marsiling branch, and Mr Jagathishwaran Rajo, 30, of the Zhenghua branch.

Some party members who made speeches at past PAP conventions and conferences have gone on to be fielded as election candidates. But observers said this is not always the case.

"The people who speak are perhaps the more prominent new faces within the party," said Associate Professor Eugene Tan of the Singapore Management University.

"Increasingly, the PAP in their party conventions have been trying to profile more of the rank-and-file and trying to change the perception that it has people parachuted into the party for the elections."


National University of Singapore political scientist Reuben Wong added that with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stressing the importance of getting Singaporeans' support even for its difficult decisions, the party needs faces that connect with a younger electorate.

Ms Fang said in her speech that with disruption from technology such as artificial intelligence driving greater automation, employers need to review their workforce to understand which jobs will be impacted and what types of skills upgrading are needed.

While employers may expect staff to be an "exact fit", she added that this is usually not the case.

"Can employers apply more flexibility and give opportunities to employees who display the right attitudes first, and then train for fit?" she asked.

Ms Fang is a partner at the consultancy PwC. Her mother, Ms Fang Ai Lian, was a nominated MP from 2002 to 2006.

Singapore Politics