Singapore

Rookie MP unfazed by task of running Yio Chu Kang SMC

This article is more than 12 months old

Yio Chu Kang's Yip Hon Weng sees advantage in having 'a bit more autonomy'

Being a political rookie running a new single-member constituency does not faze Mr Yip Hon Weng, the newly elected MP for Yio Chu Kang SMC.

"I think one advantage is that I have a bit more autonomy in terms of what I want to do here for the residents," said the People's Action Party (PAP) new face, who met residents at the Ang Mo Kio 628 Market yesterday morning.

"Ultimately it is to serve the residents here, to make sure this is a place that they are happy to live in and their needs and issues are addressed," he added.

Despite being untested in electoral battles, Mr Yip, the former group chief of the Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care, was sent to contest in the new constituency carved out of Ang Mo Kio GRC.

But the move to field the 43-year-old there paid off, with Mr Yip garnering 61 per cent of the votes against the Progress Singapore Party's Ms Kayla Low, a fellow newcomer.

Mr Yip said he had expected a tough fight, and the result is reflective of the hard work put in by his campaign team.

"It is not easy being a newcomer in an SMC. The campaign team has helped me quite a fair bit," he added.

"We have put in our best efforts to cover the ground in Yio Chu Kang, and we've managed to cover all the blocks, condominiums and landed estates.

" I am happy with the results and credit goes to the team that has helped me tirelessly."

Mr Yip said he brings a wealth of experience from the public sector. He started his civil service career as a physical education and mathematics teacher, and later served in the Education, Manpower and Defence ministries.

He also helped set up and run the Municipal Services Office.

Yio Chu Kang was previously helmed by Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who has been elected as an MP for Tampines GRC in this year's election.

Mr Yip will continue to engage residents over the next few weeks to find out their concerns.

He shared that ageing issues remain a priority. This includes infrastructure improvements to help elderly residents move around better, and assisting them and caregivers in accessing resources. An estimated 40 per cent of the SMC is made up of senior citizens.

Mr Yip also commended his rival for her determination and putting up "a very good fight".

Ms Low, 43, had pushed for issues like welfare and job security, noting the pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs.

The chartered accountant and former prisons officer was also at the market yesterday, and received from supporters gifts such as flowers and an album with photos of her taken during the nine days of campaigning.

Ms Low, who appeared emotional when talking to reporters, said she had tried her best.

Ms Low, who volunteers to help low-income families and the elderly, will continue to walk the ground.

"There are residents here who believe in me and trust in me, so I need to step up," she explained, adding that it will not be easy. "But I will try my best."

GENERAL ELECTION 2020