The Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) on Monday (Aug 31) unveiled its slate of potential candidates contesting the six-member Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency, and three of them are new faces.
Mr Ong Teik Seng, 44, is contesting for the first time.
The sales director said he wants to highlight matters concerning the well-being of senior citizens and the young. Criticising the rise in age limits for Singaporeans to withdraw their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings, Mr Ong said that Singapore is a country that has “sailed very far into the deep oceans”.
“There are many workers on board the ship, especially the pioneer generation. They are working for survival,” he said, adding that he hopes for reforms to the CPF scheme.
Mr Ong also said he hopes to give children more opportunities to get a higher education, so they can face the future challenges of a foreign talent influx.
Mr Sunny Wong Way Weng, 53, is another new face.
The quality assurance manager has been a resident of Pasir Ris for about 21 years. He said he was motivated to join politics as he wants to speak up on issues such as traffic congestion and the pressure Singaporeans face.
“I am proud to have celebrated SG50 but there is room to speak up and go forward,” he said.
Mr Abu Mohamed, 64, is the third new candidate.
Speaking in Malay, the President of the Singapore Malay National Organisation (PKMS) said he wants to help the Malay-Muslim community progress in areas such as education, jobs and housing.
Mr Abu Mohamed, a co-director in an oil field services company, also hopes to bring up issues advocating women wearing the hijab in frontline work, as well as policies protecting Malays from being barred from job positions that specify Mandarin-speaking candidates.
Mr Desmond Lim, 47, SDA’s secretary-general, previously contested in Punggol East SMC in 2011 and 2013.
The engineer in the telecommunications industry lost his election deposit after garnering just 0.57 per cent of the votes in the Punggol East SMC by-election in 2013. However, he said he is unfazed by the episode.
“How can a country depend on you if you give up just after losing once?” he said.
“The Parliament lacks a common man’s voice,” added Mr Lim in Mandarin. “The common man needs to have a place in Parliament, and I have decided to continue to champion the rights of the common man.”
Mr Arthero Lim, 60, is taking part in his fourth election.
The filmmaker rejoined the SDA slate after contesting under the Reform Party banner in Ang Mo Kio GRC in the previous General Election in 2011. He has also contested as a Singapore Democratic Party candidate.
“I’m a fighter for social justice. It’s not just criticising the ruling party – a lack of social justice is making Singapore dysfunctional,” he said.
Mr Harminder Pal Singh, 43, was one of the candidates for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC in 2011.
The CEO of coaching company Helping People Succeed said he hopes to see more being done for a hiring policy that benefits Singaporeans. “These are cosmetic changes we see by the Government. When we are elected as MPs, we want to push for these policies in the right fashion. We want more in-depth implementation to benefit more Singaporeans,” he explained, referring to the current policies.
Another issue he hopes to address in Parliament is the “lack of emphasis being given to the welfare of the people in Singapore”, citing the “inability to retire at 55 and be able to withdraw CPF funds”.
Mr Singh added that the party was “confident” it was connecting with voters and that it would strive to ensure that the Pasir Ris-Punggol town council would be “one of the best ones” if SDA was elected into Parliament. To ensure it is ready to run the constituency, SDA revealed that it has created a shadow town council for the GRC. Members have also been going for training.
“Should we win the election, we will go in there running. Our shadow town council is ready to take over the town council (in Pasir Ris-Punggol),” said Mr Singh.
The party said it will also look into asking for more childcare centres and a regional hospital. When asked where the party would get the money from to push its township plan, Mr Desmond Lim said he hopes the party will get to push this plan in Parliament for approval, if elected.