by Deborah Choo/
The National Solidarity Party (NSP) unveiled its third slate of election candidates today. At a press conference held at the NSP headquarters today, Secretary General Mr Goh Meng Seng introduced the seven members who will be contesting in the coming General Elections. Five will be contesting Tampines Group Representative Constituency (GRC), while two others will contest a Single Member Constituency (SMC) each.
The Tampines GRC team consists of Mr Goh , 41; Mr Gilbert Goh, 49; Mr Reno Fong Chin Leong, 42; Mr Syafarin Sarif, 35; and Mr Raymond Lim, 27.
They will be pitted against a PAP team helmed by the ruling party’s Minister for National Development, Mr Mah Bow Tan.
A key campaign issue the NSP team will focus on is housing prices.
“The problem with housing is that a 20-year mortgage is not affordable. If people are unable to afford it, it’s due to the high housing prices, it’s as simple as that,” said Mr Goh Meng Seng. He added that the NSP has been campaigning on housing policies for the past two years.
Mr Goh Meng Seng also openly challenged Minister Mah to a public debate on housing issues. (See video here.)
Housing costs will not be the only issue on the table, however.
“All the factors are linked - rising costs of living, rising housing prices, and unemployment,” said Mr Gilbert Goh. “When I go on walkabouts, eight out of ten people tell me they are worried about foreigners because they depress wages and cause unemployment for Singaporeans.”
Mr Gilbert Goh is the founder of website transitioning.org, which specializes in unemployment issues.
“People are very worried not for themselves but for their children - how the next generation can afford to buy a house, get married, give birth,” he added. “There are people in their 40s and 50s who are unemployed and who can only get work contracts of two years with a very low pay of only $1,000 plus. They are not making use of their education and degrees.”
Mr Sarif, who is the Secretary for NSP’s Malay Bureau, said his political will is to “propel progress for Malays and to provide an alternative voice for the Malays.” Contrary to what one Malay minister said in 2006 – that there are no Malay issues – Mr Sarif feels otherwise. He said, “I believe the Malays have the capability to hold senior positions, even sensitive positions because we are of this nation. There must be trust given to the Malays.”
When asked if his target would be Malay voters, he said that he will target all voters alike.
The youngest candidate in the team is Mr Lim. Responding to a question on whether his age prevents him from understanding the issues older voters face, Mr Lim said, “People my age want to get married, get a flat, procreate, so the issues we face are the same as the rest of the population.”
The Tampines team also revealed that should it win, most of the candidates will move to the area.
“If I’m getting a $15,000 paycheck, I don’t want to shortchange the residents,” said party leader Mr Goh.
The other two candidates introduced on Thursday are Mr Steve Chia, 41, and Mr Ken Sun, 64. Mr Chia will contest Pioneer SMC while Mr Sun, one of NSP’s founders, will contest Whampoa SMC.
Mr Chia promised that if elected as a full time Member of Parliament, he would make himself available each weekday afternoon to personally listen to the residents’ problems and help accordingly. “I don't want the residents to kill three hours just to see your MP for three minutes,” he said.
Referring to the government’s current slew of growth dividends that all Singaporeans will be receiving on the 1st of May, Mr Sun said, “I would advise all of you to be careful of someone who offers you something sweet before you make an important decision.”
Mr Goh Meng Seng did not give a definite answer on whether this is the last slate of candidates to be revealed.
Another press conference will be called to announce the party’s manifesto soon.
Tampines GRC Team
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts, NUS, and Bachelor of Social Science (Hons), Economics, NUS
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin, Hainanese, Hokkien and Cantonese
Political Experience: Secretary General, NSP, Webmaster; Workers’ Party, Candidate in Aljunied GRC (GE 2006)
Community Experience: Volunteer, Social Welfare Organization (Fund Raising) (1997 to 2000); Volunteer, Cheng San Community Centre grassroots activities (1989- 1991)
Qualification: Graduate Diploma in Counselling
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin and Cantonese
Political and Community Experience:
President, Transitioning.org - a support site for the unemployed (2008 - present)
Guest writer with social political blogs The Online Citizen and Temasek Review (2008 - 2011)
Qualifications: BA (Merit) in Political Science and Malay Studies, NUS
Profession: Regional Project Manager (Asia Pacific)
Languages Spoken: Malay, English, Conversational Mandarin, Elementary Tamil
Political Experience: Member, Central Executive Council, NSP; Secretary, Malay Bureau, NSP; Election Agent, Singapore Democratic Alliance, Jalan Besar GRC (GE 2006)
Community Experience: Vice President, Motivasi Youth Association (2005-now); Youth Award, Motivasi Youth Convention (2005); Vice President II, Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM) (2000 to 2005); Outstanding Volunteer Award (Anugerah Jasa Bakti), 4PM (2001); Long Service Award, Ministry of Community Development (1999)
Qualifications: Bachelor in Engineering Management, University of Western Sydney (UWS)
Profession: Director of a local company (established in 1975)
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Teochew
- Assistant Secretary General, NSP, (2001- present)
- Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) candidate, Jalan Besar GRC (GE 2001 & 2006)
- Treasurer, SDA (2004)
- Campaigning Manager, NSP’s GRC team, (GE 1997)
- Central Executive Committee, NSP, (1995 – present?)
Qualification: Master of Commerce (Applied Finance)
Profession: Management Consultant
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin and Hokkien
- Member, Central Executive Council, NSP
- Leader, NSP Youth Guild, NSP
- Member, Youth Executive Community (2004 to 2008)
- Member, Youth PAP (2003 to 2010)
Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts, NUS
Profession: Equity and index futures trader
Languages Spoken: English, Chinese, Teochew, Hokkien
- NCMP, 10th Singapore Parliament
- Founding President, Storm Riders Motorcycling Club
- 4th election under the NSP team
14th President of NUS Students’ union
- Welfare Secretary, Temasek Hostel, NUS (1991-1992)
Qualifications: Bachelor Management (Hons) International Management, Centre Buckingham (UK), Masters of Arts (Education) University of Hull
Profession: CEO, Property Agency and Management Firm
Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay
- Chairman, NSP’s Central-South District
- Active in community / civic activities – mediation, toastmasters, writers society
- Founded NSP in 1987
- Treasurer of NSP
- Secretary-General, NSP (4 terms)
- Vice President, NSP (2 terms)
- Scored 40.5% of the vote in 1988 GE in Whampoa SMC against PAP/Dr Augustine Tan
- Led team at 1991 GE in Tampines GRC – also scored 40.5% of the vote
- Author of “Concerns for Political Balance”