Ko Siew Huey /
The Worker’s Party (WP) introduced its second batch of four candidates on Thursday All four reiterated a common vision that motivated them to stand for elections – to build a political system with an effective mechanism of checks and balances that would hold the government accountable to its people.
The four candidates are Angela Oon Kheng Faye, 32, Yaw Shin Leong, 34, L. Somasundaram, 47 and Dr John Yam Poh Nam, 49.
A researcher with a background in Philosophy and Literature, Ms Oon [picture right] said her grandfather, who was a community leader and philanthropist, inspired her interest in public service.
She started volunteering with WP about 2 years ago, taking on the opposition cause as she felt there was a “profound imbalance in how few safeguards there are to check on the ruling party.”
Ms Oon said that as she listened to the stories of the people she encountered in her grassroots work, she felt a need to represent the concerns of those who have been “left behind” by Singapore’s push for economic development. She added, “These people are the ones that are hard hit by the rising cost of living and I want to be a voice for these people.”
The second candidate introduced was Mr Yaw. He is the Organising Secretary of WP and a business lecturer at a private college.
Mr Yaw started getting involved in political activism as a student and later volunteered for grassroots activities in Potong Pasir. He joined WP 10 years ago.
In the 2006 elections, he was part of the WP team dubbed the “suicide squad” that contested Ang Mo Kio GRC, which was led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The team managed to garner about 33% of the votes there.
Mr Yaw said that besides economic, social and cultural development, political development is something that Singaporeans should take seriously and one way to do that is to put in place a credible alternative presence in Parliament.
Dr Yam [picture right], is the director of a telecommunications consulting firm. He has degrees in electrical engineering and in business administration. His career began in the public sector where he served as Police Inspector in the Singapore Police Force before moving on to take on management positions at various multinational companies.
Dr Yam believes that changes are needed in our education system as the current approach of streaming and school rankings promotes elitism and does not produce creative Singaporeans who can think independently. He would also like to see more emphasis placed on moral education and teaching children how to be responsible citizens.
Mr Somasundaram is a polytechnic lecturer. An engineer by training, he has been an active volunteer at Aljunied GRC the past 4 years. One area of concern that he would like to address is the plight of unemployed older workers who cannot secure jobs even after retraining, a situation he attributes to Singapore’s “easy reliance on foreign talent”.
“Although the PAP has got a passing grade over the last five decades,” he said, “it is beginning to lose touch with the people it is supposed to lead and care for. Everything is measured in dollars and cents… I want to bring the government’s attention to people and remind the government that people come first.”
The WP will officially introduce its next batch of candidates on Saturday.
All pictures from WP’s Facebook page.
TOC will have more reports on the media conference.