By Vidhya Nair
In a press-conference this morning at a coffeeshop, close to Toa Payoh Mall, Dr Ng Eng Hen, PAP organising secretary and Defense Minister, announced the resignation of 3 Members of Parliament who will not be contesting in the upcoming general election.
They are, Mr Wong Kan Seng, Mr Hri Kumar Nair and Mr Zainudin Nordin.
3 new replacement candidates were also announced.
Mr Cheong Kee Hiong, 49, CEO of OUE Hospitality REIT Management and previously head of The Ascott Limited; Mr Saktiandi Supat, 42, Executive Vice-President of Maybank; and Mr Chee Hong Tat, 41, formerly Second Permanent Secretary for Trade and Industry.
Mr Chee’s last day of service was yesterday, 11th August 2015.
For the upcoming elections, these men will join the incumbents, Dr Ng Eng Hean and Ms Josephine Teo as PAP candidates for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC.
Dr Ng said, “Succession depends not only on the Prime Minister and incumbent Cabinet Ministers, succession depends on ultimately, Singapore’s choice.”
Each of the resigning MPs took turns to introduce his replacement at the press conference suggesting that they had been mentoring and guiding the new members in the constituencies, who except for Mr Chee have been on the ground for 2 years, said Dr Ng.
The new candidates all spoke of humble beginnings; “From a kampung to our moving to HDB, I’ve seen Singapore progress… providing me a good education, a good platform for my family to build a good life and I really treasure that,” said Mr Saktiandi Supat in his introductory remarks.
Mr Wong Kan Seng started his political career in 1984 in Kuo Chuan, before the GRC system was introduced in 1988. He had participated in 7 elections during his 31 year tenure and contested in only 2 elections, that of 1984, his first and in 2011, his last.
The remaining 5 elections had been walkovers for his team.
At the press conference, Mr Wong thanked his constituents and grassroots “family” for their long-time support. His remaining team members stood up to bow to him, acknowledging their respect and appreciation for his contributions.
Mr Zainudin Nordin, who has represented PAP in this constituency since 2001, said that “the time is right to focus on my family” and spoke about staying relevant to the community, expressing confidence in the new slate of candidates. He ended his remarks by thanking the Malay-Muslim community and residents of Bishan-Toa Payoh.
Mr Hri Kumar informed the press conference that he is stepping down as his wife has taken ill and he needs to refocus his priorities. On being asked about his stint as MP, he said, without citing examples, that he had tried to solve as many problems as he could, though unsuccessful at times.
In related news, opposition party, The Singapore People’s Party (SPP) is expected to contest Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in a joint alliance with Democratic Progressive Party( DPP) headed by secretary general, Mr Benjamin Pwee, in the upcoming general election.