Progress Singapore Party (PSP)’s Kumaran Pillai will be contesting in the Kebun Baru SMC, he confirmed during a virtual press conference today (25 June).
When asked, Mr Pillai, who founded news site The Independent Singapore, noted that he has been walking the ground in Kebun Baru lately.
He said, “I guess the cat is out of the bag for Kebun Baru”.
On his connection to The Independent and whether he felt that he had an edge over other candidates given his experience with digital media, Mr Pillai was quick to stress that online campaigning is not a substitute for ground operations.
He explained that if people spend a lot of time online, they may find themselves in an echo chamber, whereas walking the grounds to meet people and listen to their concerns give you a way to reach out to people via various channels.
He later said, “Nothing that I’ve learned in the past has prepared me for the job ahead. And it’s going to be a strenuous journey but I’ve got a good mentor in Dr Tan Cheng Bock.”
While he may have an advantage given his journalistic experience, Mr Pillai said that the situation changes all the time. He explained, “I can’t rely on his experience to determine my future. But what I’m going to do is consult with the people, meet them, know their issues and solve their problems. And I’m determined to do that.”
On why he felt it was necessary for him to leave The Independent in order to enter politics, Mr Pillai said, “In journalism, there’s this whole concept of the state and the church. Should we get elected into parliament, should PSP be in power, PSP or the government shouldn’t be putting undue pressure on a news outlet,” adding that’s why he thinks the separation of duties is crucial.
Mr Pillai says he has stepped away from his editorial duties at The Independent and is allowing the site to continue to grow independently.