The Workers’ Party (WP) on Saturday (27 June) introduced its third batch of candidates for the coming general election.
Nathaniel Koh Kim Kui, 36, is an IT professional specialising in digital product management.
He is a first-time candidate. In GE 2015, he was an election agent and led a team of volunteers in Sengkang West single-member constituency (SMC).
Mr Koh was in WP’s Youth Wing executive committee, and has assisted Aljunied GRC candidate Faisal Manap in Meet-the-People sessions during the latter’s previous terms in Parliament.
An Information Systems graduate with a second major in Political Science from the Singapore Management University (SMU), Mr Koh said that he has been a part of WP since his university days on top of being heavily involved in student leadership activities at the time.
He views politics as a “continuation” of his journey “to serve Singapore and Singaporeans” and to help the country forge a “clearer path to navigate challenges ahead”.
Touching on issues he plans to advocate if elected, Mr Koh said that he will strive to push for policies to remove roadblocks in the way of Singaporeans building their own families.
What Singaporeans need in such a context are not just “monetary incentives” but also social ones, and he hopes to help mothers return to the workforce “without much obstacles”.
Lawyer Muhammad Fadli Bin Mohammed Fawzi, 39, has served as a town councillor in the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC).
Mr Fadli said he has always had a “soft spot for the underdog”, and felt moved to attend alternative parties’ election rallies from when he was younger.
Previously serving as a senior policy development officer with statutory board Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), Mr Fadli said that he went for a mid-career switch as he wanted to be more involved in facilitating change.
Studying sociology at university, he said, opened his eyes to how politics underlies many existing structures and who truly holds power in societies.
For that reason, he pursued Law at SMU, throughout which he relied on study loans and earning money through tutoring to finance his studies.
He wants to advocate for and facilitate processes for working professionals to embark on a mid-career switch via policies such as converting loans to grants for those wanting to obtain further academic qualifications.
Mr Fadli also wishes to reframe the notion that the problems faced by the Malay community are a result of inherent deficiencies within the community or its culture.
He argued that problems faced by the Malay community in Singapore, in reality, largely stem from systemic and structural issues along class and socioeconomic lines, and seeks to solve problems from such a perspective rather than resorting to “narrow, community-specific solutions”.
Trained quantity surveyor and contract administrator Tan Chen Chen, is a graduate of Singapore Polytechnic and RMIT University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management.
She has been an active member of WP in the Bedok Division of Aljunied GRC under previous secretary-general Low Thia Khiang.
WP also introduced two returning candidates for the upcoming GE.
Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, 43, deputy director of a charity organisation, contested in Nee Soon GRC in GE 2015. He has been shouldering the roles of WP’s deputy organising secretary and a legislative assistant to party chair Sylvia Lim, and has been greatly involved in the party’s outreach programmes.
Citing values such as accountability, responsibility, transparency, Mr Foo highlighted how WP has voted in Parliament against the GST hike due to a lack of concrete details behind the move.
A “strong opposition” party, he said, will hold the government accountable for questions that are “half-answered” or unanswered.
Lawyer Terrence Tan, 49, led the WP candidate team in the Marine Parade GRC last election.
He owns a law firm specialising in litigation commercial disputes, and is frequently involved with legal aid initiatives such as the Hougang Community Legal Clinic.
A central executive committee member in WP, Mr Tan began volunteering with WP in 2011 and has assisted previous Aljunied GRC MP Faisal Manap in Meet-the-People Sessions.
The interest of Singaporeans, he said, should be at the “very forefront of government policies”.
This is why the function of Parliament, he said, is “not to rubber-stamp Government bills”, but to have “rigorous debates” on whether its policies will benefit Singaporeans.
Singaporeans need more constructive alternative voices in Parliament to call out instances “where the emperor may not wear clothes” in terms of putting forth policies for the people and the nation, said Mr Tan.
Responding to a question from Mothership on what the two returning candidates would do differently, Mr Tan said that he has harboured thoughts on whether he will be “good enough” to carry the “huge weight of responsibility” of being a parliamentarian.
Even when acting as a defence lawyer for death row prisoners, he experienced the fear of the prospect that his clients might be sent to the gallows as a result of his mistake.
However, Mr Tan acknowledged that “life is a journey”.
“I look ahead — I don’t look behind,” he added.
Mr Foo said that this election in itself is already going to be very different from the previous ones.
Some of WP’s past proposals that were rejected in Parliament such as the redundancy insurance policy can still prove to be useful in the future and even in the present, as the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on economies domestically and globally, he added.