Candidates for the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) will begin to set out their plans and make a case for why they deserve voters' support in their constituencies very soon, party chairman Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.
Mr Khaw's comments come a day after the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's report, which outlines changes to constituencies ahead of the next general election that many expect will be called in the coming months.
"As we get closer to campaign period, I will expect the local candidates to be able to articulate what are their dreams, based on feedback from the residents, what contributions they can make, why should they be supported, what kind of work they expect to deliver to serve the people," he said.
"We can expect that kind of narratives and announcements over the next few weeks, or months."
Asked if the party was working towards a September election, Mr Khaw, who is National Development Minister, said: "We must assume elections are going to be tomorrow, so that must be the spirit in which we prepare (for them)."
The PAP has, in recent years, also deployed some potential candidates to various constituencies, although it has not confirmed whether, and where, they will be fielded. In previous elections, it also introduced candidates to the media weeks before campaigning began.
Asked when such introductions might take place this year, Mr Khaw said: "In good time, in due course."
Sembawang GRC, which he helms, has also been significantly affected by the latest round of boundary changes.
An estimated 53,177 voters from Nee Soon GRC will become part of the five-MP Sembawang GRC, and 61,061 voters from the old Sembawang GRC will be moved to the new four-MP Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
Mr Khaw said he would "love" to continue standing in Sembawang GRC, where he has been an MP for 10 years. He also assured voters who find themselves in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC that they should not "feel in any way neglected".
Explaining the boundary change in the area, Mr Khaw said Sembawang town was "a bit too small to be a complete GRC", as was Woodlands town.
"But to have a GRC that comprises both towns, that becomes too big," he said. "Regardless, we will continue to work together... so nobody will fall through the cracks."
Mr Khaw was also asked whether the increase in the number of smaller GRCs would affect the PAP. There will be six four-MP GRCs, up from the current two, and eight five-MP GRCs, down from 11.
"That has always been a request by people," he said. "They wanted more SMCs, smaller GRCs. As a local MP, I too prefer smaller, because we can really travel around the area frequently. If the area is big, of course you can also travel around the whole place, but it takes a bit longer. So small is beautiful."
At a separate event, the PAP vice-chairman, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said he and his fellow MPs in the new Jalan Besar GRC are prepared for the election, which many expect Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to call in the months ahead.
"We will (still) be serving the needs of the residents and looking at their infrastructure needs, what are the programmes they need, the services they need. That will continue," Dr Yaacob said.
"We will step up as and when PM decides to call the big day. We are all in gear, we have been preparing since the last election, we just have to be ready when PM presses the button. Where we will be deployed and all that is for him to decide."
•Additional reporting by Lester Hio