Four co-opted onto PAP central executive committee

New additions to PAP's 34th Central Executive Committee are (from left) ministers Mr Masagos and Mr Ong, and MPs Mr Sitoh and Mr Murali.
New additions to PAP's 34th Central Executive Committee are (clockwise from top left) ministers Mr Masagos and Mr Ong, and MPs Mr Sitoh and Mr Murali.

Ong Ye Kung named an organising secretary, joins party's exco along with Masagos, Sitoh and Murali

The People's Action Party (PAP) yesterday added two younger ministers and two MPs who had tough electoral contests to its top decision-making body.

The four named to the party's 34th Central Executive Committee (CEC) are Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin and Bukit Batok MP Murali Pillai.

Mr Ong, a key member of the fourth-generation leadership team, was also appointed one of three organising secretaries, alongside Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing. Organising secretaries coordinate PAP activities and are the main link between the CEC and the 89 party branches.

The appointments were made at a CEC meeting yesterday, Mr Chan said in a statement.

There are 18 CEC members in all, 12 of whom were elected and two of whom were co-opted at the PAP conference last month.

At the conference, Mr Sitoh and Mr Murali were also held up by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for soldiering on in tough electoral fights, which the party is expected to face in future elections.

The duo, like Mr Ong, who stood in Aljunied GRC in 2011, did not get elected the first time they were fielded in a general election.

Mr Sitoh contested in opposition stronghold Potong Pasir unsuccessfully twice before winning it by 114 votes in the 2011 election, when its MP of 27 years Chiam See Tong did not stand there. Mr Sitoh retained the seat convincingly in 2015.

Mr Murali lost in Aljunied GRC in 2015 and was fielded in the Bukit Batok by-election last May.

Yesterday, Mr Sitoh told The Straits Times: "I will serve and work to the best of my ability."

Mr Murali said: "I will do my part to ensure our party remains rooted, responsive and above all, relevant."

The CEC also announced its office-bearers, largely unchanged from the previous committee. Mr Ong takes the organising secretary role previously held by Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, who did not contest last month's CEC election.

Mr Ong, in a Facebook post, thanked party leaders for the opportunity, and said: "I look forward to working closely with Mr Gan Kim Yong and Mr Chan Chun Sing, and build upon the good work of Dr Ng Eng Hen."

Mr Masagos said in a Facebook post that he was honoured to be co-opted: "I look forward to being part of the 34th CEC to serve our fellow Singaporeans."

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan remains party chairman, and Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim vice-chairman. PM Lee stays on as party secretary-general, and Deputy Prime Ministers Teo Chee Hean and Tharman Shanmugaratnam as first and second assistant secretary-general respectively.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say remains the treasurer, and Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam the assistant treasurer.

The other CEC members are Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, and ministers Grace Fu, Heng Swee Keat, Tan Chuan-Jin and Vivian Balakrishnan.

Ministers of State Teo Ser Luck and Sam Tan, who are not on the CEC, were named as assistant organising secretaries.

Minister of State Janil Puthucheary also takes over from Mr Chan Chun Sing as chairman of the PAP's youth wing, Young PAP. Mr Chan becomes adviser to Young PAP.

Ms Fu stays chair of the Women's Wing and Madam Halimah, chair of the Seniors' Group, PAP.SG.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2017, with the headline 'Four co-opted onto PAP central executive committee'. Print Edition | Subscribe