GE2015: 7 new faces to watch this election

PAP candidate for Fengshan SMC Cheryl Chan.
PAP candidate for Fengshan SMC Cheryl Chan.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - The Sept 11 General Election will see 181 candidates competing for 89 seats in Parliament. Of the candidates, more than 70 are new faces to the electorate. We zoom in on seven new faces to watch:

1. CHERYL CHAN, 38, engineer

PAP candidate for Fengshan SMC

Who is she:

A long-time PAP activist, Ms Chan has been volunteering for more than 10 years in Fengshan ward. She is single.

She's someone to watch because:

New face in a hot seat. It will be interesting to see if she can hold her own in the face of competition from the Workers' Party candidate, lawyer Dennis Tan. She is also the first new PAP candidate to be fielded in a new SMC in nearly three decades.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong described her as someone who exuded quiet confidence at her candidate interview and is "ready for any opposition parachutists".

What she cares about:

She hopes to campaign for more help for the elderly and for children from less privileged backgrounds.

In her own words (in Mandarin):

"Orh luak is not my favourite local food, but laksa. And at the Block 85 food centre, bak chor mee is the best dish, not orh luak."

That was her riposte to WP chairman Sylvia Lim's Instagram post on the "heavenly" taste of orh luak (oyster omelette) in Fengshan, which had fed speculation that she might contest the ward.

2. HE TING RU, 32, lawyer


Ms He Ting Ru during a press conference on Aug 28, 2015. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 

WP candidate for Marine Parade GRC

Who is she:

The lawyer started volunteering with the WP in 2011. She also has eight rescued cats and lists kendo as a hobby.

She's someone to watch because:

Of her credentials. She did Natural Sciences in Cambridge, then went on to read law in London. She practised law in London and Frankfurt before returning to Singapore in 2013. She is the head of legal in a listed company here.

The young, well-spoken corporate lawyer has been dubbed the next Nicole Seah, the National Solidarity Party candidate who shot to prominence in the 2011 polls.

What she cares about:

Cost of housing and raising children, dilution of the Singapore core.

In her own words:

"We should be finding ways for (Singaporeans) to contribute more actively in shaping the policies and values of our country... I do not think we should rely solely on a few natural aristocrats to do so."

3. NG CHEE MENG, 47, former Chief of Defence Force


Mr Ng Chee Meng (left) and Ms Sun Xueling (centre), greet residents at Edgefield Plains after a press conference on Aug 22, 2015. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG 

PAP candidate for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Who is he:

The three-star general is the highest-ranking military officer to enter politics. Two of his brothers, Chee Peng and Chee Khern, are top civil servants and former military officers. He is married with two daughters.

He's someone to watch because:

He has been tipped to be an office holder, following in the footsteps of senior military officers who have joined PAP before him.

What he cares about:

Social mobility.

In his own words:

"My journey in the SAF has come to an end. I've chased the rainbow with my wife by my side. When I finished, there was really a rainbow. How nice." This was after a rainbow appeared when he did his "fini flight" - his final flight before retiring - on an F-5S Tiger fighter jet in mid-August.

4. DR PAUL TAMBYAH, 50, medical professor


Dr Paul Tambyah speaking to the media during a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) walkabout in Bukit Panjang on July 30, 2015.  PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Who is he:

The full professor at the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine is an infectious diseases expert. He is married.

He's someone to watch because:

He is touted to be the SDP's star candidate. Dr Tambyah is a professor of medicine at NUS and a senior consultant for infectious disease at the National University Hospital (NUH). He is also a past president of the Society of Infectious Diseases (Singapore). The medical professional with more than 20 years' experience has been instrumental in crafting alternative healthcare policies for the SDP.

What he cares about:

Healthcare costs.

In his own words:

"We believe healthcare is a basic right, not a commodity to be traded."

5. CHEE HONG TAT, 41, former senior civil servant


Mr Chee Hong Tat during a house visit on Aug 29, 2015. ST PHOTO:  LAU FOOK KONG

PAP candidate for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

Who is he:

His last-held post was Second Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. He was also principal private secretary to then-Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew in 2008. He is married with four children.

He's someone to watch because:

He is likely to be an office holder.

What he cares about:

Community work.

In his own words:

"We were taught to be grateful and hard-working... From that I learned to not be afraid of suffering but give my all to my country." He was speaking about how he came from a traditional family, when he was introduced as a candidate. He spoke in Hokkien and Mandarin.

6. DR DANIEL GOH, 42, sociologist


Dr Daniel Goh during a press conference on Aug 26, 2015.  PHOTO: BT FILE

Workers' Party candidate for East Coast GRC

Who is he:

The associate professor of sociology at NUS been volunteering with the WP since the 2011 election. He is married with one child.

He is someone to watch because:

His credentials. He has a doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and is the deputy head of the Department of Sociology in NUS. He was part of a team that put together WP's manifesto and is part of WP's second team, contesting East Coast GRC. A pitched battle with the PAP team led by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say is expected in East Coast.

What he cares about:

Growing the resident workforce.

In his own words:

"The Government has misunderstood the problem of low fertility. The Government's mindset on ageing society needs to change. (It) is not a disaster, but a triumph of development."

7. MR K. MURALIDHARAN PILLAI, 47, lawyer


Mr K. Muralidharan Pillai speaking at the launch of the People's Action Party's manifesto on Aug 29, 2015.

PAP candidate for Aljunied GRC

Who is he:

Known as Murali, Mr Pillai is the son of an ex-political detainee, P.K. Pillai. He was the PAP branch secretary in Bukit Batok for many years. He is married with four children.

He is someone to watch because:

He heads the commercial litigation department at Rajah & Tann, one of Singapore's biggest law firms, and has 100 lawyers reporting to him. Former minister Lim Boon Heng referred to the lawyer as the "heavyweight" of the PAP Aljunied GRC team.

What he cares about:

Inclusivity and accountability.

In his own words:

"I don't know how long my political career will last. It could be 10 days, (but) I'm not fazed by the odds. I will fight this election with all my heart."