SINGAPORE - Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say will lead an experienced People's Action Party (PAP) team into battle in what is expected to be one of the most keenly-fought contests at the coming general election.
Lining up alongside the 61-year-old in East Coast group representation constituency (GRC) are Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan, 53, Minister of State for National Development and Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman, 50, and two-term backbencher Jessica Tan, 49.
Mr Lim made the announcement at the party's branch office in Bedok on Thursday (Aug 27) morning. Grassroots volunteer and new face Cheryl Chan, 38, was also unveiled as the PAP's candidate for Fengshan single-member constituency (SMC).
East Coast was the PAP's worst-performing GRC that won in the 2011 General Election, polling 54.8 per cent of the vote share against a team from the Workers' Party (WP). The result was a hefty nine per cent fall (63.9 per cent) from the 2006 General Election.
It has since been downsized from a five- to four-member GRC, with its Fengshan division spun off to create a single-seat ward. Fengshan's incumbent MP, former Transport Minister Raymond Lim, announced his retirement from politics on Aug 15.
Significantly, the ruling party will be fielding an unchanged line-up in the constituency, which is currently the smallest of the six four-member GRCs with an estimated 99,015 voters.
Fengshan's separation from East Coast has been a much-discussed topic in recent weeks - experts say the move was made to preserve the PAP's grip on the GRC. Fengshan was believed to have been the cause of East Coast's lacklustre 2011 performance.
The WP has predictably kept its cards close to its chest, but Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam is being touted to lead the party's team again.
Mr Giam could be joined by three of four new faces: sociologist Daniel Goh, law firm partner Dennis Tan, research and consultancy firm CEO Leon Perera and librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff.
Mr Goh, 42, who lectures at the National University of Singapore, was one of the candidates unveiled by party chief Low Thia Khiang on Wednesday.
Later on Thursday, it was announced that veteran PAP MP Charles Chong will stand in Punggol East SMC, leaving Aljunied GRC as the only constituency slate yet to be unveiled by the ruling party.