MP Irene Ng announces that she is stepping down

Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from right) and Heng Swee Keat (third from right) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat on Aug 7, 2015.
Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from right) and Heng Swee Keat (third from right) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat on Aug 7, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from right) and Heng Swee Keat (right) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat on Aug 7, 2015.
Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from right) and Heng Swee Keat (right) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat on Aug 7, 2015.ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG
Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from left) and Heng Swee Keat (left) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat Aug 7, 2015.
Tampines MPs Irene Ng (second from left) and Heng Swee Keat (left) interacting with residents during a National Day Family Carnival at Tampines Changkat Aug 7, 2015. ST PHOTO: LIM YAN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Three-term MP for Tampines GRC Irene Ng announced on Friday (Aug 7) that she will be stepping down and will not be running in the coming general election.

Ms Ng, who is MP for the Tampines Changkat ward, said she had asked Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong some time last year if she could step down to make way for new blood.

"It was not an easy decision to make as I have come to be very close to this community, and all of you have become like family," she said in a speech during a National Day Family Carnival.

Ms Ng, who came to office in 2001, added that it was a "joy and honour" to have served, and that she was proud to belong to a political party that stands for important values such as social justice, multi-racial unity and equality of opportunity for all.

"I also believe in one of the PAP's key tenets - leadership renewal - and fully support this," she said.

Ms Ng has been widely tipped to be succeeded by Mr Desmond Choo, who is deputy director at the National Trades Union Congress.

Mr Choo previously contested against the Workers' Party's Yaw Shin Leong in Hougang in the 2011 General Election, and in the Hougang by-election a year later.

He was last year named the second adviser to grassroots organisations in Tampines East - a ward currently helmed by Mr Mah Bow Tan. In February, Mr Choo took up the same position in Tampines Changkat, under Ms Ng.

He did not attend Friday's event.

Fellow Tampines GRC MP and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who was a special guest at the community event, said that Ms Ng had served Tampines with distinction, and was also "a very fierce MP" in Parliament.

One of the things that she had pushed for very passionately was to make Tampines the first cycling town in Singapore, he added.

"So now, Tampines has a park connector, has a cycling network, and we probably have the most number of bicycles per head in the whole of Singapore," he said.

"It is a legacy that Irene has built for all of us, and we will build on that and we will make Tampines an even better cycling town."