SINGAPORE - A day after the chairman of the People’s Action Party branch in Kaki Bukit in Aljunied GRC stepped down, the party introduced the man likely to replace him.
The new face is Mr Shamsul Kamar, 43, who has resigned from his position as a head of department in Spectra Secondary School, a specialised school for Normal (Technical) students. He is serving out his notice period until Aug 21.
He told The Straits Times: “I am now just coming back to Kaki Bukit to serve the residents.”
Mr Shamsul is no stranger to Kaki Bukit, having assisted in the PAP’s branch there when Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim was its MP from 2006 to 2011.
Both men moved to Nee Soon GRC in the 2011 General Election.
Former PAP chairman Lim Boon Heng made the announcement yesterday afternoon at a closed-door meeting in Bedok North, attended by Mr Shamsul, former branch chair Kahar Hassan and some 70 Kaki Bukit grassroots leaders.
Mr Lim told reporters later that the meeting was called as activists were unsettled by the PAP’s request for Mr Kahar, 45, to step down as the Kaki Bukit branch chairman, which he did last Friday.
“This afternoon's meeting was to explain to them why the party has made the change. I told them that there's nothing wrong with Mr Kahar. The change is not because there's a scandal, nothing of that sort,” said Mr Lim, who is a special adviser to the People’s Association.
In fact, Mr Kahar worked very hard in the past 16 months in Kaki Bukit to reassure residents that the PAP had not forgotten them even though the ward is “in opposition hands”, added Mr Lim.
The Workers’ Party beat the PAP in AljuniedGRC in 2011 with 54.7 per cent of the vote.
Instead, the PAP made the change because it has more candidates than it will field in the coming election.
Mr Lim said: “When the time comes nearer for the selection of actual candidates for the election, then the party will look at the whole slate of possible candidates in their respective constituencies and see which combination is the best fit that gives the PAP the best results.”
Although the party has put its potential candidates on the ground early to evaluate how they relate with residents and activists, Mr Lim said there is no absolute certainty about who will be fielded in each division until Nomination Day.
Mr Lim also said PAP seeks to serve the residents of Aljunied GRC by fielding a team there that can work for their benefit.
This does not necessarily mean a heavyweight candidate will be fielded, and it is possible that the PAP will field a slate of fresh candidates there, he added.
But Mr Lim said that among the party’s current possible candidates, “we already have a fairly strong, even if fresh, team of people”.
He cited as examples Bedok Reservoir-Punggol branch chair Victor Lye, a former government administrative officer, and Paya Lebar branch chair K Muralidharan Pillai, who heads law firm Rajah and Tann’s litigation department.
When asked about Serangoon North branch chair Chan Hui Yuh and Eunos branch chair Chua Eng Leong, Mr Lim said they were also possible candidates who have been working very hard on the ground.
On the activists’ response to his announcement, Mr Lim said: “When they came in and saw Mr Shamsul, they greeted an old friend. They were very happy to see him, because he's worked with them before.”