PAP's Tin Pei Ling will defend MacPherson single-seat ward in coming general election

Ms Tin Pei Ling speaking to the press at PAP's MacPherson Branch on Aug 21, 2015.
Ms Tin Pei Ling speaking to the press at PAP's MacPherson Branch on Aug 21, 2015. ST PHOTO: JANICE HENG
Ms Tin Pei Ling during a walkabout in Macpherson Block 89 Market on July 27, 2015.
Ms Tin Pei Ling during a walkabout in Macpherson Block 89 Market on July 27, 2015. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Ms Tin Pei Ling during a walkabout in Macpherson Block 89 Market on July 27, 2015.
Ms Tin Pei Ling during a walkabout in Macpherson Block 89 Market on July 27, 2015.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

SINGAPORE - Ms Tin Pei Ling, the People's Action Party's (PAP) youngest MP, has been confirmed as its candidate in MacPherson single-member constituency (SMC) for the coming general election.

The 31-year-old, who gave birth to a boy on Aug 5, made the announcement at the PAP's MacPherson branch office flanked by four grassroots volunteers in Pipit Road on Friday (Aug 21) evening.

Thanking her volunteers, Ms Tin said: "Today I thought it would be nice to have my team seated here... Actually in MacPherson, a lot of things that I do I don't do alone, I do with my team."

Citing improvements in infrastructure in the ward and programmes that were put in place to help residents, such as a milk powder scheme for low-income families, she said her team has "delivered more than what we promised in 2011".

 

She added that she hopes to continue to be the residents' voice in Parliament for the next five years.

The new mum also said she expects to be back in action soon, adding: "To all the working mothers out there, I just want to say, kudos to all of you."

She said she will not be campaigning with her son, Ng Kee Hau, as she is not aiming for the "sympathy vote". Her parents will help care for him.

When asked about maternity leave for single mothers, she said she believes single mothers should get equal maternity leave, and would advocate for them if she is re-elected.

Ms Tin is the ward's incumbent MP, having been part of the Marine Parade Group Representative Constituency (GRC) team that defeated a National Solidarity Party (NSP) team with a vote share of 56.6 per cent in 2011.

The ward was carved out from the GRC following the redrawing of the electoral boundaries in July.

 

When asked on Friday if the ward was carved out of Marine Parade as it was perceived as the "weak link", she said the results will speak for themselves.

There has been much interest over whether the ruling party would allow Ms Tin, who came under some criticism at the last election, to defend her seat. At 27 then, she was deemed too young, inexperienced and lacking in substance.

At Friday's press conference, she admitted that "it was a very rocky and I would say painful start at the beginning". But she believes that she is now better-placed to represent residents' needs because of her experience as an MP for the ward.

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, an MP of Marine Parade GRC, quelled speculation by handing Ms Tin the PAP's mandate on the same day she gave birth.

Ms Tin, who quit her job at auditing firm Ernst & Young to focus on her duties as MP four years ago, also earned the praise of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last August. PM Lee said she had "worked hard to win over the hearts and minds of her residents".

A three-cornered fight is on the cards for Ms Tin, who could face candidates from the Workers' Party and the NSP. Both parties, however, have yet to reveal their candidates.

The NSP on Wednesday made a surprising U-turn by announcing its intention to contest the ward although it had earlier promised to step aside to allow a straight fight between the PAP and the WP.

The move prompted the resignation of acting secretary-general Hazel Poa, who said she "strongly disagreed" with her party's decision.

This is MacPherson's third appearance as a single-seat constituency.

Former Minister for Education, Health and Home Affairs Chua Sian Chin was its MP from 1968 to 1991, before it was absorbed into Marine Parade GRC. It was carved out as a single ward again at the 1997 general election, when the PAP's Mr Matthias Yao was elected. He served the ward for three terms until 2006.

Along with Ms Tin, two other PAP candidates standing in SMCs were confirmed earlier on Friday - Dr Amy Khor for Hong Kah North and Mr Lim Biow Chuan for Mountbatten.

PAP candidates for nine of the 13 SMCs being contested, including Bukit Batok, Hougang, Pioneer, Potong Pasir, Radin Mas and Sengkang West, have been announced.

Its slates for nine of the 16 GRCs have also been unveiled: Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Chua Chu Kang, Jalan Besar, Jurong, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Sembawang, Tanjong Pagar and West Coast.