SINGAPORE - Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Sunday introduced senior police officer Melvin Yong as the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate who will be contesting in his place in Moulmein at the coming general election.
This even as he bade farewell to residents after he had announced earlier this week that he was leaving politics after serving the ward - which is now under Moulmein-Kallang GRC - since 2006.
Mr Lui played on his surname and Mr Yong's Chinese name, Yi Cai, when making the introduction. He said: "Last time, it was 'Lui lai liao, (Hokkien for 'Money is coming'), now it's 'Cai lai liao'." Cai is Mandarin for fortune.
Mr Yong is expected to join the PAP team for Tanjong Pagar GRC, which takes in Moulmein when the electoral boundary changes kick in at the next polls.
The other members of the five-member GRC team are Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah, backbencher Chia Shi-Lu and former public servant Joan Pereira - another new face.
All were at the walkabout at Pek Kio market where Mr Yong was unveiled, except Dr Chia who was at another grassroots event.
Today is the Assistant Commissioner of Police's official last day of work in the force after he put in his papers for early retirement.
Mr Chan said Mr Yong is no stranger to Tanjong Pagar GRC because parts of constituency came under his watch when he was commander of Clementi Police Division from 2010 to 2014. The 43-year-old was also Head Investigation at the station, which is effectively the No. 2 man at the division, between 2004 and 2006.
"A formal announcement about the team will be made next week, but nonetheless we are happy that (Mr Yong) is here to join us and re-acquaint himself with Tanjong Pagar issues," added Mr Chan at the sidelines of the walkabout on Sunday.
PAP activists later surprised Mr Lui with a cake at the walkabout to celebrate his 54th birthday. Mr Lui joked that he felt like he was 108, "because the last nine years, you got to multiply it by seven."
Ms Indranee said she and her colleagues will miss Mr Lui, but told him: "We will build on the good work you have done."
Despite his upcoming retirement, Mr Lui said he will continue to visit residents as a private citizen. "Every time before I go for events, I would pray that I continue to see them, that they remain in good health," he said. "I will continue to do the same after I leave."
Looking ahead, he said that his focus will be on helping Mr Chan and Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim - a fellow MP at Moulmein-Kallang GRC and now Jalan Besar GRC - lead their teams to victory at the next polls. And if the new candidate needs his help, "I will support him in any way," he added.
However, longtime residents of Mr Lui's ward like Madam Koh Kwee Soh says the former Navy Chief will be missed. "Mr Lui is the best minister and MP," said the 85-year-old retiree. "I am very sad he is leaving, he has done so much for me."