The candidates: Workers’ Party and Singapore Democratic Party

WP 'happy with crop of candidates'

WP chairman Sylvia Lim (third from left) and Mr Png Eng Huat (third from right) introduced new candidates Adrian Sim Tian Hock (left), He Ting Ru (second from left), L. Somasundaram (second from right), and Ron Tan Jun Yen (right) on Aug 28, 2015.
WP chairman Sylvia Lim (third from left) and Mr Png Eng Huat (third from right) introduced new candidates Adrian Sim Tian Hock (left), He Ting Ru (second from left), L. Somasundaram (second from right), and Ron Tan Jun Yen (right) on Aug 28, 2015.ST PHOTO: KELVIN LIM

Party has not found it harder to recruit candidates, says chairman

The Workers' Party (WP) is happy with the crop of candidates it has managed to attract to field for the upcoming polls, said its chairman Sylvia Lim.

The party will put up a record 28 candidates, including possibly 16 newbies, across five group representation constituencies (GRCs) and five single-member constituencies (SMCs). Among the 10 rookies introduced since Wednesday were two lawyers, two businessmen and a professor.

The party had not found it harder to draw candidates despite the shift in the PAP towards having more grassroots figures on its slate, she said. "We respect the right of everyone to join whichever party they want. I think that we are still happy that we are able to attract what we think are good candidates to offer to the public, so we let the public make that judgment," she added.

She said that this move by the PAP might stem from the ruling party's own perception that it was "elitist in the past".

"I perceive that they are trying to show they are connected with the ground. They are trying to show that more expressly perhaps because they perceive there's the perception they were a bit elitist.

"As to how important it is, I won't be able to answer for Singaporeans," said Ms Lim, speaking at the WP's third round of candidate introductions yesterday.

Among the PAP "grassroots" candidates with more than 10 years of grassroots service to be fielded for the Sept 11 elections is Ms Cheryl Chan, 38, who works in a gas and engineering firm and is set to be fielded in Fengshan SMC.

Others include senior IT manager Lee Hong Chuang, 45, Hougang SMC; former public servant Joan Pereira, 48, Tanjong Pagar GRC; and Ms Sun Xueling, 36, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

But Ms Lim stopped short of speculating if the PAP's change in candidate selection would affect the WP's branding as a party able to attract grassroots and private-sector profiles. Ms Lim also declined to make guesses on WP's vote share for the coming elections.

"One thing we've learnt about the election here is that people can swing significantly during the course of the campaign," she said.

"In the short period (of the nine-day hustings) many things can happen. Even a single sentence said by someone can make people vote differently."

The four WP candidates unveiled yesterday are corporate lawyer He Ting Ru, 32, businessman Adrian Sim, 43, real estate agent Ron Tan, 30, and polytechnic lecturer L. Somasundaram, 52. Mr Somasundaram stood at the 2011 polls in Moulmein-Kallang GRC.

The spotlight was on Ms He yesterday, who fielded four out of the seven questions posed to candidates. She joined the party in 2011, after spending about a decade working and studying abroad.

Ms He said many in her age group worry about "the pressures associated with setting out in life, about the cost of housing, the cost of having children, and the cost of care for their parents and grandparents. "They are also concerned about the dilution of the Singaporean core, and the impact large-scale immigration has on our society."

She also said "many Singaporeans felt that there were a lot of short-term solutions being pushed out without proper and due considerations for a... more holistic approach towards policymaking".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'WP 'happy with crop of candidates''. Print Edition | Subscribe