S'pore faces challenge of 'three peaks': Swee Say

East Coast GRC candidates Lim Swee Say (third from left), Jessica Tan (third from right), Maliki Osman (second from right), and Lee Yi Shyan (right), and Fengshan SMC new face Cheryl Chan (second from left) to contest in place of outgoing Raymond Lim
East Coast GRC candidates Lim Swee Say (third from left), Jessica Tan (third from right), Maliki Osman (second from right), and Lee Yi Shyan (right), and Fengshan SMC new face Cheryl Chan (second from left) to contest in place of outgoing Raymond Lim (left).ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The leaders who emerge from the Sept 11 General Election will have to tackle key challenges posed by peaks in Singapore's workforce, population and the elderly.

Calling them the "three peaks", Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said yesterday that much is at stake at the polls because strategies will have to be found to address the implications of these issues.

"The way we grew our economy in the past... is no longer sustainable. It was the right strategy for the last decade, but it would not be the right strategy for the next decade and beyond," he said.

This is why it is important that voters back candidates who can help take the country forward over the next 50 years, he added.

"It's important to make sure that at the local level, we're electing people who can serve the community at the local level," he said.

"But I think it's even more important for us to put together a team to ensure that we can lead; we can serve Singapore at the national level for the next 10, 20, 50 years."

He was speaking at the People's Action Party's (PAP) Bedok branch, where the PAP candidates for East Coast GRC and Fengshan, the single-member constituency carved out of the group representation constituency, were introduced.

Ending speculation over who it would field in Fengshan, the party named long-time grassroots worker Cheryl Chan, 38. She replaces former minister Raymond Lim, who is quitting politics, and is expected to face a Workers' Party (WP) opponent, who is yet to be named.

The four remaining East Coast GRC incumbents will run again - anchor minister Lim Swee Say, 61, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan, 53, Minister of State for National Development and Defence Mohamad Maliki Osman, 50, and two-term backbencher Jessica Tan, 49. In 2011, they won with just 54.8 per cent of the vote, a nine-point drop from 2006.

Meanwhile, PAP veteran Charles Chong, 62, settled another question by announcing that he will try to take back Punggol East SMC from WP incumbent Lee Li Lian. He issued a statement, breaking from the PAP tradition of holding a press conference.

The WP, Singapore Democratic Party and Reform Party (RP) introduced candidates as well.

While introducing his candidates for West Coast GRC and Radin Mas SMC, RP chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam said the party believes every Singaporean below 16 should get a $300 monthly child benefit, and everyone over 65, a $500 monthly pension.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore faces challenge of 'three peaks': Swee Say'. Print Edition | Subscribe