Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs introduce new face

Ms Joan Pereira greeting a diner at Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre yesterday morning during a walkabout when she was introduced as a new face in Tanjong Pagar GRC. She is no stranger to the area, having worked at Queenstown Community Centre
Ms Joan Pereira greeting a diner at Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre yesterday morning during a walkabout when she was introduced as a new face in Tanjong Pagar GRC. She is no stranger to the area, having worked at Queenstown Community Centre for over a decade.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Just two days after the release of the electoral boundaries report, Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs introduced a potential colleague to residents.

Former public servant Joan Pereira greeted residents and diners at Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre yesterday morning.

She was accompanied by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah, MPs Lily Neo and Chia Shi-Lu and about 30 People's Action Party activists.

But Ms Pereira, who turns 48 in August, is no stranger to the area. She started her career in the People's Association at Queenstown Community Centre in 1992 and worked there for over a decade. And from 2007 to April this year, she was the PA's director of Family Life and Active Ageing - which put her in contact with a constituency that has one of the highest percentages of elderly residents.

"I find deep fulfilment in serving the elderly. Indeed, there is a joy when I help them," she told reporters after the walkabout.

Mr Chan said he was "happy to have Joan helping us in the team" as the GRC is committed to taking care of its residents, even as a general election seems imminent.

Her introduction to residents on the weekend added to speculation that she will contest the next polls. Asked if she will be on the Tanjong Pagar GRC slate, Ms Indranee said:

"I would say that she is a new face rather than a new candidate because the latter is very much the Prime Minister's prerogative."

After leaving the PA, Ms Pereira joined Temasek Cares - the charity arm of Temasek Holdings - as its assistant general manager.

She has shadowed Ms Indranee in the Tanglin-Cairnhill ward and helped in activities such as Meet-the-People sessions since May.

Both women have drawn comparisons for their similar hairstyle and height. Ms Pereira stands at 1.66m and Ms Indranee is a centimetre shorter. Both their mothers are also Cantonese.

But Ms Indranee said that despite the similarities, "Joan very much has her own personality. There is no cloning process."

Ms Pereira said her family has been extremely supportive of her foray into politics. Her husband Eric Lum, 51, is general manager of a marine transportation company, and they have two daughters, aged 20 and 17.

The GRC's fifth MP was former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who died in March.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Tanjong Pagar GRC MPs introduce new face'. Print Edition | Subscribe