Tin Pei Ling eager to stand in MacPherson

Ms Tin Pei Ling (white top) being hugged by MacPherson resident, Madam Fatimah Buang, 75, during her visit to a market yesterday.
Ms Tin Pei Ling (white top) being hugged by MacPherson resident, Madam Fatimah Buang, 75, during her visit to a market yesterday.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

First-term Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling is all set to go solo in the next elections in her MacPherson ward, which will no longer be part of Marine Parade GRC.

The signs pointing to this were clear when she visited two markets in her ward yesterday with fellow Marine Parade GRC MP Tan Chuan-Jin, two days after the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee released its report.

First, there was Mr Tan's call as he greeted residents at breakfast there to "please support Pei Ling, she really cares for you".

Mr Tan, the Social and Family Development Minister, said when speaking to reporters later: "Although it's a Single-Member Constituency (SMC), we will continue to work closely with Pei Ling. She's been working hard here. From the responses of residents and many of the shopkeepers here, it's very encouraging."

Asked again if Ms Tin should contest, he said that "certainly, the Prime Minister will have his own reasons for letting Pei Ling run as an individual".

One of the electoral boundaries committee's recommendations was for MacPherson to be carved out of Marine Parade GRC as an SMC. It had been an SMC since it was formed in 1968, save for two elections in 1991 and 2011 when it was part of Marine Parade GRC.

Yesterday, Ms Tin, 31, said she wanted to remain in MacPherson. But what if her People's Action Party decides otherwise?

She replied: "I hope not... I have built a strong bond in MacPherson. I'm familiar with the people and I love the people here... So far, it will still be me here at MacPherson, even as a single seat."

If fielded, Ms Tin is likely to face several challengers as the Workers' Party, National Solidarity Party and Singaporeans First party have all expressed interest in the ward.

The PAP candidate who last contested in MacPherson when it was an SMC was Mr Matthias Yao in 2006. He won 68.48 per cent of the vote against Mr Sin Kek Tong of the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) .

A heavily pregnant Ms Tin, who is due any day now, told reporters that she would be back by the time election campaigning starts.

As she walked around the wet market and food centre at Block 89, Circuit Road, several elderly residents stopped and asked her to rest. But she quipped: "I heard walking around is better for me. It'll make my delivery easier."

Many also took selfies with her. Among them was retiree Lam Mui, 69, a Still Road resident, who said: "She's a very good MP, many people think so."

Tham Yuen-C

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Tin Pei Ling eager to stand in MacPherson'. Print Edition | Subscribe