The candidates: Opposition

'Will be remiss if we do not speak up'

Professor Paul Tambyah speaking to the media during a SDP walkabout in Bukit Panjang on July 30, 2015.
Professor Paul Tambyah speaking to the media during a SDP walkabout in Bukit Panjang on July 30, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

Paul Ananth Tambyah, 50

Occupation: Medical professor at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Family: Married to Siok Kuan, a senior marketing lecturer at the NUS Business School

Education: Completed medical school at NUS and trained in infectious diseases at the University of Wisconsin

Hobbies: Reading and writing

Why politics?

Many people ask me this question: You have a relatively comfortable life as a doctor and a professor, so why do you get involved in politics?

And my answer is that I feel that there are many things which could be better in Singapore.

There are many people in Singapore who are struggling within the system, and even though we have an excellent healthcare system - we have very good doctors, very good nurses, very good allied health professionals - the healthcare financing system is based on certain assumptions which are morally questionable.

We in the SDP believe that healthcare is a basic human right. It is not a commodity that needs to be traded.

Why you?

What we want to do is to represent the people, and this is what we have been hearing on our walkabouts.

People are talking to us about the stress that their children face, the costs of looking after their parents, and the tremendous pressures and overcrowding of our infrastructure from an unbridled immigration policy.

So, we would be remiss if we didn't speak up for them. That is the whole point of having SDP as their voice in Parliament.

What issues will you focus on?

The obvious one that I am most concerned about is healthcare.

Other issues that I think are important that the people have brought up to us include education, the stresses and pressures of education, also population policy and housing.

These are the hot-button issues that most Singaporeans tell us they are concerned about.

Favourite spot in Singapore?

The Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Pearl Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline ''Will be remiss if we do not speak up''. Print Edition | Subscribe