PAP casting net wide for candidates

Several MPs, such as Joo Chiat MP and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Zainudin Nordin and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, had risen via the polytechnic route, said PM Lee Hsien Loong during a live television forum. --
Several MPs, such as Joo Chiat MP and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Zainudin Nordin and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, had risen via the polytechnic route, said PM Lee Hsien Loong during a live television forum. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

The People's Action Party (PAP) is casting its net wide for potential MPs to field in the next general election, and that includes looking at those who are polytechnic and ITE graduates.

But what matters more is that they are good people, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last night during a live television forum.

Amid the Government's recent move to get people to look beyond a university degree as the sole route to a good career and success, Mr Lee was asked whether there might be even more non-degree PAP candidates in the future.

"We are casting our net very wide, and we invite a lot of people to tea," he said. "We will try very hard to look for them. And whenever we find a good man or a good woman, we will field him," he added.

He said several PAP MPs, such as Joo Chiat MP and Deputy Speaker Charles Chong, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Zainudin Nordin and Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa, had risen via the polytechnic route.

But he added: "We didn't choose them because they were poly graduates, or despite them being poly graduates. We just chose them, and they happened to be. And I think that is the way it should be."

When contacted, Mr Zainudin, 51, who graduated from the French-Singapore Institute, a predecessor of Nanyang Polytechnic, said: "You can have as many paper qualifications as you want, but if you can't connect with the people and make a difference to their lives, a degree may not be the right measure." He later obtained a Master of Science in engineering.

RACHEL AU-YONG