The Straits Times
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Published on Jan 10, 2013
 
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Dr Koh Poh Koon confirmed as PAP candidate for Punggol East

 
 

The People's Action Party on Thursday morning officially unveiled its candidate, Dr Koh Poh Koon, for Punggol East.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, in presenting Dr Koh at a press conference held at the PAP's Punggol East SMC Branch, said that the PAP had been planning to field him for the next General Election and after considering several candidates, "felt he would be the best candidate for Punggol East".

"He has the commitment and energy to look after Punggol East well. With his experience and perspective, he will be able to contribute insights to national politics,"" said Mr Teo.

The 40-year-old colorectal surgeon told reporters that running in Punggol East was "like coming home" for him as he was born and raised in Punggol.

When he was called to serve, he said felt "duty-bound to stand and be counted".

The picture that has emerged of this political newbie is one of an "HDB heartlander" with humble beginnings who in fluent in English, Mandarin and Teochew.

The father of two young children spent his early childhood in a farmhouse at Lorong Cheng Lim in Punggol. His family moved to a four-room HDB flat when he was three. And as the eldest child, he often worked odd jobs in his younger days to help support the family. He was educated in MacRitchie Primary School, Maris Stella High School and Hwa Chong Junior College before securing a place at NUS to study medicine after completing his 'A' levels.

He credited Singapore's meritocratic system for his success, saying: "I want to help create the same opportunities for all Singporeans to realise their fullest potential."

"As a HDB heartlander myself, I can readily identify with many of the issues and daily struggles faced by Singaporeans. I want to make our community a better place to live in and to create opportunities for a better future," said Dr Koh, who lives in an HDB flat which he bought on a loan from his uncle.

"As a son of Punggol, I will do my utmost together with my team of grassroot leaders and volunteers to make Punggol East a better place to live in," he said.

Added DPM Teo: "We're glad that we are able to offer a committed and capable candidate who will be able to serve them well for many years to come. I encourage the residents to support him."