SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party (WP) unveiled its first batch of potential candidates for the upcoming general election at its Syed Alwi Road headquarters on Wednesday (Aug 26) afternoon.
Among them were new faces Daniel Goh, 42, an associate professor of sociology at the National University of Singapore, engineer Redzwan Hafidz, 30, and RHB Bank wealth manager Dylan Ng, 40.
Software engineer Koh Choong Yong, 42, was the fourth member introduced. Mr Koh had contested Sengkang West single-member constituency (SMC) at the 2011 General Election, garnering 41.9 per cent of the vote against People's Action Party MP Lam Pin Min.
In his opening address to a room packed with reporters, WP chief Low Thia Khiang announced that the party's theme this time will be "empower your future".
He said: "In 2006: You have a choice. In 2011: Towards a first world parliament. We need to now think about the future and take stock of the past. What we need to succeed in future may not be the same as what we depended on in the past.
"Generally, you might want to think about whether you want to continue to let the PAP decide your future - or if you want to participate and have a say in the kind of future you want."
Mr Goh said his son had inspired him to join the WP as a member two years ago. He has been volunteering since the 2011 General Election. "We need a democracy of the rational and respectable kind to empower our future generations," he added.
Mr Redzwan, a member of the party's youth wing, shared that his wife is a civil servant, so the "fear of joining the opposition" was real for him. He intends to raise housing issues if elected.
Next to speak was Mr Koh, who stated in Mandarin his desire to help reduce the "imbalance in Parliament". He has been with the WP since 2006 and has been touted to challenge Dr Lam again in Sengkang West.
Mr Ng, meanwhile, is keen to explore how he can contribute to the community. "There are many issues that can be improved upon, such as the bread-and-butter issues and population. Residents have told me that they are worried about the rising cost of living and increase of foreigners in their midst."
Mr Low did not say which constituencies the quartet would be contesting in at the coming polls.
On July 26, party chairman Sylvia Lim revealed that it would be fielding a record 28 candidates - up from 23 in 2011 - in five group representation constituencies (GRCs) and five SMCs.
Apart from Aljunied GRC, Hougang SMC and Punggol East SMC which WP currently holds, it is contesting East Coast, Jalan Besar, Marine Parade and Nee Soon GRCs, as well as Fengshan, MacPherson and Sengkang West SMCs.
Non-constituency MP Gerald Giam and Aljunied MP Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap visited the Elections Department headquarters on Wednesday morning to collect nomination papers on behalf of the party.
Mr Giam, 37, confirmed that he was one of the 28 candidates contesting the coming polls.
The pair also submitted the candidates' Political Donation Certificates and certificates from the Malay Community Committee and the Indian and Other Minority Communities Committee, ahead of the deadline on Aug 28.
The Straits Times previously identified as many as 16 new faces who could be on the party's slate, half of whom hail from the private sector. Their ages range between 27 and 48.
Asked about the big proportion of new faces, Mr Low revealed that the party had attracted quite a number of good people in the past few years, and that it bode well for leadership renewal.
"If the PAP plans for this, opposition parties must also do it. We will need some time to groom the next generation of WP's leadership depending on the results of this election.
He added that the WP's vision and that of the PAP for Singapore are probably not too different.
"We are a realistic party; we don't have unrealistic ideas."