SINGAPORE - Two new faces will join the People's Action Party's slate in the contest for the Jurong Group Representative Constituency (GRC) in the coming general election.
They are former civil servant Rahayu Mahzam, 35, and oncologist Tan Wu Meng, 40.
The duo will join Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee and backbencher Ang Wei Neng in the five-member team.
Madam Rahayu, who was previously the deputy registrar of the Syariah court, fills the void left by Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, who will contest the newly-formed Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
A practising lawyer who specialises in civil litigation and family law, Mdm Rahayu has been an active volunteer in several Muslim organisations since 1997. She is married.
"I'm passionate about helping disadvantaged families, and I also hope to contribute to the development of polices to improve things for such families, as well as youths," said Madam Rahayu.
She also praised her mentor, Madam Halimah, whose Bukit Batok East ward she will take over if she is elected. "She has done a lot of hard work, and I'm inspired to maintain her and her grassroots leaders' high standards in taking care of residents."
Meanwhile, Dr Tan takes over from retiring three-term MP Arthur Fong, whose Clementi ward in West Coast GRC now falls under Jurong GRC due to the redrawn boundaries.
A separate office will be set up in Clementi for the convenience of residents, Mr Tharman said. If elected, the town council will be known as Jurong-Clementi.
Dr Tan, who is married with a daughter, received his medical training at the University of Cambridge's Trinity College. He is currently a consultant and specialist in medical oncology at the Parkway Cancer Centre, having begun his career at the National Cancer Centre Singapore.
Addressing the media in Mandarin, Malay and English, Dr Tan shared that entering politics was an "extension" of his work as a doctor.
"One of the things I learnt as a doctor is that life is very short and very unpredictable," he said. "Sometimes, the issue that determine a person's health are not just about numbers - it is also about family situations and in my work I try to take on a role beyond the clinic.
The new slate was revealed by Mr Tharman at the PAP's branch office in Clementi on Thursday (Aug 20).
"We have in Jurong GRC a team comprising experienced and fresh hands," he said. "Both Rahayu and Wu Meng have a heart for people."
He also announced that current Jurong GRC MP David Ong Kim Huat will defend his Bukit Batok ward, which has been hived off from Jurong to become a Single Member Constituency (SMC).
Bukit Batok was last a single-seat constituency at the 1991 General Election. Dr Chee Soon Juan's Singapore Democratic Party has already indicated its intention to contest there.
Jurong was the second-best performing GRC for the PAP (after Ang Mo Kio GRC) in 2011, with a winning percentage of 67.0 per cent against a National Solidarity Party team.
Their likely opponents this time round will be the Singaporeans First party led by 2011 presidential candidate Tan Jee Say.
On his team's approach, Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister said: "We believe in being on the ground all the time - we do it through extensive house visits and meeting with residents in their homes to find out their problems," he said.
"One of the things we have built up a good track record in is working with government agencies to ensure residents' problems are solved. We have also built up very strong teams of volunteers, young and old, and active programmes to provide care for the elderly.
"This is a government that is working very hard to build a better Singapore, and we started well before the last general election."
"No society can stand still or on its past achievements - it will require strong leadership and coordination on the ground. We've been doing it in Jurong and doing it with a heart.
"An election is always a battle for hearts and minds, we don't take any Singaporean for granted."
When asked how soon the general election will arrive, Mr Tharman replied: "We will have to wait for the Prime Minister to decide and make his announcement."
There will be 16 GRCs and 13 SMCs in the coming election.
With Thursday's announcements, the PAP has announced its candidates for eight GRCs and six Single Member Constituencies (SMCs).
The other GRCs are Bishan-Toa Payoh, Sembawang, Ang Mo Kio, Chua Chu Kang, Jalan Besar, West Coast and Tanjong Pagar, while the SMCs are Hougang, Sengkang West, Pioneer, Potong Pasir and Radin Mas.
Including Madam Rahayu and Dr Tan, 11 new faces have been unveiled by the ruling party.