SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) on Friday (Aug 21) officially unveiled its candidate slate for Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representative Constituency (GRC), the only brand-new constituency on the 2015 electoral landscape.
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong and Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob will co-anchor the four-member team alongside backbenchers Alex Yam and Ong Teng Koon, announced Mr Wong amid a void deck party at Block 3, Marsiling Drive.
The quartet joined some 200 Pioneer Generation residents in song and dance items at the party, and served them lunch before the press conference.
"This may be a new GRC but Marsiling is also one of the oldest estates in Singapore. We want to build on its rich history and do more for Marsiling-Yew Tee," said Mr Wong, as he pledged to add more community spaces and programmes for residents, as well as to do more to help disadvantaged groups.
Added Madam Halimah, who will focus on the Marsiling ward: "We will work very hard and serve with passion, dedication and a heart."
Marsiling-Yew Tee, which takes in large chunks of territory from the existing Chua Chu Kang GRC and Sembawang GRC, was created due to significant population growth in recent years.
It has an estimated 107,527 voters, the second highest (behind Chua Chu Kang's 119,848) among the current six four-member GRCs.
The PAP's line-up has been an open secret ever since Mr Wong revealed on Aug 13 that he had invited Madam Halimah to join him in the GRC. Retiring Sembawang GRC MP Hawazi Daipi also hinted at the slate during a community event five days ago.
Mr Wong, 42, first announced the move from his current seat in West Coast GRC to Marsiling-Yew Tee on Aug 2.
He requested for Madam Halimah to be redeployed from Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam's Jurong GRC team, citing the 60-year-old's strong track record as a three-term MP.
Mr Yam and Mr Ong, who are from Chua Chu Kang GRC and Sembawang GRC respectively, will continue to represent their current wards if elected.
Mr Wong and Madam Halimah's leadership will most likely be tested by a team from Dr Chee Soon Juan's Singapore Democratic Party, which has indicated its interest in contesting.
The SDP fielded a team in Sembawang GRC at the 2011 general election, where it lost to the PAP after winning 36.1 per cent of the votes.
"We welcome a contest (from the SDP). For me and Madam Halimah, we are new but we are not coming in with a zero base. The area covered under this GRC has been under the PAP's stewardship for many years and collectively we have a track record," said Mr Wong.
"Rather than focusing on the competition, we want to focus on the people and the programmes we have in place. How to serve the people - that's the most important thing."
"This election comes at an important inflection point in our history - much of what Singapore has achieved in the past 50 years was built on the strong relationships between the PAP and the people.
"As Singaporeans go into the election, we should ask whether we want to strengthen this special partnership and do more together into the future."
There will be 16 GRCs and 13 SMCs in the coming election.
Marsiling-Yew Tee's line-up is the ninth GRC that has been announced by the PAP so far. The others are Ang Mo Kio, Bishan-Toa Payoh, Chua Chu Kang, Jalan Besar, Jurong, Sembawang, Tanjong Pagar and West Coast.
The ruling party's candidates for Hong Kah North and Mountbatten Single Member Constituencies (SMCs) were also confirmed earlier on Friday, adding to the six - Bukit Batok, Hougang, Pioneer, Potong Pasir, Radin Mas and Sengkang West - already unveiled.