Singapore GE2020: PAP's Malay candidates are 'role models from diverse backgrounds'

(Clockwise from top left) Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Mr Sharael Taha, Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, Ms Mariam Jaafar and Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah.
(Clockwise from top left) Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Mr Sharael Taha, Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, Ms Mariam Jaafar and Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah.PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

The Malay candidates the People's Action Party (PAP) is fielding are role models from diverse backgrounds, and the party is happy with its slate of candidates, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

They also represent a new generation of young, Malay, successful people who have made good in life and who want to give back, he added.

Said PM Lee: "This is the way our system works, to ensure that the Malay community and Malay Singaporeans, just like anybody else in Singapore, have full and equal opportunities to do well, to succeed and to contribute back to society."

He also lauded Malay MPs past and present for speaking up about national issues.

In Parliament, Malay MPs do not focus on community issues alone, PM Lee said, but also raise national issues and topics they are passionate about, including low-income families, education and the environment.

He said: "I think that is as it should be. When we talk about meritocracy, when we talk about multiracial harmony, when we talk about equal opportunities and pride in being Singaporean."

PM Lee is secretary-general of the PAP. He was speaking to the media at a virtual press conference yesterday to introduce the slate of candidates for Ang Mo Kio GRC, which he will helm.

Among them is Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, a 30-year-old associate director at TSMP Law Corporation. PM Lee said Ms Nadia has been involved in community work for some time.

This, he added, is something other Malay candidates in the PAP's slate have been doing as well.

Some, like Singapore Aero Engine Services vice-president Sharael Taha, 39, and former army colonel Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48, have also done well professionally, said PM Lee.

Mr Fahmi was the former deputy chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, and is now director of the NTUC administration and research unit.


PM Lee said there are also candidates like Ms Mariam Jaafar, 43, who have done well in business.

Ms Mariam is managing director and partner at the Boston Consulting Group. She has a master's in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

PM Lee said there are also some Malay candidates who have risen from difficult beginnings to achieve success. He cited, for instance, the achievements of polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42.

Dr Wan was a student in the Normal (Academic) stream and got a polytechnic diploma before enrolling in the National Institute of Education, and later, Nanyang Technological University, where he got a degree in physical education at the age of 31.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2020, with the headline 'PAP's Malay candidates are 'role models from diverse backgrounds''. Subscribe