Parties contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC should be genuine about serving residents: Chun Sing

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Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing said that opposition parties contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC must serve residents "consistently and genuinely", and not just contest the GRC to make a political statement. PHOTO: ST FILE
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It would be an "injustice" to Tanjong Pagar GRC residents if opposition parties contest the constituency just because "they want to put up a fight", Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing, one of its MPs, said on Sunday.

Rather, they must serve residents "consistently and genuinely", and not just to make a political statement, he told reporters after a walkabout at Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre.

"It's the wrong starting point if people want to come here because they think it's a trophy GRC… Your hearts must be pure. You must be here because you want to take care of residents and improve their lives," he said.

"If you're here for the election, that's quite sad. And I think the residents will be able to tell," he added.

The GRC has never been contested, with the People's Action Party (PAP) enjoying walkovers at every General Election since the GRC's formation in 1991.

But two new opposition parties, the Democratic Progressive Party and Singaporeans First, have expressed interest in contesting the constituency following the release of the electoral boundaries review committee's report on Friday.

The incumbents say they are prepared for a fight.

"We have never taken our situation for granted, even when the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was around," said Senior Minister of State Indranee Rajah.

"Our mental stance has always been to be prepared... We don't take the work done in the last term for granted. It's all about what you can do for residents going forward."

Mr Chan, Ms Indranee and the constituency's other MPs, Dr Chia Shi-Lu and Dr Lily Neo, were at the walkabout to formally introduce potential colleague Joan Pereira to residents.

But they were not able to say if Dr Neo, whose Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng ward will be part of the reintroduced Jalan Besar GRC at the next election, would remain on the Tanjong Pagar GRC slate, adding that that decision was up to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the PAP's secretary-general.

When asked if she would like to stay on as an MP, Dr Neo, who entered politics in 1997 and is serving her fourth term, said: "I've been happy to serve my residents… The rest I'll leave to the party."

If Dr Neo stays to contest Jalan Besar GRC, this would leave a spot for one more candidate in the five-member Tanjong Pagar GRC.

With the constituency taking in about 60 per cent of Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew's Moulmein ward, there is talk that he could return to the GRC where he first cut his political teeth.

He had been part of the Tanjong Pagar GRC slate in the 2006 general election, before his ward came under the short-lived Moulmein-Kallang GRC in 2011.

Moulmein-Kallang GRC will be distributed into four neighbouring GRCs at the election.

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