Singapore GE2020: Progress Singapore Party introduces last 6 of 24 candidates

But line-up could still change, says party chief Tan Cheng Bock

(Clockwise from top left) Mr Lim Cher Hong, Ms Kala Manickam, Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Terence Soon, Mr Abdul Rahman Mohamad and Mr Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong.
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Lim Cher Hong, Ms Kala Manickam, Mr Leong Mun Wai, Mr Terence Soon, Mr Abdul Rahman Mohamad and Mr Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong.PHOTOS: PROGRESS SINGAPORE PARTY

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) yesterday introduced the final six of its 24 candidates for the coming general election, laying out its complete election plans - including where each candidate would be fielded.

But with three days until Nomination Day on June 30, party chief Tan Cheng Bock also told reporters during a virtual press conference that the line-up could still change. "Let me remind you, in politics, change can happen. Candidates can be switched all around so you will have to just wait and see," said the 80-year-old former People's Action Party MP and 2011 presidential candidate.

One notable name was missing from the list, however - Mr Lee Hsien Yang.

The 62-year-old estranged brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was presented with his membership card during a public breakfast meeting in Tiong Bahru Market on Wednesday, leading to speculation that he could stand as a candidate in the July 10 polls.

The Straits Times understands, however, that Mr Lee is unlikely to be fielded.

PSP will be fielding the largest slate among the 11 opposition parties. Candidates will be fielded in the single-member constituencies (SMCs) of Marymount, Yio Chu Kang, Pioneer, Hong Kah North and Kebun Baru, as well as West Coast, Nee Soon, Chua Chu Kang and Tanjong Pagar GRCs.


Dr Tan, an MP for 26 years in single-seat Ayer Rajah, which was later absorbed into West Coast GRC in 2006, will lead the party's A-team in the five-seat constituency.

The other members include Ms Hazel Poa, 50, Mr Nadarajah Loganathan, 57, as well as two candidates who were introduced yesterday - party assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, 60, who is the founder of a venture capital firm; and Mr Jeffrey Khoo Poh Tiong, 51, Asia-Pacific chief marketing officer for multinational insurance firm Ed.


In five-seat Tanjong Pagar GRC, the PSP will field lawyer Wendy Low, 43; technologist Harish Pillay, 60; PSP organising secretary Michael Chua, 55; senior trainer Abas Kasmani, 67; and new face Terence Soon, 29, a Singapore Airlines pilot.


Another candidate introduced yesterday - adult educator Kala Manickam, 52 - will contest the five-member Nee Soon GRC with IT project manager Taufik Supan, 40; media consultant Bradley Bowyer, 53; party treasurer Sri Nallakaruppan, 56; as well as customer service manager Damien Tay, 51.



The team in four-member Chua Chu Kang GRC will be led by former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel Francis Yuen, 70; with academic Tan Meng Wah, 57; law undergraduate Choo Shaun Ming, 23; and fire safety engineer Abdul Rahman Mohamad, 67.


Meanwhile, psychiatrist Ang Yong Guan, 65; chartered accountant Kayla Low, 43; and former publisher of The Independent Singapore website Kumaran Pillai, 49; will stand in the newly formed SMCs of Marymount, Yio Chu Kang and Kebun Baru respectively.

Ms Gigene Wong, 54, who returned to Singapore early this year after 20 years in China, will contest in the SMC of Hong Kah North.

Finally, author and chartered financial consultant Lim Cher Hong, 42, who was also introduced yesterday, will stand in Pioneer.

Dr Tan Cheng Bock said: "I am not fielding an Indian or a Chinese or an Englishman or a Malay. When you go to the polls, look at the person, not the colour (of his skin), not how big or how small he is... vote for them according to their ability, honesty, sincerity and willingness to serve."


Founder of venture capital firm Timbre Capital


Mr Leong is the Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) assistant secretary-general and will be part of the team led by party chief Tan Cheng Bock contesting in West Coast GRC.

The son of a dried goods hawker, Mr Leong grew up in Chinatown and went to Raffles Institution.

He was awarded the Public Service Commission Overseas Merit scholarship and majored in economics at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, later completing a master's in management under the London Business School's Sloan Fellowship programme.

He was a director at Merill Lynch Hong Kong and a managing director at OCBC Securities before he founded his own investment firm.

Married with three adult children, the youngest of whom is a doctor on the front line of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Leong said: "I want to do something more for the country so that everybody gets the same opportunity as me."


Chief marketing officer for Asia-Pacific at a multinational insurance firm


Part of the Progress Singapore Party's five-man West Coast GRC team, Mr Khoo said his childhood ambition was to be a singer.

A National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate and a botanist by training, Mr Khoo held senior positions in the food and agribusiness sector and is honorary treasurer of the NUS Society.

Some of the policy changes he hopes to make, if elected, are: a review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Singapore; a quota for Employment Pass holders; and ensuring there is knowledge transfer to Singaporean workers.

Married with three school-going children, Mr Khoo was already involved in grassroots work before joining the PSP. "What affected me a lot was that at certain Meet-the-People Sessions, I saw people cry in front of me... It really made me think harder about what I need to do."


Author and chartered financial consultant


Mr Lim graduated from the Singapore Institute of Management-University of London as the top business graduate in his cohort.

After a career in banking and insurance, he took a pay cut to work as a programme coordinator and trainer at the Silver Generation Office, where he managed volunteers who helped seniors apply for government schemes. "To be honest, joining an opposition party was never my intention," said Mr Lim.

The father of three young boys, Mr Lim said more support needs to be given to parents with growing children and current schemes were inadequate to improve the total fertility rate.

He proposed more budgetary aid for young families, rent subsidies for couples waiting for their Build-To-Order flats and more family-friendly practices at the workplace.


Adult educator


A single mother of an 11-year-old girl, Ms Manickam worked in the Singapore Armed Forces for seven years as a platoon commander and was in the first batch of women officers integrated into the tri-service, training alongside men.

She then left for the private sector where she has chalked up 30 years of experience in human resource management and learning development, of which 15 years have been spent as an adult educator.

She has a master's degree in lifelong learning.

Education is an issue close to her heart and Ms Manickam called for less administrative work for teachers, smaller class sizes and a more balanced education system.

"We have a lot of fantastic initiatives... But the way they are being executed is something we need to look into."

She is part of PSP's five-member team that will contest in Nee Soon GRC.


Singapore Airlines pilot


The second-youngest candidate in the Progress Singapore Party's slate, Mr Soon is in the team contesting in Tanjong Pagar GRC. He said he was content handing out fliers when he joined the party, but becoming a father of a seven-week-old daughter pushed him to take the plunge into electoral politics.

"Many things started to click and as I started walking the ground - I realised that I am indeed called to be here because of what I believe in."

Before joining Singapore Airlines as a pilot in late 2015, Mr Soon ran an aviation business which he started when he was 23 and was studying business management at RMIT University in Singapore. To develop the venture, he went to the United States on his own to build his own network of business contacts.

"People always say that I'm crazy. I do things normal people won't think of doing; firstly, starting a business at such a young age, then venturing overseas on my own and now, of course, joining politics," he said.


Fire safety engineer


A member of the Progress Singapore Party's central executive committee, Mr Abdul Rahman was one of the 11 Singaporeans who founded the party along with Dr Tan Cheng Bock last year.

He started his career with the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1975 before becoming an engineer, and has seven children - four daughters and three sons - as well as two grandchildren.

In 2006, he was part of the Singapore Democratic Alliance team that contested in Tampines GRC and got 31.49 per cent of the vote.

After a stint working in Dubai, he returned home.

In the upcoming polls, he will be fielded in Chua Chu Kang GRC.

"During my walkabouts way back in 2006, I could see people were displaced. Now, I come back in 2020, and it is the same kind of situation," he said. "The important thing is to narrow the income gap to give these people the opportunity to improve their lives."

Kok Yufeng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2020, with the headline 'PSP introduces last 6 of 24 candidates'. Subscribe