The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) unveiled its first slate of six candidates for the upcoming polls yesterday, including five who will be contesting an election for the first time.
PSP chief and former People's Action Party (PAP) MP Tan Cheng Bock, 80, introduced the candidates during a virtual Zoom meeting. He said they come from all walks of life, including some who have not taken the usual academic route and are a "little rougher around the edges".
The six candidates are:
•Mr Francis Yuen Khin Pheng, 70, a former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel and former chief executive of Hong Leong Asia, and a member of the party's central executive committee;
•Mr Sri Nallakaruppan, 56, an investment specialist and the party's treasurer;
•Mr Bradley Bowyer, 53, a media consultant and former member of the PAP as well as the opposition People's Voice party;
•Ms Gigene Wong, 54, who returned to Singapore early this year after 20 years in China, where she was the chief executive of Gulf Oil China and chief financial officer of a listed company;
•Mr Muhammad Taufik Supan, 40, an IT project manager; and
•Ms Hazel Poa, 50, the owner of an education business and the party's vice-chairman. She is also the former secretary-general of the National Solidarity Party and the only one in this group with election experience, having contested Chua Chu Kang GRC in 2011.
The party did not give details on where each person will be fielded although Ms Poa is understood to be part of Dr Tan's team contesting West Coast GRC.
PSP - the second party to formally unveil candidates after the Reform Party did so on Tuesday - is expected to contest 29 seats in the coming election after discussions with other parties, down from its earlier target of 44 seats.
The six candidates touched on a range of issues during the press conference.
Ms Wong said she decided to enter politics after returning home from China. People around her said they were stressed by the rising cost of living, and that saddened her.
Mr Yuen, the oldest of the candidates introduced yesterday, said there was a need for the free contest of ideas and room for alternate solutions.
He, Mr Nallakaruppan and other candidates also spoke about the over-reliance on foreign workers and the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). They urged the Government to restructure the economy in a way that focused on these SMEs.
Mr Nallakaruppan also spoke about the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between Singapore and India, and called for it and other free trade agreements to be reviewed. He said: "We are not xenophobic... All we are asking is that Singaporeans should be given first priority for jobs."
Mr Taufik highlighted the issue of income inequality and said he wanted to champion issues relevant to the Malay community.
He said: "I believe it is also necessary to do a deep dive into the root cause of the problem. Issues like education, poverty, inequality and discrimination must be addressed."
Mr Bowyer, who was born in Britain and became a citizen in 2011, said the one year he has been a PSP member was a "journey of learning".
"PSP has that heart, and it has passion and it has a vision and it knows that we are in a new world and must do things differently."