SINGAPORE - Senior police officer Melvin Yong will be retiring from the force next week, adding to speculation that he may be fielded by the People's Action Party (PAP) as a candidate at the coming general election.
A police spokesman confirmed on Wednesday that the 43-year-old Assistant Commissioner's (AC) last day of work is August 16.
Mr Yong declined to comment on his post-retirement plans but said Thursday that he had "the privilege of serving constituents both as a police officer, as well as a grassroots volunteer for many years and found it richly rewarding". He added: "I plan to continue doing so even after I retire from the force."
The Straits Times understands that the PAP will introduce him sometime next week as a candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC alongside Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing, Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah, backbencher Chia Shi-Lu and another new face, former public servant Joan Pereira.
The five-member GRC was previously helmed by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew until he died in March this year.
If Mr Yong is indeed fielded at the upcoming polls, he may be the first police officer to trade his blue uniform for the party's white garb since Singapore's independence.
Former police officers who are now in politics include Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, Senior Minister of State Heng Chee How, labour MP Patrick Tay and Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim.
However, unlike Mr Yong, these MPs had moved on from law enforcement to positions in government, the private sector or labour movement, before entering politics.
NTUC deputy director Desmond Choo, who was fielded in WP-held Hougang single-member constituency in 2011 and the 2012 by-election, is also an ex-cop. He is widely expected to be fielded by the PAP in Tampines GRC.
Mr Yong, who is currently director of the police's Public Affairs Department (PAD), will leave the force after 20 years in service. He was commander of Clementi Police Division from 2010 to 2014.
He has held key appointments such as deputy director for Planning & Organisation as well as director for Administration & Finance. He was also concurrently deputy director for Operations between November 2013 and June last year.
A police spokesman said Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Tan Hung Hooi, who is currently director for Manpower, will cover the duties of director PAD.
"The Singapore Police Force (SPF) thanks AC Melvin Yong for his leadership and many contributions during his service," said the spokesman.
National Crime Prevention Council chairman Tan Kian Hoon, who has known Mr Yong since 2002, said Mr Yong was always able to hold "various appointments concurrently and yet do well in all of them, despite the constraint in time".
"Apart from his clear and methodical thinking, he has the EQ to motivate and garner the support of those working with him, be they his work colleagues or fellow volunteers," added Mr Tan.