Singapore GE: MPs of areas under new Sengkang GRC have met to plan for polls, says Lam Pin Min

On preparations to contest the new Sengkang GRC, Sengkang West MP Lam Pin Min said the style of getting ready for the election as a GRC will be different than that of an SMC, and more coordination will be required. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - The new Sengkang GRC is expected to be keenly contested at the general election, and incumbent MP for Sengkang West, Dr Lam Pin Min, said the current MPs of the wards that will be under the new constituency have met "to get the ball rolling".

Dr Lam, who is Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport, told The Straits Times that he met Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Teo Ser Luck and Punggol East MP Charles Chong last Friday (March 13) after the release of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's report.

"According to the electoral boundaries, these areas (under Sengkang GRC) are under our care, and it's only right that we start meeting up to make the necessary arrangements," said Dr Lam.

He added: "It was an initial meeting to work out what are the things we need to do, like a local manifesto, GRC manifesto, who's in charge of what."

He was at a Sengkang West grassroots event at Marina Barrage on Sunday.

While the slate of candidates for the new four-member GRC has not been confirmed, Dr Lam said he "assumes" that he will stay on, alongside Mr Teo, "unless (Mr Teo) is being deployed elsewhere".

"Of course, when the slate of candidates is confirmed, we will bring the relevant people in," he added.

Dr Lam, who entered politics in 2006, noted that his grassroots activists are ready for an election, and have been preparing since before the coronavirus outbreak.

"Preparations wise we are ready, but now that the EBRC has released the report saying we are part of Sengkang GRC, that requires us to work as a team."

He said the style of preparations for the election as a GRC will be different compared to his experience helming Sengkang West, where they would "decide and then execute".

There will be more coordination required as a GRC, he added.

Sengkang West was hived off as a single seat for GE2011, and Dr Lam won 58.11 per cent of the vote against the Workers Party's Koh Choong Yong. In GE2015, Dr Lam retained the seat with 62.13 per cent of the vote against Mr Koh.

Punggol East also became an SMC for GE2011, but the People's Action Party lost it to the WP's Lee Li Lian in a 2013 by-election. Mr Chong regained it in GE2015 with 51.77 per cent of the vote.

The WP is expected to contest the new GRC, and its activists have been walking the ground to meet residents regularly.

Asked how the current coronavirus outbreak could impact election campaigning, Dr Lam said he anticipates there will be more online activities, and that he is "not sure if there will be physical rallies", although this would depend on how the virus situation develops.

Among the PAP candidates who have been seen walking the ground in areas under the new Sengkang GRC are Punggol East Citizens Consultative Committee chairman Raymond Lye and Republic Polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah.

Mr Chong is the PAP's longest-serving backbencher and a veteran of seven terms, and some expect he will not contest the election.

One of the residents at Sunday's event, Ms Carol Seetoh, who stays in an executive condominium in Fernvale, said she is not bothered about whether her area remains under an SMC or is moved into a GRC.

Said the 45-year-old bank secretary: "(What matters is) who's managing it is managing it well, and so far everything is okay."

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