Singapore GE2020: Manpower Minister Josephine Teo to helm PAP Jalan Besar GRC team

(Clockwise from top left) Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, Ms Denise Phua, Mr Heng Chee How and Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah. PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG, PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

SINGAPORE - Manpower Minister Josephine Teo will helm the PAP team in Jalan Besar GRC, which will also include veteran MPs Heng Chee How and Denise Phua.

It will also include PAP new face and polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42.

Stepping down are two MPs - former communications and information minister Yaacob Ibrahim and five-term MP Lily Neo.

Mrs Teo, 51, had been part of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC since 2006.

On Monday (June 29), she and her team went on a walkabout at Beo Crescent Market and Food Centre, and spoke to stallholders and residents. Accompanying them were Dr Yaacob and Dr Neo.

Mrs Teo said that when she walked around in different parts of Jalan Besar GRC, she "experienced the very warm feeling that the residents have for both Dr Yaacob Ibrahim and Dr Lily Neo".

"They are very well-loved, and I think they will be missed very much by all our residents, and they have also left us very big shoes," she added.

Dr Yaacob, 64, and Dr Neo, 66, were both elected to Parliament in 1997.

Mrs Teo said: "Between them, they have so many years of faithful service to the residents. Dr Yaacob has served with great distinction. Dr Lily Neo has spoken up vigorously in Parliament in support of the vulnerable and the elderly.

"And as an MP, my grassroots leaders know I always say that she is my role model. So it is a happy coincidence that I have the opportunity to succeed her in Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng."

Mrs Teo also lauded the two veteran MPs who will stand with her in Jalan Besar GRC - Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, 58, and Central Singapore District Mayor Denise Phua, 59.

Said Mrs Teo: "Mr Heng has been serving in Whampoa for 19 years and Mrs Denise Phua has been serving in Kampong Glam for 14 years. They were part of the team that made these transformations and improvements happen.

"But when I ask them what is it they value most about their years here, they told me that it is the relationship they have built with the residents and the bonding with the community."

On moving to contest in a new constituency, Mrs Teo said: "I know that it takes years interacting with the residents to nurture our relationships. And what I want to do is to first get to know the residents in Jalan Besar, in particular, in Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng, which is the area I will look after. It will take time but I hope that we will be able to develop relationships of mutual trust and support. This is my commitment."

Taking over from Dr Yaacob in Kolam Ayer is Dr Wan Rizal, a senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic, who has been active for many years in inter-religious circles.

On taking over from Dr Yaacob, who has mentored him over the past few months, he said: "I feel there are big shoes are to be filled but I am confident in my abilities."

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Mrs Teo said: "I want to stress that this election is not about us. This election is about our residents; about their lives, their jobs, their future. We hope that they will give us a chance to make a difference in their lives," said Mrs Teo.

Jalan Besar group representation constituency, with 107,936 voters, is one of the oldest names on Singapore's electoral map.

Explaining the constituency's diversity, Mrs Teo said that "it is in the thriving city centre".

She said: "There are also a lot of heritage features. Bugis, Balestier, Arab Street, Chinatown and Little India - when we put them all together, it also means we also have a lot of residents who have been here for many years."

However, she added that the estate's rejuvenation, as well as the location's attractiveness and train connectivity, has been drawing young people to the area.

The Worker's Party (WP) faced off against the PAP in the last general election, getting 32.25 per cent of the votes. The WP has indicated that it will not stand in the GRC.

This time, the PAP is likely to face a contest from the Peoples Voice party.

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