Singapore GE2020: New PSP team to take on incumbent PAP in Nee Soon GRC

(Clockwise from left) PSP's Nee Soon team Damien Tay, Sri Nallakaruppan, Kala Manickam, Taufik Supan and Bradley Bowyer. ST PHOTO: OLIVIA HO

SINGAPORE - A new team from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) will take on the incumbent PAP in Nee Soon GRC at the July 10 polls.

The PSP slate for the five-member GRC includes chartered accountant and party treasurer Sri Nallakaruppan, 56, and media consultant Bradley Bowyer, 53, who was formerly a member of the PAP.

Adult educator Kala Manickam, 52, IT project manager Taufik Supan, 40, and customer service manager Damien Tay, 51, round out the opposition slate.

They go up against the incumbents led by Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, who on Tuesday (June 30) officially introduced two new faces as part of his team, charity founder Carrie Tan Huimin, 38, and banker Derrick Goh, 51.

Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, 52, and Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, 41, round out the PAP slate.

Speaking at the nomination centre, Mr Shanmugam said Singapore and the world are facing two key challenges - the healthcare crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the attending economic crisis that is affecting jobs and businesses.

Singaporeans, he said, will have to decide "who can guide the country through these two major issues". In Nee Soon, strong support from residents over the years has helped develop a "modern, vibrant town", he said, adding that the team wil unveil more plans.

Ms Tan hopes to fill the shoes of former Nee Soon South MP Lee Bee Wah, whom she said was a "tremendous presence" in the ward. "I'm committed, I'm prepared, I've learnt a lot from her and will continue to care for residents with the same time and dedication."

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Mr Nallakaruppan spoke about the PSP's aims to push for a better cost of living, jobs for Singaporeans, affordable housing - especially for young couples - and a living wage.

Many of Nee Soon's residents are going through a hard time during Covid-19, he said. "They have the government payouts but this is not sustainable. What we need is jobs, good jobs. I feel very sorry when I go to other countries and the high-paid jobs are done by the locals...but in Singapore it is the opposite, so many PMET jobs lost."

Mr Bowyer said they would like to see how the town council can hire Singaporeans more directly.

"Instead of paying a couple of thousand to hire a foreign worker but actually paying him only $500, and the rest going to levies and the profit margin of the person who hires the worker, how can we use that money to get the job for a Singaporean, who has the vested interest in taking care of his own home? I think that's something we should explore."

Nee Soon GRC was created in 2011 and has since been held by a PAP team helmed by Mr Shanmugam, 61. It has an electorate of 147,047.

The Workers' Party has twice made assay there, most recently in 2015 with a team including Mr Kenneth Foo Seck Guan, who lost with 33.2 per cent of the vote.

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