SINGAPORE - The incumbent People Action's Party (PAP) is set to face a third different opposition party in as many elections in Chua Chu Kang GRC since the constituency was formed in 2011.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong heads a new-look line-up that made its first public appearance on Tuesday's (June 30) Nomination Day, and will go up against a team from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), after seeing off challenges from the National Solidarity Party and the People's Power Party in 2011 and 2015 respectively.
Mr Gan said the upcoming election is a very important and unusual one, being conducted in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"We know that it will take some time for Covid-19 (to resolve)... and for the economy to recover," he said. "So it's important for us to have a strong mandate to unite the people in the fight against Covid-19, and also beyond Covid-19."
Of the PAP team that won in 2015, only Mr Gan and Ms Low Yen Ling (Bukit Gombak) are returning to defend their seats. Long-time Keat Hong MP Zaqy Mohamad will be running in Yew Tee-Marsiling GRC instead, while Mr Yee Chia Hsing (Nanyang) is departing politics after just one term.
They will be replaced by two new faces: lawyer Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, 39, and banker Don Wee, 43.
Mr Zhulkarnain is a partner at law firm Dentons Rodyk and Davidson and was previously the chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals, while Mr Wee is a senior vice-president at United Overseas Bank who has been a grassroots leader in West Coast for 16 years.
Both Mr Zhulkarnain and Mr Wee were formally introduced as new PAP candidates last week, but the party had not confirmed where they would be deployed.
Meanwhile, the PSP team will be led by former Hong Leong Asia chief executive and ex-Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel Francis Yuen, 70, academic Tan Meng Wah, 57, fire safety engineer Abdul Rahman Mohamad, 67, and law school undergraduate Choo Shaun Ming, 23.
Mr Choo is the PSP's youngest candidate.
Mr Yuen acknowledged that his PSP team is the "new kid on the block" that does not have the advantage of past interactions with residents, but asked voters to give them a chance to provide a constructive check and balance in Parliament.
"It is like with (smartphones). What was Motorola is today Apple. So a brand can deteriorate and a new brand like us can come forward to offer innovative ideas and solutions to the residents," he said. "It's all a matter of asking voters to give us a chance, like buying an iPhone for the first time."
There are 106,693 voters in the GRC for the upcoming election, down from 119,931 in 2015 according to the Elections Department.
In 2015, the PAP secured 84,850 votes or 76.91 per cent of the vote share in Chua Chu Kang GRC, up from 89,710 votes or 61.2 per cent of the vote share in 2011.