Singapore GE2020: PAP Malay candidates are role models, says PM Lee

(Clockwise from top left) Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Mr Sharael Taha, Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman, Ms Mariam Jaafar and Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah. PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

SINGAPORE - The Malay candidates the PAP has introduced are role models that the party is happy to field for the upcoming election, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who also lauded past Malay MPs for speaking up about national issues.

PM Lee, who is secretary-general of the People's Action Party, said in a virtual press conference on Monday (June 29) that the PAP's new Malay candidates represent a generation of community members who want to contribute more.

"It is a very diverse range. It represents a new generation of young Malay successful people who have made good in life, and who want to give back," said PM Lee, who was introducing the PAP's Ang Mo Kio GRC team.

Part of this team is PAP new face Nadia Ahmad Samdin, a 30-year-old associate director at TSMP Law Corporation. PM Lee said she has been doing community work for some time, and added that this is something other Malay candidates in PAP's slate have been doing as well.

Some, like Singapore Aero Engine vice-president Sharael Taha, 39, and former army colonel Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 48, have also done well professionally, said PM Lee.

Mr Fahmi was the former deputy chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore, and is now director of the National Trades Union Congress' administration and research unit.

PM Lee said there are also candidates like Ms Mariam Jaafar, 43, who have done well in business. Ms Mariam is managing director and partner at the Boston Consulting Group. She has a master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

PM Lee said there are some Malay candidates who have risen from difficult beginnings to achieve success. He cited, for instance, the achievements of polytechnic lecturer Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah, 42.

Dr Wan was a student in the Normal (Academic) stream and got a polytechnic diploma before enrolling in the National Institute of Education, and later, Nanyang Technological University, where he got a degree in physical education at the age of 31.

Said PM Lee: "This is the way our system works to ensure that the Malay community and Malay Singaporeans, just like anybody else in Singapore, have full and equal opportunities to do well, and to succeed and contribute back to society."

PM Lee said he is pleased that in Parliament, Malay MPs do not focus on community issues alone but also raise national issues and topics they are passionate about, including on low-income families, education and the environment.

"I think that is as it should be when you talk about meritocracy, when we talk about multiracial harmony, when we talk about equal opportunities and pride in being Singaporean," he said.

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