Singapore GE2020: Profiles of PAP's new candidates

(Clockwise from top left) Ms Carrie Tan, Ms Chan Hui Yuh, Ms Gan Siow Huang, Mr Shawn Huang, Mr Alex Yeo, Mr Sharael Taha, Ms Rachel Ong and Ms Mariam Jaafar.
(Clockwise from top left) Ms Carrie Tan, Ms Chan Hui Yuh, Ms Gan Siow Huang, Mr Shawn Huang, Mr Alex Yeo, Mr Sharael Taha, Ms Rachel Ong and Ms Mariam Jaafar.PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Raymond Lye, Mr Derrick Goh, Ms Poh Li San, Mr Alvin Tan, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah and Mr Eric Chua.
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Raymond Lye, Mr Derrick Goh, Ms Poh Li San, Mr Alvin Tan, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah and Mr Eric Chua.PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Tan Kiat How, Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, Dr Tan See Leng and Ms Ng Ling Ling,
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Tan Kiat How, Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim, Dr Tan See Leng and Ms Ng Ling Ling,PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY
(Clockwise, from top left) Desmond Tan Kok Ming, Edward Chia Bing Hui, Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Hany Soh Hui Bin, Yip Hon Weng, Mohd Fahmi Aliman and Don Wee Boon Hong.
(Clockwise, from top left) Desmond Tan Kok Ming, Edward Chia Bing Hui, Nadia Ahmad Samdin, Hany Soh Hui Bin, Yip Hon Weng, Mohd Fahmi Aliman and Don Wee Boon Hong.PHOTOS: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

The People's Action Party (PAP) on Friday (June 26) introduced eight more new candidates to contest the election on July 10.

With this round of introductions, the PAP has in all unveiled 27 new faces for the upcoming polls. Previously it had said it would present 26 new candidates.

Mr Chan said Ms Chan Hui Yuh is not exactly new, as she assisted the PAP in Aljunied GRC at the 2015 general election, but they had decided to include her as she is running for election for the first time.


Here's a look at the candidates' profiles:

DESMOND TAN KOK MING, 50

Former People's Association head


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For Mr Desmond Tan, securing a government scholarship in his teens was the only way he could afford his university education.

But such social mobility among children from low-income families has become "quite challenging" in recent years, he said yesterday. It is a cause the father of three plans to champion if he gets elected.

Mr Tan grew up in a three-room Bukit Ho Swee flat that at one time housed 12 people - his own family of six, his uncle's family of four, his grandmother, and another uncle.

His father was a taxi driver, while his mother took on various jobs to supplement the family's income. These included working in a factory, as a babysitter, and selling satay and nasi lemak on the streets.

Mr Tan, a former Queenstown Secondary Technical School student, later went to Raffles Junior College. He was awarded the Singapore Armed Forces Merit Scholarship and graduated from the Victoria University of Manchester in 1994 with first class honours in aeronautical engineering.

Mr Tan rose to the rank of brigadier-general before leaving to helm the People's Association in January 2017. There, he introduced Residents' Networks and Youth Networks to encourage social mixing.

EDWARD CHIA BING HUI, 36

Co-founder and managing director of Timbre Group


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Helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) transform and ride out the Covid-19 crisis is one of Mr Edward Chia's top priorities if he is elected to Parliament.

His own business, the Timbre Group, runs food and beverage venues including Timbre+ and Yishun Park Hawker Centre, and has had to grapple with the impact of Covid-19 and deal with other common challenges SMEs deal with - coping with high rentals, insufficient manpower, and staying ahead of digital disruption.

"I go through this on a daily basis," he said. "I can truly empathise with SMEs and I hope to be an effective voice for SMEs in Parliament."

Mr Chia, the father of a six-year-old boy, is expected to be fielded in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC. He went to National Junior College and studied economics and political science at the National University of Singapore. He started Timbre at 21 when he was an undergraduate.

Said Mr Chia: "We must redouble our efforts to support our SMEs - not just to survive, but to emerge stronger. In essence, stronger SMEs mean better jobs for Singaporeans."

NADIA AHMAD SAMDIN, 30

Associate director at TSMP Law Corporation


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Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin's life has revolved around giving back to the community since she was 15 years old. She started her volunteer work with the South East Community Development Council, and moved on to focus on causes that help vulnerable women and children.

The lawyer, who is married and has no children, recounted how she once received a call from a child she was mentoring. The girl, whose parents were in prison, needed to go to school for a test. However, there was no money in her ez-link card. The incident prompted Ms Nadia to set up the Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud Top-up Fund, to make sure such children have enough money for transport.

The youngest among the new faces that will be unveiled by the PAP, Ms Nadia went to Victoria Junior College and read law at the Singapore Management University.

Apart from her community work, she also serves as a panel adviser for the Youth Court, where her role is to advise judges on the appropriate orders to pass in cases involving children and young persons.

The recreational diver has also seen first-hand the havoc wrought by climate change on the natural environment and hopes to champion this cause.

DON WEE BOON HONG, 43

Senior vice-president at UOB


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Mr Wee grew up in a rental flat and made the cut to enter junior college after finishing his O levels at Nan Hua High School. However, money was tight, so he decided to enrol in a diploma programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, so that he could start work early and help his family with the bills.

After completing his national service, Mr Wee joined a local bank as a non-executive staff member, and got an accounting degree after some years of part-time study.

He later qualified as a chartered accountant.

He has been a grassroots leader in West Coast for 16 years, and also speaks Hokkien and Cantonese.

Mr Wee, who has two children, is a member of the Institute of Mental Health's Visitors' Board. He said he hopes to help the less privileged, as well as those with mental health problems. He also hopes to help small and medium-sized enterprises.

Said Mr Wee: "I hope that... politics can be an extension of my volunteerism, and a platform for me to raise residents' concerns and needs to policymakers."

MOHD FAHMI ALIMAN, 48

Former Islamic Religious Council of Singapore deputy chief executive


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Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman is a former army colonel who stepped down as deputy chief executive of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) in March. He helped to form and steer the M³@Bedok initiative, launched last year to help the Malay/Muslim community in Bedok Town.

The father of four joined the National Trades Union Congress' Administration and Research Unit in April, and has been spotted on the ground in Marine Parade group representation constituency.

Before he was appointed to his post in Muis, he spent 26 years in the Singapore Armed Forces. His military career included a six-month deployment to Blangpidie for the Aceh Monitoring Mission in 2005, where he was the deputy team leader.

His late father was a gas checker, while his late mother was a cleaner. When he was in primary school, he would help her clear rubbish, he said. She later upgraded her skills to become a cook in a factory.

That is why, said Mr Fahmi, the welfare of low-wage workers in essential services is close to his heart.

YIP HON WENG, 43

Former group chief of the Silver Generation Office under the Agency for Integrated Care


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Mr Yip received the Public Service Commission Overseas Specialist Award and started his civil service career as a physical education and mathematics teacher.

He later served in the education, manpower and defence ministries. He said he plans to help to improve aged care services in Singapore.

One incident he remembered vividly from when he first started out as a teacher, he said, was when he disciplined a student who repeatedly failed to hand in his homework.

He later found out that the student came from a poor family, and had to work part time after school. That is why he did not have the time or energy to focus on his school work.

This incident taught him the value of empathy, said Mr Yip, who is married with five children.

"That day, I learnt that it is very important to always ask and seek to understand the situation before we come to any conclusions about how others behave... This is how I will also continue to listen to the concerns of residents."

HANY SOH HUI BIN, 33

Director at MSC Law Corporation


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Ms Soh, who was in the Normal (Academic) stream at Bendemeer Secondary School, later obtained a diploma in law and management from a polytechnic, and worked as a paralegal before saving enough money to pursue a law degree overseas.

She recounted how her secondary school teacher advised her that if she became a lawyer some day, she should serve "the lost, the least and the last".

This, she said, became her ethos in life and inspired her to get involved in grassroots work. For the last nine years, she has volunteered in Bukit Panjang, helping outgoing Bukit Panjang MP Teo Ho Pin.

Ms Soh, who has a 16-month-old daughter, co-chairs the Law Society's community legal clinics committee and set up the first community legal clinic in a residents' committee centre in the area.

She hopes to increase community awareness of legal issues, like the importance of lasting power of attorney, and make legal help more accessible, especially to those who are physically disabled. During the circuit breaker period, she was able to mobilise volunteer lawyers to conduct sessions over the phone or virtually.

DR TAN SEE LENG, 55

Former Parkway Holdings Group chief executive


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Dr Tan, who has spent more than 30 years in the medical sector, is the oldest PAP candidate introduced so far. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post on Thursday that he was glad that Mr Goh had found in Dr Tan a successor as branch chairman.

Dr Tan said he had spent two years under Mr Goh’s tutelage and worked with him on a caregiver support network for the elderly that will be launched after the election, but declined to comment on where he will be fielded.

The father of three grew up in a Toa Payoh rental flat and is a family physician by training. 

He said the deaths of his parents from cancer in the 2000s had  strengthened his resolve to get a master’s in family medicine, followed by a Master of Business Administration.

Currently a corporate adviser to Temasek Holdings and adviser to DBS Bank, he is also an independent director of Surbana Jurong and was the former group chief executive officer and managing director of healthcare group IHH Healthcare Berhad.

TAN KIAT HOW, 43

Former IMDA chief executive


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Mr Tan, a public servant for nearly 20 years, was part of the team that set up the Pioneer Generation Office– now known as the Silver Generation Office – and was responsible for mobilising 3,000 volunteers to do outreach to nearly half a million seniors.

He took up the top post at IMDA in 2017. Under his leadership, the organisation took steps to build up Singapore’s connectivity infrastructure, such as the rollout of the country’s fourth telco.

Previously, he was deputy secretary for cyber and technology at the Ministry of Communications and Information, where he worked on Singapore’s national cyber security strategy.

Digitalisation is an issue close to his heart, he said. 

“Helping workers, businesses to use technology to create more opportunities and for a better life is making sure that no one is left behind in a digital future.”

Digitalisation, he said, is an issue close to his heart. "Helping workers, businesses to use technology to create more opportunities and for a better life is making sure that no one is left behind in a digital future."

NG LING LING, 48

Former managing director of Community Chest


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Ms Ng, who spent six years in banking before moving to social and public services, said she has been working on innovating new care models, such as using simple technology to help people with high blood pressure understand the disease and guard against strokes.

“I see the importance of long-term holistic care, as our population ages rapidly, to consider both the social and health aspects to the well-being of our elderly,” said Ms Ng, who is married with one child.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, she said she helped bring in tele-health systems for community care facilities like the Singapore Expo. 

“We were working Monday to Sunday, there were no boundaries of work days to tackle the problem because it was 24/7,” she said, adding that she mobilised volunteers to help with Bengali and Tamil translations for infected migrant workers. 

“It was really all hands on deck...Covid-19 is still with us, and I’ll continue to be part of the fight against the virus.”

ZHULKARNAIN ABDUL RAHIM, 39

Lawyer


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Mr Zhulkarnain, a partner at law firm Dentons Rodyk and Davidson, spoke of the need to build on community modes of distribution, such as neighbour networks to support the needy, and to “entrench this idea of humanness” in policy-making.

Over the last decade, the father of three has conducted free legal clinics and done pro bono work as an assigned solicitor with the Legal Aid Bureau. He was previously the chairman of the Association of Muslim Professionals.

He was the fifth of six children. His mother was a housewife and his father did odd blue-collar jobs when they were growing up, eventually joining a construction company and working his way up to the rank of supervisor. 

“From him, I remember the importance of lifelong learning,” said Mr Zhulkarnain, who would go through his father’s  presentation slides with him as his father did not know how to use PowerPoint.

“The Covid-19 circuit breaker period has shown up various digital inequalities amongst our people, such as those who cannot afford digital devices to do home-based learning,” he said.

“But what I feel is that beyond digital connectivity, it is human connectivity that we would have to look at in terms of policymaking and process.”

MS YEO WAN LING, 44

Chief executive of social enterprise Caregiver Asia


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Ms Yeo was part of the global operations team at the EDB. She now runs Caregiver Asia, a social enterprise that connects those in need of care with freelance caregivers in Singapore. She said she hopes to create more opportunities for the elderly in Singapore to continue to work or contribute to the community.

Ms Yeo said one of the most meaningful things  at EDB was “being able to work on projects that created and brought in very good and meaningful jobs for all Singaporeans”. She added that she started her social enterprise as she saw a gap in the provision of home-care services, in particular long-term care for the elderly.

On why she left the civil service to start her own venture, she said: “My grandmother...was ill for a number of years before she passed on. And it was spending her twilight years together with me that I realised the importance of being able to grow old with grace and dignity.”

Ms Yeo said she hopes to create more opportunities for the elderly to continue to work or contribute to the community, and wants to champion caregiving programmes.

Ms Yeo, who is married, said: “Politics allows me to bring together the type of experiences I have with the civil service, and working in the community... and to be able to influence not just day-to-day operations of helping people, but also to bring it up to a larger platform such that I can (have an impact on) national policies.”

MR ALVIN TAN SHENG HUI, 39

Head of Public Policy and Economics at LinkedIn


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Mr Tan has been a grassroots volunteer since 2005, working together with Jalan Besar GRC MP Lily Neo in Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng. 

Speaking in Mandarin, he said he faced obstacles in his education journey – he was once held back a grade, and did not do well enough to enter a local university. 

Despite the earlier setbacks, he earned a Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours from Sydney University, and later, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard University. He has worked at the Ministry of Defence, the United Nations and non-profit group Oxfam, as well as in investment banking. He is now in the technology sector - earlier at social media giant Facebook and now at social networking platform LinkedIn.

Mr Tan said he hopes to use his skills and experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors to help Singaporeans become more nimble and prepared for the future of work.

He said he also aims to bridge the digital divide for seniors and other vulnerable groups, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the need for all Singaporeans to acquire such digital skills. Work is now being done to help these groups, and more needs to be done, he said.

Said Mr Tan: “By the time Covid-19 is over... if we (still) haven’t become comfortable with technology, I think we might have failed our people.

“And so I will continue to really tirelessly advocate, and go to the ground and help all our students, stallholders... prepare for the future of work that has come much sooner than any of us has expected.”

DR WAN RIZAL WAN ZAKARIAH, 42

Senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic


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Dr Wan Rizal, who is married with four children, started volunteering in the community in 2010. He was chairman of Al-Islah mosque in Punggol, and was also part of Punggol's Interracial and Religious Confidence Circle.

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

He said: “I hope to be the voice in Parliament that upholds social mobility. Because of the non-linear path that I had taken, I strongly believe that education is the key to social mobility. This is how we can allow people who have less, or did less well to move up and prevent our society from being stratified. 

“Singapore must continue to be a nation of opportunities for all, not for just the privileged few, or the lucky ones, but for every Singaporean.”

Singapore’s education system is on the right track, he said. He added that he hopes to be part of its further development. For instance, he said he sees the value of early childhood education, and the importance of providing multiple pathways for Singaporeans to continue developing their skills. 

He also hopes to advocate for the sandwiched class, as well as those who may face difficulties juggling work and family life.

MR ERIC CHUA SWEE LEONG, 41

Former director of the SGSecure programme


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Mr Chua grew up in a three-room flat in Ang Mo Kio. His father was a forklift driver and his mother was a seamstress.

He was awarded the Local Merit Scholarship (Civil Defence) by the Public Service Commission to read communications studies at Nanyang Technological University. He served with the SCDF, eventually becoming commander of the 3rd SCDF Division.

Most recently, he was director of the SGSecure Programme Office in Ministry of Home Affairs.

Mr Chua, whose baby boy is eight days old, has spent 15 years doing community work with youth. He said he finds joy and satisfaction in mentoring young people and seeing them find success in life.

He added that he hopes to continue his work with youth and to hear their concerns on issues such as social mobility and income inequality.

MR RAYMOND LYE HOONG YIP, 54

Managing partner at Union Law LLP


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Mr Lye, a father of three, has been volunteering for 25 years.

When introducing himself, he recounted how he and other volunteers helped a low-income resident deal with a problem.

Mr Lye, who chairs the Punggol East Citizens’ Consultative Committee, said the resident’s daughter had obtained a scholarship from an unnamed agency that allowed her to enter university despite her family’s finances.

But the agency later asked the resident to cough up a large sum of money as her daughter’s grades were not good. 

Mr Lye said that after several attempts, he and other volunteers managed to get the agency to write off the sum and the family was able to save up enough money to buy their own flat and move out of the rental block. 

Despite having volunteered for groups like clan societies and trade associations, Mr Lye said that he finds community work most fulfilling. “Most satisfying for me is community work, where I get to listen to residents in their homes, their void decks and the coffee shops,” said Mr Lye, who has been volunteering in the new Sengkang GRC. 

“I have always tried my best to help, as no government policy is foolproof and there are those who may fall through the cracks.”

MS POH LI SAN, 44

Vice-president for Terminal 5 planning at Changi Airport Group


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Sembawang is a special place for Ms Poh, a former helicopter pilot with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and the first woman to be appointed full-time aide-de-camp to the late President S R Nathan.

She spent a lot time in Sembawang when she was based at Sembawang Air Base for the RSAF.

“Sembawang is really a very special place for me, plenty of fond memories. And now that I have a chance to go back to Sembawang to serve on the ground, I’m really excited to work closely with our volunteers with our residents there,” said Ms Poh, who started volunteering in grassroots activities and Meet-the-People sessions in Sembawang GRC in 2018. 

Ms Poh, who is single, started an annual Women Festival for the constituency and also took part in distributing food to rental flat residents. 

She is tipped to join the PAP team that will contest Sembawang GRC, which will likely lose Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan as he is expected to retire from politics soon. 

MR DERRICK GOH SOON HEE, 51

Managing director and head of group audit at DBS Bank


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Before taking up his position at DBS, Mr Goh headed its subsidary POSB, where he said he was exposed to volunteering efforts by community leaders and grassroots.

This inspired the father of three to take up community work. 

Mr Goh spent more than 10 years at credit firm American Express, based in London and New York. He intends to use his experience from the international banking sector to help improve the lives of Singaporeans.

“I want to play a part to improve the system, to hone the system. And I know that Singapore is not perfect, but having lived in all these international financial centres, I can say personally that Singapore is the best,” he said. 

“And therefore, I want to play a role to help Singapore adapt as the world changes very rapidly, given digitisation and the onset of the impact of new technology.”

Since 2013, Mr Goh has ben volunteering as a district councillor with the South West Community Development Council and also serves on the board of HomeTeamNS.

Mr Goh, who is vice-chairman of the Gambas-Yishun Citizens’ Consultative Committee, has been seen with Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam at community engagements in Nee Soon, where he is expected to be fielded.

Ms Gan Siow Huang, 46

Former air force brigadier-general


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Ms Gan, 46, who is married with three children, is now deputy chief executive officer of the National Trades Union Congress' Employment and Employability Institute.

She is expected to be fielded in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, where she has been active on the ground.

Ms Gan made history in 2015 when she became the first woman brigadier-general in Singapore. She resigned from her role as Chief of Staff - Air Staff in March.

She said she had served in the military for more than 25 years - "one of the best choices and fulfilling choices that I made for myself".

The armed forces, she said, is a place "where men and women of different races, religions backgrounds, all come together, serving common goal to protect Singapore". This desire to serve Singapore remained with her even after leaving the military.

The mission of the labour movement resonates with her, she said.

"I know the importance of bread and butter (issues) and the importance of having a job, to be able to protect one's lives, and their families".

Asked about criticism that former military personnel are not qualified to be politicians, Ms Gan said she takes pride in her military experience, which has equipped her with leadership skills.

She added that in her military career, other than operations, she had been involved in long-term planning, capability development and policy work, manpower, intelligence, among others.

"I would say that I have gathered... several building blocks that I think are critical to any good organising entity and I would say the leadership experiences that I gained and also the lessons I learnt in taking care of people will help me to be a good politician."

She appealed to the public to not rely on stereotypes. "I hope that people will give me a chance - don't look at me as just another general - look at me for who I am."

Ms Rachel Ong Sin Yen, 47

Rohei chief executive


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Ms Ong, 47, who is single, has been active in West Coast GRC, where she serves as vice-chairman for the Telok Blangah Citizens' Consultative Committee.

She said that she is energised by two things - seeing every young person succeed in life, and adults flourish in all that they do.

In order to help young people succeed, she said "we first must learn to listen to, to see, to hear, to understand and to care for the needs of the youth".

She started Trybe, a charity with Institute of Public Character (IPC) status, in 2001.

Trybe runs the Singapore Boys Hostel, Community Rehabilitation Centre for first-time drug abusers as well as Trybe Aftercare. It provides young people with guidance and offers support for their families and communities.

Ms Ong also holds a Master's in Business Administration from global business school Insead and Tsinghua University.

Mr Mohamed Sharael Mohd Taha, 39

Vice-president for the strategy and project management office at Singapore Aero Engine Services (secondment from Rolls-Royce)


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Mr Sharael Taha, who is married with three children, was previously based in Britain and was responsible for global projects across Rolls-Royce's engine assembly and test facilities in Britain, Scotland, Germany, Canada and Singapore.

He graduated with a Distinction in Master's of Business Administration from the University of Oxford.

Mr Sharael hopes to help Singaporeans adapt to the new world of work, noting that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed challenges for workers.

"I would like to work with you to develop new skills and share my experience from high-tech industries, so that we can create... good jobs for the future of our families," he said.

He stressed that such digital transformation cannot take place at the expense of others.

"For the seniors, for the low-wage workers, and for the less able - we have to make sure that they are part of this journey together. We will ensure that we leave no one behind."

Mr Alex Yeo Sheng Chye, 41

Director at Niru & Co LLC


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Mr Yeo, a lawyer, has chaired the party's Paya Lebar branch in opposition-held Aljunied GRC for more than three years.

He said he would like to help seniors and support less privileged families in Paya Lebar.

Another item on his to-do list is to address the challenges faced by parents of young children, who have to juggle between their work and family needs.

He said he fell in love with his wife, Priya, who is Hindu and South Asian, despite them being different culturally and having different religions "because we share many similar Singaporean values and experiences".

"We are thankful that Singapore is the home where children can be whoever they wish, and yet have a singular identity - that of being Singaporeans," said Mr Yeo, who is Catholic. He sees such values demonstrated in the community as well throughout his volunteering experiences.

"I hope to play my small part in contributing to continue to grow our inclusive society that we have worked so hard over so many years."

Asked about the PAP team's chances at the upcoming election in wresting Aljunied GRC back from the Workers' Party, Mr Yeo said that while he is unable to speculate on the outcome, the team has been working hard on the ground for more than nine years to serve residents in the area.

Ms Mariam Jaafar, 43

Singapore managing director and partner for Boston Consulting Group


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Ms Mariam grew up in a one-room rental flat in Toa Payoh.

The daughter of a Malay teacher and a nurse, she said that while she had a happy childhood, there were moments when she knew things were not easy.

She would wake up in the middle of the night to find her father still working hard at the translation jobs he took on the side. Once, a burglar broke in and stole a whole month's salary that her father had just withdrawn from the ATM.

"Thanks to the sacrifices of my parents, the kindness shown by many and the quality of the Singapore education system, I've been able to go on to study at some of the best universities in the world and then work for some of the best companies in the world," she said.

Ms Mariam, who is Singapore managing director and partner for Boston Consulting Group, has a bachelor's and master's degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Master's in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

The vice-chairman of the Woodlands Community Club management committee is married with no children.

She said she is passionate about early childhood education, as she believes primary school is too late to start pushing for social mobility.

If she were to speak now to a young girl growing up in a rental flat like herself, she said, she would ask her to "go out and be aggressive about what you want. Find your allies and your supporters".

"Don't be afraid, don't limit yourself to thinking you can only take certain kinds of jobs. You can be a senior banker, you can be a law partner. We have it in this country to provide opportunities for everyone."

Mr Shawn Huang, 37

Director for enterprise development at Temasek Holdings


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Mr Huang spent 19 years with the Republic of Singapore Air Force, where he began as a pilot trainee.

He was subsequently sent to the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering with distinction. He was the first non-American top graduate in military performance.

The father of two is now a director for enterprise development at state investment firm Temasek Holdings.

He has spent the last decade volunteering in Taman Jurong constituency, mentoring children from low-income homes and helping former prison inmates restart their lives.

He has also chaired the Community Arts and Culture Club, which holds arts and culture activities for residents.

"Art is the bedrock of civilisation," he said.

For him, digitalisation is the greatest leveller when it comes to social mobility, and he hopes to push for further growth of e-commerce and improvements to home-based learning.

Ms Chan Hui Yuh, 44

Marketing director


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Ms Chan assisted the PAP in Aljunied GRC at the 2015 general election, but did not stand as a candidate then because her two children were too young.

Now that they are in primary and secondary school respectively, she decided it is a better time for her to enter politics.

She began grassroots work in Siglap in 2000, later becoming the chairman of the Siglap Citizens' Consultative Committee.

In 2015, she moved to become an adviser to Aljunied Grassroots Organisations.

The mother of two, who works as a marketing director at Jingslink Marketing, hopes to speak up for low-income families.

"We have women who, because they have to look after their children, cannot go out to work, so we need to have more childcare facilities and negotiate affordable childcare so women can have the peace of mind to go out and earn living," she said.

Ms Carrie Tan, 38

Founding executive director of charity Daughters of Tomorrow


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Ms Tan, the second daughter of a taxi driver-turned-contractor and a housewife, left the private sector in 2012 to set up social enterprise Daughters of Tomorrow, which helps underprivileged women in Singapore sustain their livelihoods.

She previously worked in the advertising industry before setting up her sole proprietorship consultancy, providing headhunting and talent development services in Singapore and Shanghai.

"I think we need innovation for the country beyond the scale of the economy... as well as in areas of technology," said Ms Tan, who is single and has been walking the ground in Nee Soon GRC.

"I hope to bring my experience and my skills in community building into politics and create a slightly different space where, beyond the efficiency and the task-drivenness of solving problems, we can create a space for people's feelings to be valued and acknowledged," she said.

She added that "certain people or groups in society... may feel that the Government may be a little bit high-handed at times".

"I think it's very normal when people are required to perform under pressure and to solve problems. I feel that by being in politics at present, I can bring my brand of care and empathy to the way politics is discussed, especially in this age of social media, and also in Parliament."

MR XIE YAO QUAN, 35

Head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital


ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Mr Xie has been helping out with the Covid-19 battle amid the pandemic, as he leads Alexandra Hospital’s operations in a major community care facility and other areas.

Before moving into public healthcare, Mr Xie spent five years in the private sector at an investment company. Before that, he spent six years in the Singapore Armed Forces.

Mr Xie, who is married, wants to keep healthcare accessible, affordable and of quality for Singaporeans, as well as support the lower-income families and vulnerable individuals holistically.

He has been an active volunteer in the community since 2015, introducing several initiatives to support lower-income families in Jurong.

“We need to listen deeply to residents and bring their suggestions together to improve lives and build a better home. There is so much energy and wisdom in the community,” said Mr Xie.