Singapore GE2020: The battle for largest SMC Bukit Panjang

Singapore’s largest single-seat constituency has unexpectedly become a hot seat, leading to a battle between PAP parliamentarian Liang Eng Hwa and opposition heavyweight Paul Tambyah.
Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah and PAP Bukit Panjang SMC candidate Liang Eng Hwa greet each other while meeting residents in Bangkit Road on July 1, 2020.
Singapore Democratic Party chairman Paul Tambyah and PAP Bukit Panjang SMC candidate Liang Eng Hwa greet each other while meeting residents in Bangkit Road on July 1, 2020.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Singapore’s largest single-seat constituency, held by the PAP’s Teo Ho Pin for the past 14 years, has unexpectedly become a hot seat following his retirement. The SMC’s 35,497 eligible voters must now choose between PAP parliamentarian Liang Eng Hwa and opposition heavyweight Paul Tambyah. Clement Yong profiles the two candidates and asks them why they should be elected.

Liang Eng Hwa focused on the ground, bread-and-butter issues


The PAP's Mr Liang Eng Hwa in Fajar Road on Wednesday. ST PHOTO: JOEL CHAN

Mr Liang Eng Hwa believes that, if elected, he will be no less rigorous a check on the Government than a potential opposition Member of Parliament.

The three-term MP is staking his claim on single-seat Bukit Panjang by mostly emphasising municipal issues like estate upgrading - his passion project - as well as his track record.

But the 56-year-old People's Action Party candidate also believes that "I do the checks and balances sometimes more rigorously than opposition members", he told The Straits Times in an interview on Wednesday, adding that he had not shied away from debating on major national issues.

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Paul Tambyah wants to see change in economic policies



Singapore Democratic Party candidate Paul Tambyah meeting people in Bukit Panjang yesterday. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Professor Paul Tambyah has acquired a higher profile in recent months because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the infectious diseases specialist views his medical expertise as just one of the ways he can serve the country.

The professor of medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS), who has appeared on TV and radio programmes as an expert voice on the outbreak, said: "I mean, frankly, you are electing an MP, you are not electing a doctor.

"It may be beneficial, but you know, this virus is going to die out, the epidemic is going to be over."

More importantly, Singapore's economic policies need to change, the chairman of the Singapore Democratic Party said in an interview with The Straits Times on Wednesday.

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