SINGAPORE - The opposition Workers' Party (WP) on Thursday (June 25) introduced four of the new candidates it will be fielding in the July 10 general election.
The two first-time candidates are research analyst at an investment bank Louis Chua Kheng Wee, 33, and Mr Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip, 34, a gig-economy worker.
They also introduced two candidates who have stood for election in the past.
One was Ms Nicole Seah, 33, an associate director in a multinational marketing firm who has been volunteering with the WP since 2015. She was a National Solidarity Party candidate in the 2011 election.
The final candidate introduced was education entrepreneur Yee Jenn Jong, 55, who was an NCMP from 2011 to 2015.
In all, the WP will be fielding 21 candidates in six constituencies at the upcoming polls - five in Aljunied, East Coast and Marine Parade GRCs, four in the new Sengkang GRC, and one each for Hougang and Punggol West SMCs.
The party will be introducing more candidates from tomorrow and at the weekend.
Mr Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip, 34, Grab driver and small business owner
Mr Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip, 34, lost his left leg in a road traffic accident in 2014.
And the experience of having a disability highlighted for him the need for a more inclusive society in Singapore - a cause he hopes to champion if elected to Parliament.
"We want to be an inclusive society, but when it comes to the disabled groups, it tends to be... lip service," said Mr Azhar, who was one of two first-time candidates introduced on Thursday by the WP.
Mr Azhar, who has volunteered at food distribution and community outreach programmes in Aljunied GRC, holds a political science degree from the National University of Singapore. He was a marine insurance broker with an international brokerage when the accident occurred. Now he is a Grab driver and small-business owner.
Said Mr Azhar, who is divorced with a child: "That is one thing I would like to change in society... (I want to help) disabled groups to make sure they are being assisted, that those who want to work are given equal opportunities for employment and receive the help they deserve."
Mr Louis Chua Kheng Wee, 33, equity research analyst with a global investment bank
As an equity research analyst with a global investment bank, Mr Louis Chua Kheng Wee, 33, advises investors on whether they should put money in a particular company.
His work has taught him the value of transparency, disclosure requirements, and the presence of external parties, such as regulators and an independent board of directors, to ensure proper corporate governance.
"It is with this understanding that I strongly believe that a monopoly in government is never a good thing without an effective opposition in Parliament," said Mr Chua, one of two new candidates introduced on Thursday by the WP.
Mr Chua has a degree in accountancy from the Singapore Management University and is a qualified chartered accountant.
Building a more resilient society means recognising that dissenting views should not only be accepted but also encouraged, he said.
"This will ensure that we come up with the best ideas to take Singapore forward," said Mr Chua, who is married with a nine-month-old son.
He said: "I really care deeply for the future of Singapore that my son will grow up in."
Ms Nicole Seah, 33, associate director at a multinational marketing group
WP candidate Nicole Seah, 33, is a familiar face on the campaign trail, having been the star candidate for the National Solidarity Party (NSP) during the 2011 general election. She did not stand in the 2015 general election, but will contest the upcoming polls as a candidate for the WP.
Speaking at a virtual press conference on Thursday, Ms Seah, an associate director at a multinational marketing group, said she recognised that returning to the political scene would mean increased scrutiny.
"To be honest, I'm having a very stable career right now, my personal life is in a very good state," she said. "But I do it for the party, because I believe in the leadership and I believe in the vision, and I do it for my daughter."
Ms Seah, who is married with a one-year-old daughter, added: "I want to leave behind a legacy for her where she would feel comfortable regardless of the political inclinations or the kinds of views that she's expressing."
Ms Seah, who resigned from the NSP in 2014, said she was drawn to the ethos of the WP, which believes in "building a strong and reasonable opposition that contributes to our political landscape in Singapore in a constructive manner".
She has been volunteering with the WP since 2015.
Ms Seah said youth employability will be an issue she will champion, noting that some young people are hired on the basis of having more life experience or global exposure.
"This is not available to everyone. And that puts a lot of youth at a disadvantage when they come out into the workforce," she said.
We need to make sure that we do our utmost to make them as competitive as possible in a global workforce."
Mr Yee Jenn Jong, 55, entrepreneur
Mr Yee Jenn Jong, 55, ran and lost to candidates from the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) in the 2011 and 2015 general elections.
On July 10, he will stand for the third time as a candidate for the WP because he believes Singapore needs a strong alternative in Parliament.
"Only when there's competition would the PAP listen to you," said Mr Yee at a press conference on Thursday. "In business, we need anti-monopoly laws to keep companies from taking advantage of consumers and to keep on innovating. The same goes for politics as well."
In 2011, Mr Yee narrowly lost to the PAP's Charles Chong in Joo Chiat SMC, with 48.99 per cent of the vote.
The SMC was absorbed into Marine Parade GRC in 2015, and Mr Yee was fielded as part of WP's slate of five candidates then. The WP garnered 35.9 per cent of votes.
Mr Yee said he continues to be active on the ground, and has initiated community projects in Marine Parade GRC, such as distributing food to lower-income families since the start of the circuit breaker.