Younger activists speak up on jobs, economy

Ms Fang Eu-Lin from the party's Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng branch spoke about the challenges of disruptive technology.
Ms Fang Eu-Lin from the party's Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng branch spoke about the challenges of disruptive technology.

The People's Action Party (PAP) gave a glimpse of its promising younger faces at its annual assembly of members, when three activists took to the stage to speak about issues such as jobs and the economy, as well as Singapore's need to remain competitive in a rapidly changing world.

They were Ms Fang Eu-Lin, 39, from PAP's Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng branch, Ms Asyifah Rashid, 27, from the Marsiling branch, and Mr Jagathishwaran Rajo, 30, from the Zhenghua branch.

Some party members who made speeches at past PAP conventions and conferences have gone on to be fielded as election candidates.

In 2014, Ms Cheryl Chan and Mr Saktiandi Supaat spoke at the PAP's 60th anniversary rally. They were fielded in the 2015 General Election and elected in Fengshan and Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC , respectively.

"The people who speak are perhaps the more prominent new faces," said law don Eugene Tan, a former Nominated MP.

Prof Tan added: "Increasingly, the PAP at its party conventions has been profiling more of the rank and file, and trying to change the perception that it parachutes people into the party for the elections."

However, a party insider, who asked not to be named, said: "It is too early to say whether those who spoke yesterday will be fielded as candidates. Some who spoke at past conventions have not yet been fielded."

Ms Fang, a partner at consultancy PwC Singapore, said that with disruptive technology like artificial intelligence driving greater automation, employers need to review their workforce to understand which jobs will be hit and what types of skills upgrading are needed.


The daughter of Ms Fang Ai Lian, a Nominated MP from 2002 to 2006, she said: "Evidently, times and challenges have changed, and a change in mindset by employers is required so as to give more opportunities to those around us."

Ms Asyifah, an A*Star biomedical research administrator, stressed the need for Singapore to remain exceptional by transforming itself boldly.

She said a good social security system can be effective in countering a risk-averse culture.

Mr Jagathishwaran, an NTUC industrial relations officer, said the Government should be fiscally prudent while staying committed to protecting vulnerable groups.

Seow Bei Yi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2017, with the headline 'Younger activists speak up on jobs, economy'. Print Edition | Subscribe