Business as usual for MP Henry Kwek of Kebun Baru, which will return as SMC in coming GE

MP Henry Kwek said: "For us, the job remains the same, which is to serve our residents regardless of whether we are an SMC or GRC." ST PHOTO: CALVIN YANG

SINGAPORE - It was business as usual for MP Henry Kwek this weekend, even as his Kebun Baru ward has been carved out as a single-member constituency in the coming general election.

The 43-year-old, along with grassroots leaders, spent Sunday (March 15) morning meeting residents at the Mayflower Market and Food Centre.

He told The Straits Times: "For us, the job remains the same, which is to serve our residents regardless of whether we are an SMC or GRC (group representation constituency)."

The carving out of Kebun Baru from the five-member Nee Soon GRC will take 22,413 voters with it.

The latest Registers of Electors as on April 15 last year lists 142,731 eligible voters in the GRC.

If the People's Action Party (PAP) does not make any changes in the line-up there, the first-term MP will have to battle solo.

The executive director of an investment, trading and management consulting firm added: "We are always prepared for all eventualities. It doesn't change the work."

According to the report of the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee made public last Friday, four out of 14 SMCs will be new ones.

These new SMCs have been carved out from larger GRCs.

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They include Marymount out of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, Punggol West out of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Yio Chu Kang out of Ang Mo Kio GRC.

Mr Kwek, who was fielded in the last general election in 2015, said: "Over the last few years, I have been serving here and have built a deep bond with our residents. So I would love to continue to serve here with our team."

However, he said the final decision on who will be fielded lies with his party's Central Executive Committee.

Kebun Baru, where two in five residents are Pioneer and Merdeka Generation seniors, has traditionally been a PAP stronghold.

A slew of initiatives, including social work programmes and a networking club for professionals to gain insights for business leaders, have been put in place to help residents over the last few years. A new MRT station, Mayflower, is set to open later this year.

Due to the coronavirus situation, many outreach activities are now done differently, said Mr Kwek, who has been going around coffee shops and markets on a regular basis to communicate directly with residents, rather than through community events.

Residents interviewed said the MP is a familiar face in the estate.

Resident Anthony Lim, who is self-employed, said Mr Kwek has been doing good work on the ground.

"He listens to our concerns and makes changes here," he added in Mandarin.

"We hope he continues to serve our constituency."

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