Lawrence Wong will leave West Coast GRC to contest in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

Minister's announcement comes as contest shapes up among opposition in Potong Pasir

Mr Lawrence Wong's priority is to get to know residents in the new GRC.
Mr Lawrence Wong's priority is to get to know residents in the new GRC.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong will leave West Coast GRC for the new Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, the first of several moves of People's Action Party (PAP) candidates ahead of the general election.

Mr Wong, 42, announced his move at a National Day dinner in first-term MP Ong Teng Koon's Woodgrove ward, part of the new four-MP group representation constituency where he is likely to be the anchor minister.

Meanwhile, a battle began to shape up in the opposition over Potong Pasir, which the PAP won back after 27 years at the 2011 general election by a 114-vote margin.

Yesterday, former National Solidarity Party secretary-general Tan Lam Siong declared his intention to run in the single seat, which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is also claiming.

It prompted a rejoinder from 2011 candidate Lina Chiam, now a Non-Constituency MP, who said she would never forsake Potong Pasir to stand elsewhere.

DPP chief Benjamin Pwee said his party is pulling out of Fengshan single seat as the Workers' Party (WP) is standing there.

The WP intends to contest 28 of the 89 seats, mostly in the east of Singapore where it has been walking the ground.

Mr Wong shifts from his Boon Lay ward in the west to a new area set to be contested by the Singapore Democratic Party.

Joo Chiat MP Charles Chong also announced his move to WP-held Punggol East single seat last night, and his replacement in Joo Chiat, now part of Marine Parade GRC, will likely be named today.

Mr Wong said he could not say who will take over his old ward, or who else will join his new team.

"Over the next few days and weeks, I am sure you will be seeing me with the existing MPs and the team walking around," he said. "You may see other people walking around with us on the ground... but we will only finalise and announce the candidates for the new GRC probably later in August."

Talk among PAP activists is that Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, an MP for Jurong GRC, might be bound for Marsiling-Yew Tee to strengthen the team, which will likely include Mr Ong as well as Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Alex Yam, whose Yew Tee ward is part of the new GRC.

Nee Soon GRC MP Patrick Tay may, in turn, move to Mr Wong's seat in West Coast GRC.

Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC has an estimated 107,527 voters, many of them young families living in new Housing Board estates in this north-west corner of the island.

Mr Charles Tan, 42, who was at last night's dinner with some friends, said he was surprised by news of Mr Wong's move.

"I think it will be good to have a minister on board who is in charge of youth. There are quite a lot of young families in this area," the sales consultant added.

Mr Wong said his priority was to get to know residents and party activists across the new GRC.

"We are not starting from ground zero," he said. "There are strong teams... that have been working hard over the years, serving the residents."


On the ground

School department head picked for Kaki Bukit ward

Ward faces potential 4-cornered fight

Constituencies revived

Hot-seat days could return

Ward has history of PAP support

Buzz over candidates for constituency

Parking at parks without fuss

Historic area an electoral hot spot

What to look out for in the next GE 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 02, 2015, with the headline 'Lawrence Wong to move to new GRC'. Print Edition | Subscribe