PA chief executive director to step down, leave public service

PA chief executive director Desmond Tan (left) will be replaced by current deputy chief executive Lim Hock Yu.
PA chief executive director Desmond Tan (above) will be replaced by current deputy chief executive Lim Hock Yu.
PA chief executive director Desmond Tan (left) will be replaced by current deputy chief executive Lim Hock Yu.
PA chief executive director Desmond Tan will be replaced by current deputy chief executive Lim Hock Yu (above).

The People's Association's (PA) chief executive director Desmond Tan Kok Ming will step down and leave the public service on June 15, fuelling speculation that he could enter politics at the upcoming general election.

PA announced in a press statement yesterday that current deputy chief executive Lim Hock Yu, 55, will succeed Mr Tan, 49.

The PA statement gave no indication of Mr Tan's next move after he leaves the public service. He rose to the rank of brigadier-general in the Singapore Armed Forces and took the helm at PA on Jan 16, 2017.

When contacted, Mr Tan told The Straits Times that his stepping down is part of the leadership renewal in PA. "I have some plans in mind and (these) will firm up in time. I also hope to continue to serve the community in other capacities. In the meantime, I will be spending more time with my family," he said in an e-mail.

In his reply, he did not address a question posed to him on whether he would be entering politics.

Grassroots sources suggest that Mr Tan could be fielded as a candidate for the ruling People's Action Party in the upcoming election.

Mr Tan has, in recent weeks, been highlighted in Facebook posts on grassroots matters by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is the anchor minister for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. Mr Teo had tagged him in a May 31 post, for instance, after a discussion with 150 activists from Punggol.

Besides Mr Tan, Mr Teo also tagged MPs from the GRC and other potential new faces - Mr Mohamed Sharael Mohd Taha, vice-president for the strategy and project management office at Singapore Aero Engine Services; and Caregiver Asia's chief executive Yeo Wan Ling, who is also vice-chairman of Punggol North Citizens Consultative Committee.

During Mr Tan's time at the helm, PA introduced Residents' Networks and Youth Networks to encourage social mixing and help young people better serve their communities. He also led its efforts to support the community during the Covid-19 crisis - including mask distribution exercises and the Temporary Relief Fund application at community clubs and residents' committees.

His successor, Mr Lim, is a retired brigadier-general who joined PA in 2016.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2020, with the headline 'PA chief executive director to step down, leave public service'. Print Edition | Subscribe