Tanjong Pagar GRC's Chia Shi-Lu not contesting in GE2020

Kind of abrupt.

Belmont Lay| June 29, 2020, 10:50 AM

The People's Action Party (PAP) has announced its line-up for Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC for the 2020 General Election.

Absent from the Tanjong Pagar team is two-term backbencher Chia Shi-Lu, who will be stepping down.

Shortly after he was not announced as part of the team to return to do electoral battle, Chia put up a farewell message on Facebook:

Chia is a doctor in his late 40s.

Chia's entry into politics

Chia's foray into politics was devoid of contest.

He was pulled in at the last minute from the PAP's reserve list for the 2011 election after potential Tampines candidate Steve Tan withdrew.

A slot was opened up in Tanjong Pagar GRC as Baey Yam Keng left to fill Steve Tan's spot.

This vacancy in Tanjong Pagar GRC was filled by Chia.

The PAP won in Tanjong Pagar with a walkover that year.

Due to his late entry into the political fold, Chia did not make the usual introduction rounds and escaped public scrutiny.

Recent controversy

However, Chia courted controversy during the recent Covid-19 pandemic in April.

He "made a quick trip" to distribute reusable masks to the hawkers at Alexandra Village Hawker Centre, despite Singapore being in circuit breaker mode and all forms of socialising were to be stamped out.

Following his antics, the PAP suspended its walkabouts.

Sam Tan to also step down

Also stepping down is Sam Tan, Minister of State for Social and Family Development and Foreign Affairs.

He will not run in Radin Mas SMC.

Tanjong Pagar's Melvin Yong, assistant secretary-general at the National Trades Union Congress, will run in the Radin Mas single seat.

The new Tanjong Pagar team would include three incumbent MPs and two new candidates.

They are:

• Chan Chun Sing (Trade and Industry Minister)

• Indranee Rajah (Minister in the Prime Minister's Office)

• Joan Pereira (one-term MP)

• Eric Chua (former civil servant)

• Alvin Tan (LinkedIn senior executive)

Tanjong Pagar formerly helmed by Lee Kuan Yew

Tanjong Pagar is traditionally a PAP stronghold.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew ran there in every election from 1955 to 2011.

This GE2020 will likely see the GRC light up with sporadic battle.

Former PAP Member of Parliament Tan Cheng Bock's Progress Singapore Party is expected to contest Tanjong Pagar.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's brother Lee Hsien Yang is rumoured to be running there, but his candidacy is still unconfirmed.

Chan Chun Sing said on June 26 when asked about the possibility of Lee Hsien Yang running in Tanjong Pagar: "It offers Tanjong Pagar residents a choice."

"So, we are not particularly focused on who is coming or going. From the PAP team's perspective, we are focused on serving our residents day in, day out, and we have been doing that for the last many years," he added.

Top photo via Chia Shi-Lu