While it looked for a brief moment like Nee Soon might be the only constituency to see a walkover in GE2020, the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) announced on Jun. 26 that it would be putting up a fight against the incumbent People's Action Party (PAP) team helmed by Minister for Law and Home Affairs K Shanmugam.
The PSP team answered questions from the media on Nomination Day (Jun. 30) about the fact that it is fielding a notably larger number of minority candidates than most other teams, and shared its vision for Nee Soon.
PSP's Nee Soon team
Teams fielded in the five-member Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency (GRC) — which has an electorate of 147,047 people — must include at least one candidate from the Indian or other minority communities to contest.
The five candidates fielded by the PSP in Nee Soon are:
- Damien Tay Chye Seng, a 51-year-old Customer Service Manager who said he believes in championing better job opportunities for Singaporeans, equitable and proportionate distribution of wealth, and climate change.
- Bradley Bowyer, 53, has a background in media. He was previously involved in politics as a member of two other parties — PAP and People's Voice Party (PV).
- Sri Nallakaruppan is a 56-year-old Investment Specialist in capital markets. He is also the treasurer and one of the founding members of PSP.
- Kala Manickam, 52, was a former Platoon Commander in the Singapore Armed Forces before switching to the private sector. She holds 30 years of experience working in Human Resource Management and Learning Development.
- Muhammad Taufik Bin Supan, 40, is an IT professional with a Master's degree in IT. He was introduced as a candidate on Jun. 18 as "an ordinary Singaporean coming from a middle income family" and said he hopes to be a "catalyst for that change to make life better for Singaporeans, especially to those underprivileged".
"We all bleed red"
At a media doorstop, Tay responded to a question about how netizens have pointed out that four out of five members of the PSP Nee Soon team are minorities.
"Well, as I've mentioned before, we all bleed red," he said.
"So, regardless of whether you're Chinese, Malay, Indian, or Others, we're all Singaporeans.
And we are here to show that even though here we have more minorities, it doesn't make a difference, because we all stand for one thing — Singapore."
When asked whether it was a choice made purposefully, Tay said: "I wouldn't say it's a purposeful choice, but I will say that it is a choice made by the party and by all of us."
PSP ready to take on PAP
Tay also said that PSP is ready for the challenge of taking on the PAP team:
"We may be a new party, new boy on the block, but we rise up to the challenge.
We know what are the issues facing Nee Soon, and I think we are really up to it this time. So we are not too worried."
The two main issues they hope to address are jobs and the social safety net, Tay said.
Nallakaruppan also spoke about the importance of providing good jobs to Singaporeans, particularly PMET (professional, manager, executive and technician) jobs:
"What we need is jobs, good jobs.
And I feel very sorry; if you go other countries, normally the higher, well-paying jobs are done by the locals. Whereas... those other jobs that those locals don't do, then they open to the foreigners.
But, Singapore is the other side, opposite side. There's so many PMET jobs lost."
Nallakaruppan added that while the government's payouts may help in the short-term, they are not sustainable.
"So we are here for you — for Nee Soon residents, for all Singaporeans. We have come up with our Manifesto."
In the 2015 General Election in Nee Soon, the PAP team beat the Workers' Party team with 66.83 per cent of the vote.
Top photos via Progress Singapore Party.