Saturday, 27 September 2014

Fourth generation political leadership taking shape

Update 16 Nov 2014: New faces for PAP candidates? It's still early, says party

A People's Association event celebrating senior citizens in the Aljunied Cluster, comprising Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, was held on Saturday (Nov 15) evening

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob graced the event, alongside former PAP leaders Lim Boon Heng and Zainul Abidin Rasheed.

New faces touted as potential PAP candidates for Aljunied and Hougang were present at a People's Association event, but former party chairman Lim Boon Heng said it is still early to say if they will be fielded. They include:

  • Banker Chua Eng Leong, who is chairman of Eunos PAP branch
  • K Muralidharan Pillai in Paya Lebar; he is a lawyer by profession
  • Chan Hui Yuh in Serangoon, who works in a family business
  • Victor Lye in Bedok Reservoir-Punggol
  • Kahar Hassan, who took over the Kaki Bukit branch chairmanship from Ong Ye Kung
  • Lee Hong Chuang, who took over as chairman of the Hougang branch, replacing Desmond Choo
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Koh Poh Koon for Ang Mo Kio GRC?
Speaking to the media in his first visit to the constituency, Dr Koh Poh Koon said he will spend more time on the ground in Ang Mo Kio to see what areas he can contribute in

Spotted among Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s entourage at Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West's annual Tree Planting Day on Saturday (Nov 1) was Dr Koh Poh Koon - candidate for the Punggol East by-election in January 2013.

Dr Koh officially relinquished his post of Chairman of the PAP Punggol East Branch on Saturday. Speaking to the media, he said this was his first visit to the constituency, adding he will spend more time on the ground in Ang Mo Kio to see what areas he can contribute in.

"I came at the invitation of Mr Seng Han Thong, but obviously this is a big GRC so there could be many areas that we could participate and help in,” said Dr Koh. “So I'll serve in whichever area they feel I can contribute."

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ACRES founder Louis Ng announces move to join PAP
Analysts say it is unusual for activist to join party politics, but see no conflict of interest

Mr Louis Ng, 36, best known as the face of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), took the unusual route of announcing yesterday to a few reporters face-to-face and on social networking site Facebook that he has joined the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

But as political analysts pointed out, there is nothing common about a leader of a combative NGO — which has often taken on large corporations and government agencies on the issues of animal welfare — joining the ruling party.

Mr Ng, who founded ACRES about 13 years ago, said he was approached in May to join the PAP by Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, whom he had been helping in the Kembangan-Chai Chee ward. He took a month to decide.


Desmond Choo, Ong Ye Kung leave Aljunied, Hougang wards
Mr Desmond Choo and Mr Ong Ye Kung. TODAY file photo

After serving as grassroots advisers in constituencies where they lost during the General Election in 2011, Mr Ong Ye Kung and Mr Desmond Choo are leaving their positions in the opposition-held wards of Aljunied GRC and Hougang.

The People’s Association (PA) announced today (Sept 18) that Mr Choo had been appointed second adviser to Tampines Grassroots Organisations (GROs) for Tampines East.

Mr Ong, who has been volunteering in Sembawang GRC, relinquished his post as adviser for Kaki Bukit in Aljunied. Replacing them are veteran grassroots leaders Goh Chee Koh, 69, and Dr Kee Wei Heong, 64.

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PAP’s Ong Ye Kung & Desmond Choo move to GRCs
Dr Kee Wei Heong (standing, in dark shirt) and Mr Ong Ye Kung (standing, in purple shirt). (Photo: CNA)

The People’s Association (PA) announced yesterday (18 Sep) that they have appointed 2 new advisers, Mr Goh Chee Koh and Dr Kee Wei Heong to the WP-held wards of Hougang, and Kaki Bukit in Aljunied GRC.

Mr Goh, Honorary Chairman of Punggol Central Citizens’ Consultative Committee (CCC), has been appointed adviser to Hougang Grassroots Organisations (GROs) and Dr Kee, the chairman of the Bukit Gombak CCC, has been appointed adviser to the Aljunied GROs for Kaki Bukit.

They replace the 2 PAP candidates who lost in the previous general election in 2011: Mr Ong Ye Kung, who contested in Aljunied GRC, and Mr Desmond Choo, who contested in Hougang SMC. Mr Choo lost in Hougang again in a 2012 by-election.


EX-PAP CANDIDATES ONG YE KUNG, DESMOND CHOO MOVED TO OTHER CONSTITUENCIES
Former PAP candidates in the last election that lost in their respective constituencies have been moved to other constituencies

Mr Ong Ye Kung who was appointed as a grassroots adviser in Kaki Bukit following a loss in the 2011 GE at Aljunied GRC has been moved to Sembawang GRC with Khaw Boon Wan. Mr Desmond Choo who lost in Hougang has been moved to Tampines.

The two will start to serve residents through the Grassroots at these new areas in preparation for the next election.

Two other long-time grassroots leaders have been moved into their old constituencies to take over their responsibilities. These include Dr Kee Wei Keong, 64, and Mr Goh Chee Koh. Both have served in various grassroots for over 20 years.

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PAP's Desmond Choo moves out of Hougang
PAP's Desmond Choo

The People's Action Party (PAP) candidate who twice lost in election bids in the Hougang single-member constituency appears unlikely to contest there for a third time.

Mr Desmond Choo, 36, was this week named as the second adviser to grassroots organisations in Tampines East, a ward in Tampines GRC.

Its MP is former national development minister Mah Bow Tan, 66, who stepped down from the Cabinet after the 2011 General Election.

related:


Group urges more transparency in drawing electoral boundaries

In five General Elections, an area in Kaki Bukit bounded by the Pan-Island Expressway, Bedok North Road and Bedok North Avenue 3 has been part of four constituencies – split between the Aljunied and Eunos Group Representation Constituencies in 1988, absorbed into East Coast GRC in 1997, moved to Marine Parade GRC in 2006 and back to Aljunied GRC in 2011.

Highlighting the “frequent boundary changes”, human rights group Maruah on Thursday (Oct 9) called for more transparent deliberations by the committee that reviews electoral boundaries and for polling data at the precinct level to be made known.

Arbitrary and unnecessary electoral boundary changes breed cynicism about the political process and weaken the relationship between citizens and their elected representatives, Maruah argued in one of two position papers released.

related:

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FORMER GRASSROOTS VOLUNTEER: CHAN CHUN SING MIGHT BE CONTESTING IN SEMBAWANG GRC

The PAP has plans to introduce Chan Chun Sing into sembawang grc and move its current popular anchor minister khaw boon wan to a grc which is more vulnerable (PAP volunteers have speculated it to be East Coast GRC because Lim Swee Say is unpopular due to his poor people skills.)

In preparation for Chan Chun Sing's relocation to Sembawang GRC, grassroot leaders in that area have began softening the ground to ease the impact of Khaw Boon Wan moving away.

On 2nd november, Chan Chun Sing is going to participate in grassroot activities followed by coffee chit-chat session to understand the problems that Woodlands residents face.


FOUNDER OF ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP ACRES, LOUIS NG, JOINS THE PAP

Founder of Animal Rights group ACRES, Louis Ng, updated his facebook page this evening announcing that he has joined politics under the banner of the People's Action Party

Louis Ng FB: AM I ENTERING POLITICS?

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ACRES founder Louis Ng announces move to join PAP

Analysts say it is unusual for activist to join party politics, but see no conflict of interest

Mr Louis Ng, 36, best known as the face of non-governmental organisation (NGO) Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), took the unusual route of announcing yesterday to a few reporters face-to-face and on social networking site Facebook that he has joined the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
But as political analysts pointed out, there is nothing common about a leader of a combative NGO — which has often taken on large corporations and government agencies on the issues of animal welfare — joining the ruling party.

Mr Ng, who founded ACRES about 13 years ago, said he was approached in May to join the PAP by Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, whom he had been helping in the Kembangan-Chai Chee ward. He took a month to decide.

related: Ng keen to bring passion for animal welfare to the community

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PAP could lose ‘control, power over next 15-25 years’
PAP supporters at the Nomination centre at Singapore Chinese Girls School during the 2011 General Election. TODAY file photo

The People’s Action Party (PAP) could lose the dominance it currently enjoys in Parliament in 15 years, said prominent businessman Ho Kwon Ping yesterday, adding that the party could completely lose power a decade after that if the history of dominant political parties around the world is anything to go by.

“This is actually not a radical conclusion — almost everyone I informally surveyed broadly agreed with it, but (differed) only in their estimation as to how many years it would take before the PAP would lose an election and how many terms it would stay out of power before bouncing back,” Mr Ho added.

Mr Ho, who is executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings and an S R Nathan fellow, raised the scenarios at an Institute of Policy Studies (IPS)-Nathan lecture, where he spoke about politics and governance to an audience comprising about 300 civil servants, students, academics and members of the private sector.


Challenge for PAP to retain same dominance as in the past: Ho Kwon Ping

The People's Action Party will face a challenge to retain the same degree of control over Parliament as it has had in the past, said Mr Ho Kwon Ping in his first lecture as S R Nathan Fellow for the Study of Singapore.

Speaking at the University Cultural Centre, Mr Ho said history has not been encouraging to founding political parties after three or four generations. He said historical trends elsewhere point towards a possible election loss by the PAP in the second half of the next 50 years.

The most likely reason could be a freak election, followed by a split within the ruling party and a massive loss of political legitimacy, said Mr Ho.


Economist among likely PAP men for next GE
Mr Saktiandi heads the foreign exchange research team at Maybank

Two potential People's Action Party (PAP) candidates for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC team in the next General Election were spotted yesterday.

They are 48-year-old Chong Kee Hiong, chief executive of Singapore Exchange-listed OUE Hospitality Trust, and 41-year-old Saktiandi Supaat, a former Monetary Authority of Singapore economist now heading the foreign exchange research team at Maybank.

The duo were among Bishan-Toa Payoh grassroots leaders who accompanied Dr Ng Eng Hen when the Defence Minister opened a newly renovated Residents' Committee Centre at Toa Payoh East.

related:

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Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
Yesterday's round of Cabinet promotions has essentially confirmed the outline of Singapore's fourth generation of political leaders

Acting ministers Tan Chuan- Jin (Manpower) and Lawrence Wong (Culture, Community and Youth) will be full ministers from tomorrow, just shy of three years since they were first elected to Parliament.

They join Education Minister Heng Swee Keat and Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, who made the grade earlier.

That makes four full ministers from the batch of 24 new faces Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong inducted in 2011.

related:

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Opposition Aljunied GRC 'warming to PAP man'
Mr Chua Eng Leong (fourth from left), bantering with satay man Ramle Salleh at a party in Eunos ward yesterday to thank activists and residents for their support

When the People's Action Party's Mr Chua Eng Leong first started walking the ground in the opposition-held Aljunied GRC in May last year, residents gave him a cold, hostile reception.

But after spending the past year visiting nearly three-quarters of the homes in the constituency's Eunos ward and helming the weekly Meet-the-People Session (MPS), he senses that things have improved, he told The Straits Times.

Yesterday, the son of former Cabinet minister Chua Sian Chin met about 30 residents and activists for over an hour to thank them for their support.

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More PAP new blood for Aljunied
FRESH FACES: The new grassroots volunteers include Mr Wong (top, extreme right, partially hidden) and Mr Kahar (second from top, extreme right). They are posing for a selfie taken with PAP branch chairman Ong Ye Kung (bottom centre)

The People's Action Party (PAP) is shoring up its presence in opposition-held Aljunied GRC, with the induction of new grassroots volunteers earlier this week.

Kaki Bukit grassroots organisations adviser and PAP branch chairman Ong Ye Kung on Monday took a "selfie" with newly appointed volunteers in the ward's citizens' consultative committee (CCC), and posted it on his Facebook page. They include Mr Kahar Hassan, 45, and Mr Wong Hao, 36, a manager in a semiconductor firm.

Mr Kahar, who is a deputy director of infrastructure at railway operator SMRT, is one of two new faces in Aljunied GRC who were earlier identified by the media. The other is Ms Chan Hui Yuh, who is the incoming vice-chairman of the Serangoon CCC, which is in the same constituency.

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Potential PAP candidates 'already on the ground'
Potential People's Action Party (PAP) candidates are already active on the ground, ahead of the next General Election, said party organising secretary Ng Eng Hen

Their earlier-than-usual deployment came in response to feedback after the 2011 General Election, he said in an interview published in Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao yesterday.

Then, many Singaporeans had said the PAP should send people to grassroots organisations as early as possible.

"We have already begun doing this and several candidates are already active within the grassroots organisations," said Dr Ng, who is also Defence Minister.

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Desmond Choo will still continue with his plans for Hougang

Despite his defeat in the recent Hougang by-election, Desmond Choo will still continue with his plans for Hougang.

Since GE2011, Mr Choo has introduced various social assistance initiatives to benefit residents, such as a legal clinic for residents who need legal advice. He will also be assisting the newly elected MP for Hougang, Mr Png Eng Huat, with projects for the future of Hougang.

"As long as the projects are sound, good, practicable, and most importantly in the best interest for residents, I will be there to try my best to support," he said.

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Order of Succession And Baton Passing: Search for successor remains biggest challenge
AUG 12, 2004: Newly sworn-in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shaking hands with Singapore’s first PM, his father Lee Kuan Yew, who received his appointment as Minister Mentor from then President S R Nathan at the Istana

It has been a priority for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong right from the start - the search for Singapore's next prime minister.

Ten years into his premiership, it remains his biggest challenge, say political observers. "That seems to be a particularly pressing issue for the Cabinet and for PM Lee," says National University of Singapore (NUS) political scientist Reuben Wong. "Right now, we don't have a clear candidate."

With the other two prime ministers before Mr Lee, potential successors emerged earlier in their tenure, he adds. When Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew passed the baton to Mr Goh Chok Tong, the third leader, PM Lee, was already in the wings.

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GENES CAN BE INHERITED BUT NOT PERFORMANCE

The PM’s performance was the focus of the media interview at the end of SingFirst’s walkabout in his Ang Mo Kio GRC yesterday. It is common knowledge and widely felt among Singaporeans that the economy has become less robust and society is more divided, stressed and unhappy.

He has failed to repeat his father’s achievements as PM.

Lee Hsien Loong’s dismal record is unimaginable given that he has been “trained” as minister for 20 years before taking on the job as PM in 2004. Neither have the genes from his father been of much help. He might have inherited intelligent genes from his father but certainly not his performance. Unhappiness with their MP’s performance as PM was evident from our conversations with several groups of AMK residents in our walkabout. We met many residents who were severely affected by PAP’s policies that did not create a trickle down effect for the lower to middle class families, even in the PM’s GRC.

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related:
Next Prime Minister “likely” to be already in the cabinet
The politics of power dressing: Ho Ching
PM Lee Hsien Loong at G20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg
Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
Order of Succession And Baton Passing
Lee & Lee - The job has changed
PM Lee In The Limelight
PM Lee in Focus
Dangers Of 'Please-All Economics' Real: PM Lee
Singapore PM unveils new cabinet
GE2015: Taking victory in Humility
PM Lee in Focus
Snap General Elections in 2015?
Fourth generation political leadership taking shape
Order of Succession And Baton Passing
Snap General Elections in 2014/2015?
Snap General Election in Sep 2015?