SINGAPORE – The PAP’s deployments – including those in East Coast and West Coast GRCs – are based on several factors, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said at a press conference on Nomination Day on Tuesday (June 30).
The party looks at where the most important contests may be, putting in place teams which fit each constituency’s needs and are able to put up a good fight, he said.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee moved from Jurong GRC to join Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, while Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has left his Tampines stronghold to helm East Coast, replacing outgoing anchor minister Lim Swee Say.
Asked if two Cabinet ministers had been deployed to West Coast in anticipation of a close contest, Mr Lee replied that the decision was “not a totally surprising thing”.
He added that two heavyweights have been fielded in a single GRC before.
For instance, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo were both in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in the last election.
Similarly, Marine Parade GRC boasted Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, as well as Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, he said.
“So we try to spread out our ministers but sometimes we have two in one place, it so turns out,” Mr Lee said.
At the press conference after the slates were finalised, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean was also asked for his thoughts on losing several experienced MPs from his Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which is in for a three-way contest.
Mr Teo Ser Luck and Mr Zainal Sapari will not be contesting this election, while labour chief Ng Chee Meng has moved to helm the new Sengkang GRC.
In addition, Ms Sun Xueling’s Punggol West ward has been carved out into a new single-seat constituency.
“I feel honoured to be able to bring up MPs and to allow them to be able to grow and also to bring their experience to other constituencies and to look after the residents there,” said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security. “But I’m very excited by this new team that I have in Pasir Ris-Punggol.”
The GRC has been downsized to a five-man constituency and will boast three new faces. They are Mohamed Sharael Taha, 39; Yeo Wan Ling, 44; and Desmond Tan Kok Ming, 50. Rounding up the slate is Senior Minister of State for Transport and Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary.
“I’ve worked with them and they’re good, solid people and I’m confident that they will look after – together with Janil and myself – the residents of Pasir Ris and Punggol,” Mr Teo said.
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