SINGAPORE: The four candidates vying for the Punggol East parliamentary seat will be campaigning hard over the next nine days to capture votes from some 31,600 residents.
The four candidates are: Dr Koh Poh Koon from the People’s Action Party (PAP), Mr Kenneth Andrew Jeyaretnam from the Reform Party (RP), Mr Desmond Lim Bak Chuan from the Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) and Ms Lee Li Lian from the Workers’ Party (WP).
On January 26, Punggol East residents will go to the polls to pick one of the four candidates to represent them in Parliament.
The seat was vacated last month by former Member of Parliament Michael Palmer.
It will be Singapore’s second by—election since the 2011 General Election and it has the longest list of contenders for a parliamentary seat since 1997.
PAP candidate Dr Koh, a colorectal surgeon, is a fresh face. The 40—year—old, who has dubbed himself "the son of Punggol", has already outlined areas of concern he plans to focus on —— namely ensuring renovations to Rivervale Plaza stay on track and improving childcare amenities for the constituency.
Despite being flanked by party leaders at the nomination centre, Dr Koh said he is his own man and will run his own campaign.
"My supporters, voters of Punggol East, let us work together to make a better Punggol East," he said.
Many believe Dr Koh’s biggest opponent will be the WP’s Lee Li Lian.
She is no stranger to residents in Punggol East having contested there in the 2011 General Election.
She was then Mr Palmer’s closest contender and garnered 41 per cent of valid votes.
Ms Lee said: "I will serve you whole—heartedly and I will continue and constantly stand up for your rights. On 26th of January, vote for the Workers’ Party and send me into Parliament."
Also back to make another bid for the Punggol East seat is SDA’s Secretary—General Desmond Lim.
He too had contested in the constituency at the 2011 General Election but lost his election deposit when he garnered just 4.5 per cent of the valid votes.
Undeterred, Mr Lim said he is determined to serve the residents, having been active in the area since 2005.
He said: "Dearest residents of Punggol East, Desmond Lim is back —— dedicated and more determined to serve you and your family in Punggol East."
Rounding up the four candidates is Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam.
This is the second electoral fight for the son of former Workers’ Party chief JB Jeyaretnam. He contested as part of a team in West Coast GRC in 2011.
Mr Jeyaretnam said: "This election, we are determined to bring a real choice to the voters of Punggol East. This is your chance to decide how you want to be represented."
Earlier, retired acupuncturist Zeng Guoyuan and private tutor Ooi Boon Ewe turned up at the nomination centre. However, both left without filing their nomination papers.
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