The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) introduced another five candidates during a virtual press conference yesterday, including two retired Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) officers.
It was the third round of candidate introductions by the party and brings the total number of candidates it has made known so far to 17.
The party, led by Dr Tan Cheng Bock, has said it will be contesting 24 seats in nine constituencies in the coming general election.
The two former military men introduced are PSP organising secretary Michael Chua, 55, who has been spotted in party activities in Tanjong Pagar GRC, and Mr Nadarajah Loganathan, 57, the co-founder of a skills-training firm, who is expected to be on the party’s A-team in West Coast GRC.
Mr Chua was an SAF Merit Scholarship recipient in 1985. He left active service in 2002 as a major and continued doing national service as a deputy brigade commander until 2016.
Mr Loganathan retired from the military in 2009 as a lieutenant-colonel.
The other three candidates introduced yesterday are: lawyer Wendy Low, 43, who is also believed to be in the Tanjong Pagar GRC team; customer service manager Damien Tay, 51, who has been seen on walkabouts in Nee Soon GRC; and Mr Kumaran Pillai, 57, former publisher of the website The Independent Singapore, who confirmed that he will be running in the newly carved out single-seat ward of Kebun Baru.
Dr Tan, 80, said during the press conference that the five are ordinary people who just want to serve the country, and who subscribe to his message that “Singapore should change for the better”.
“They represent a spread of talent from all walks of life. Some may be more specialised, some may be just bringing their working experience to share with us, and also some of their involvement in NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the private sector, and also some of them have worked before in the government sector,” he said.
“They will bring along with them a lot of such experiences from all different sectors of our community and of our country.”
Asked about how age factored into his choice of candidates, given the five are all in their 40s and 50s, Dr Tan said that age was not a consideration.
FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE
They represent a spread of talent from all walks of life. Some may be more specialised, some may be just bringing their working experience to share with us, and also some of their involvement in NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and the private sector, and also some of them have worked before in the government sector.
DR TAN CHENG BOCK, chief of the Progress Singapore Party, on the five new candidates unveiled yesterday.
“This country belongs to all of us, young and old,” he said. “Don’t worry about age. I started my computer learning at 70. And then I’m now learning about all these, Zoom and so on, it’s so fun.”
MICHAEL CHUA, 55
Runs a private firm in the environmental sector
Mr Chua is the organising secretary of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), and one of its 12 founding members. He has been involved in party activities in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
“I believe that I have no right to urge others to step forward, if I myself am not willing to take the plunge. I must have skin in the game. I must be at the forefront to share how we can do better.”
Mr Chua was a Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Merit Scholarship recipient in 1985. He left active service in 2002 as a major and moved to the private sector, but continued doing national service as a deputy brigade commander until 2016.
“These experiences… shaped my thinking on how we can tackle the challenges the country faces, particularly the systemic problems that exist as a result of the structural deficiencies from an ever more rigid bureaucracy.”
NADARAJAH LOGANATHAN, 57
Co-founder of a skills-training firm
The former military officer is expected to be on the party’s A-team in West Coast GRC.
Mr Loganathan served in the SAF for 25 years, retiring in February 2009 as a lieutenant-colonel. He went on to start a skills-training firm.
He said that he will focus on education policies and push for Singaporeans to be placed first in all job opportunities.
Mr Loganathan has been volunteering with the Hindu Endowment Board since 2016, leading a team of volunteers to manage the crowds during Thaipusam.
He was also actively involved in the Indian Activities and Educational Committee in Limbang Community Club from 2015, until he joined the PSP in January last year.
“I’ve settled my family. My three girls are all graduating or going to graduate very soon. And so I will look at how to then help the country,” said Mr Loganathan.
KUMARAN PILLAI, 49
Runs a consultancy to develop start-ups
The former publisher of the website The Independent Singapore confirmed that he will be running in the new single-seat ward of Kebun Baru.
“I guess the cat is out of the bag for Kebun Baru. I’ve been walking the ground there. I’ve been doing my walkabouts at the Mayflower Market and in Sembawang Hills.”
Mr Kumaran left his post at the website in February this year after he entered politics.
He has been active in the start-up scene, running an incubator backed by Spring Singapore to launch about 28 local start-ups.
Mr Kumaran said an excessive focus on the economy has seen many in society left behind by government policies.
He said that after commenting and writing about politics for close to seven years, he was convinced by Dr Tan Cheng Bock, the party’s secretary-general, that it is not enough and he needs to take the fight into Parliament.
WENDY LOW, 43
Ms Low was a partner at Rajah & Tann from 2008 to 2017, and currently leads the intellectual property advisory and dispute practice of Eldan Law LLP.
She has been spotted in party walkabouts in Tanjong Pagar GRC.
She has advocated for women’s issues with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Hong Kong and Singapore, including in the Association of Women for Action and Research.
Ms Low has also been volunteering with Justice Without Borders, a cross-border NGO providing pro bono legal help to domestic workers in Singapore who have been abused or unfairly treated at work.
She said she has a passion for looking at issues of deep inequality, and wants to change the common mindset here that NGOs are “just trying to be difficult”. Instead, Ms Low said they can drive long-term positive changes for people impacted by certain issues, and help the Government make better policies too.
She also hopes to preserve local art, culture and heritage, and leverage on technology to let women and freelancers gain meaningful home-based employment.
DAMIEN TAY, 51
Customer service manager
Mr Tay has three decades of commercial operations experience in multinational corporations in the electronics, retail and medical industries. He has been spotted in party walkabouts in Nee Soon GRC.
Currently a customer service manager, Mr Tay has three broad areas which he wishes to effect change in.
First, he wants better job opportunities for Singaporeans, in the light of the disproportionate number of foreigners in Singapore’s workforce due to globalisation.
He also wants to bridge the inequality gap for a more equitable and proportionate distribution of wealth.
Mr Tay also wants to focus on addressing the impact of climate change here.