Singapore GE2020: PSP ‘coming home’ to West Coast, not new to area, says Tan Cheng Bock

The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) may be a new party but it is not new to West Coast GRC, said chief Tan Cheng Bock, saying that he was responsible for a lot of the development in the constituency when he was the People’s Action Party (PAP) MP for Ayer Rajah.

Responding yesterday to a question on remarks by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, who had said on Saturday that the PAP will campaign on the basis of its track record of improving residents’ lives in the area, Dr Tan pointed to his time as MP of the constituency.

He said: “When I took over Ayer Rajah, it was actually a very ulu (remote) area. They had a lot of rebuilding, we made a lot of changes… What you see now in Ayer Rajah, particularly in Teban and Pandan, is to a large extent initiated by me when I was an MP there.”

“So to say that we’re new there, I don’t think so, we’re just coming home,” he told reporters during a visit to Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village.

Dr Tan, 80, was Ayer Rajah MP for 26 years from 1980 to 2006. The constituency was merged with West Coast GRC in 2006. He was chairman of the West Coast Town Council from 2001 to 2005, and said he had also looked after the surrounding constituencies in his roles as chairman of Jurong East Town Council and Bukit Timah Community Development Council.

Mr Iswaran, the minister leading the PAP’s West Coast GRC team, was first elected MP in West Coast GRC in 1997 and has been in the constituency since.

During his visit yesterday, Dr Tan was accompanied by fellow party members, including assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai and Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has been embroiled in a long-running feud with PM Lee over the fate of their father’s house in Oxley Road, but Mr Lee said his decision to join PSP has nothing to do with the family dispute.

“I think if you look at what I have been saying about my family issues, I’ve been able to say that without joining PSP. And if you look at what I’ve been articulating today, I’m not articulating anything about my family disputes… There’s no reason why I need to join a political party to articulate any grievances or concerns I have about my family disputes.”

Dr Tan added: “Frankly speaking, when Hsien Yang came to see me, I was very clear about this. And he understands our position, because there’s always a fear that Hsien Yang is going to come to my party and talk about his agenda.”