Good Morning. Thank you so much for attending today’s press conference.
It is an honour to once again represent our supporters and residents in the coming by-election.
Why We Continued in Hougang
When it became clear that a by-election would be held, I was asked by friends and journalists on my thoughts of being in an election so soon after GE2011. I told them that it would be an honour to be fielded again because of two important things. First, even though we suffered a setback in GE2011, our residents have been encouraging me onwards. Second, we have a long term plan and commitment to Hougang.
I remembered that on 9 May 2011, my team and I continued our weekly Coffee Session with Residents. It was postponed during the GE campaign. There were important follow-ups for residents and we wanted to make sure that their issues were managed properly. We were naturally disappointed at the GE results, but work had to continue. We could not just walk away.
At the start of that session, residents started streaming in and offered their appreciation for us continuing to be there for them. Then an old lady held my hands and said, “I am so sorry that you did not succeed. But you had done good deeds and I’ll always support you in whatever you do”. Emotions welled up inside me, and I felt charged up. It became clear to me that our work had not gone unnoticed and that we had truly made a difference in people’s lives. That singular moment continues to be my motivation today.
Our Focus in Hougang
Today, we continue our work in Hougang, bringing forth various social assistance initiatives to benefit residents. That is because we have a long term commitment to our residents. Caring for our needy elderly is still a priority because they need the most help. We continued rebuilding our low income senior citizens’ toilets. Our medical consultation and TCM clinic continue to provide subsidized healthcare. We have also expanded our support to residents. We partnered Sunlove Home to give out hearing aids. The take-up was very encouraging and we have planned for the next phase.
Low Income Residents
We are also focused on helping low income residents address some cost of living issues. The Government is concerned and is providing Singaporeans support through this year’s Budget. But my approach is to do more, on top of what the Government does. I will mobilise support and resources, and take real, concrete steps to help residents with their problems. I continued raising funds so that our low income students could get their transport subsidies. Our program to help Primary 6 students prepare for PSLE, has now been expanded to a full year tuition program. And we opened a Job Hub to provide long term employment assistance.
Our work and initiatives show that we are committed to our residents. However, I am in no doubt that we will face a tough contest. But our spirit is strong and we will fight to convince voters that we are the better choice for their long term future. Residents have told us that we are making a difference in their lives. That we understand their problems and solve them as best as we can. That we do not just air their concerns but also act on them. We have been there to serve them and will always be there for them.
I’ve gotten to know Desmond better over this last year. I really do think he is a good candidate to be fielded in Hougang. I guess he remains the underdog but I admire his continuing efforts immediately after GE2011. No one expected a By-election to take place so it would have been reasonable to look towards 2016. Yet he has put in place a number of useful initiatives that has made a real difference to many people. All the best Desmond!
SINGAPORE: Thirty-four-year-old Desmond Choo will be the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate in the by-election for the single-member constituency of Hougang on May 26.
Mr Choo, who is Second Advisor to Hougang Grassroots Organisations, was introduced as a candidate at a media conference on Thursday by PAP’s Second Assistant Secretary-General Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Tharman said Mr Choo did not leave after the GE but worked even harder on the ground, and over the past year has connected with many people through weekly coffee sessions and regular house visits.
Mr Choo pledged to fight as a better choice for voters, and to “always be there for them”.
He said the PAP has a long-term plan and commitment to Hougang and also promised to mobilise support and resources, as well as take real and concrete steps to help residents with their problems.
“Our spirit is strong and we will fight to convince voters that we are the better choice for their long-term future,” Mr Choo said.
The by-election will be Mr Choo’s second attempt at the Hougang seat, which was vacated by the Workers’ Party’s (WP’s) Yaw Shin Leong after he was expelled from WP in February.
Mr Choo said that despite his setback in General Election of 2011, residents have been encouraging and told him that the party’s work and initiatives have made a difference in their lives.
He said his party has continued his work in Hougang, introducing various social assistance initiatives to benefit residents.
Mr Choo, who has been working in the community for more than 10 years, said caring for the needy elderly is still a priority because they need the most help.
He said the focus is also on helping low-income residents cope with problems such as the cost of living, on top of what the Government does.
“Our work and initiatives show that we are committed to residents and they have told us that we are making a difference in their lives. We are not just airing concerns but acting on them, showing that we are there to serve them and will always be there for them,” Mr Choo said.
Mr Tharman believes Mr Choo can do much more as a Member of Parliament, both on his own and backed up by the whole PAP team.
Mr Tharman said that is why the party is proud to field him again as its candidate in the Hougang by-election.
Mr Tharman also outlined his party’s focus at the news conference.
Mr Tharman, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and Manpower, said since the General Elections last year, the government has been working hard to address immediate issues, such as housing, to build an inclusive Singapore where everyone shares in its progress.
Many dialogues have been held, while useful feedback and suggestions from Singaporeans have been taken on board.
Mr Tharman said the government is determined to implement new policies and work with Singaporeans to make sure that results are seen in a more inclusive society, where everyone does better.