The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) held another press conference on Tuesday (June 23) at which its Secretary-General, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, introduced the next group of candidates he intends to field in the coming General Election.
This slate of candidates included Ms Kayla Low, Dr Ang Yong Guan and Mr Abas bin Kasmani.
Ms Kayla Low, a chief operating officer and international financial professional, is the only woman among the candidates introduced.
Ms Low could not contain her tears as she spoke about her past of hardship, during which she had to worry about every meal. She said working harder than most people had made her grateful for all that she had now. Ms Low also spoke about her volunteer work with the less fortunate, during which she gives out food or helps the elderly with housework. This, she said, had familiarised her with the plight of the poor in Singapore.
She emphasised that she supported Dr Tan’s principles and ended her introduction by setting herself apart from People’s Action Party (PAP) members. She listed that she was neither a yes man nor a scholar, she had gone through hardships and was familiar with the ground through her experiences and interactions during her time as a prison officer.
When asked about how her family had reacted to her entry into politics, she replied that she had discussed wanting to join PSP with her children and her husband. She added that her children had been taught to be independent from a young age.
She also mentioned that time management and prioritising were not difficult for her due to her past, and that her priority now was to help the less fortunate in society.
The second candidate introduced at the press conference, Dr Ang Yong Guan, has been a psychiatrist for more than 30 years. He said that he understood people and the issues that made them tick.
Dr Ang was awarded the Public Service Medal in 1995 for his contribution as a community leader in Kembangan constituency, and the Public Administration Medal in 1996 for his service in the Singapore Armed Forces. He founded the Action Group for Mental Illness (AGMI), a non-profit advocacy group formed to champion for persons with mental illness.
Dr Ang said that “economic growth and prosperity must come with emotional security”. He said that he saw himself contributing to the quality of life of Singaporeans.
About the incumbent, Dr Ang said that there was complacency and groupthink at the top. He insisted that there was “nothing wrong with diversity of views” and that it was time to abandon the system of one-party rule in place now.
When asked about his previous experience in politics and his reasons for joining the PSP, Dr Ang highlighted the huge difference between ground campaigning and online campaigning. He also likened opposition parties going into the coming elections as “going into campaign with your hands tied to the back”.
He spoke of his experience in the 2011 elections and the palpable anger that could be felt from the ground. The years leading up to 2011, he said, gave the opposition momentum, causing the first Group Representation Constituency (GRC) to fall into the hands of the opposition.
However, he said, 2015 was full of “transferred gratitude”, where members of the public, full of gratitude for Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew, transferred their feelings of gratitude onto his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
As for his reasons for joining PSP, he said that he could see himself in Dr Tan, and that the values Dr Tan was championing are values that are important in society. Dr Ang emphasised that his political views have not changed, jokingly saying that his “operating system is still Android”.
The third candidate introduced at the press conference, Mr Abas bin Kasmani, was praised by Dr Tan as being a strong communicator and a relationship builder. He has more than 40 years of experience in management, coaching, training, facilitating and advising.
Mr Abas spoke about a significant event in his youth and how it shaped his idea of service. As a young boy in British-administered Singapore, he saw a couple requesting service regarding their passports being treated extremely rudely by the staff.
Mr Abas said that he knew something in what he saw was not right. He emphasised that service “must be from the bottom of the heart”. He added that “the more you give, the more you get”. /TISG