Home News In profile: Poh Li San, possible PAP candidate for next GE?

In profile: Poh Li San, possible PAP candidate for next GE?

When asked about her candidacy for the next GE she told them she would be happy to do so if she were to be given the opportunity to serve the residents of Sembawang further




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Singapore–Poh Li San has been in the spotlight of late, with speculation that the Changi Airport Group vice-president will be entering the political arena as a candidate for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).

Earlier this month The Independent ran a story about Ms Poh, reporting that Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao had published an article speculating that Ms Poh might possibly be part of PAP’s lineup in the next General Election.

These speculations may only have gotten stronger after Sunday, March 24, with remarks Ms Poh made to the press at Kampung Admiralty, during the launch of the Women’s Festival 2019, addressing this matter.

The press asked Ms Poh regarding the possibility of her candidacy in the next GE, and she told them she would be happy to do so if she were to be given the opportunity to serve the residents of Sembawang further.

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However, The Straits Times says that she told the media that it’s too soon to tell if the offer would comer her way.

“If there is an opportunity for me to serve residents at a deeper level, I will be most honoured to do so, and I will do my best as well. At this moment, it is still uncertain and is really up to anybody’s guess.”

She added, “Right now, I am focused on making sure that I do my job well, run my events well in Sembawang and contribute to the community.”

Roots and wings

As many people know, Ms Poh’s roots are in aviation. She isn’t just any pilot. In the biography for RSAF publication, A Vision for our Time, “she is a Super Puma Pilot by vocation.”

She has done Search and Rescue operations at sea and is an avid traveler and marathon runner.

Later, Ms Poh served as a full-time aide-de-camp to former President S R Nathan, being the very first woman to do so.

The next phase in Ms Poh’s career was working for Changi Airport Group. She has had a hand in seeing Terminal 4 come to fruition and aided in the planning of Terminal 5.

In the field of politics, Ms Poh took her first steps with attending as well assisting with Ong Ye Kung’s Meet-the-People Sessions on Mondays.

But by October of last year, she formally joined the Sembawang branch of the PAP, where she is vice chairman. She has also been featured in the social media accounts of Khaw Boon Wan and Vikram Nair.

But will she or won’t she?

However, events are pointing to the ever-increasing likelihood of Ms Poh as a candidate, especially after yesterday’s well-attended event, which she organized along with several others from Sembawang GRC’s People’s Association Women’s Executive Committees.

The launch of Women’s Festival 2019 had the all-male Sembawang GRC MPs present: Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs Amrin Amin, Vikram Nair, and Lim Wee Kiak.

Transport Minister Khaw posted about the Women’s Festival 2019 on his Facebook page. The festival was one of Mr Khaw’s first public appearances after he injured his arm in a fall.

He wrote, “Sembawang’s Women’s Festival celebrates our women and their critical contributions to families, societies and the country. They must first look after themselves, stay healthy and active and socially engaged. Then they can help ‘prop up half of the sky’, as Mao Zedong put it decades ago.”


Ms Poh may very well be responding to the call from Josephine Teo, the country’s Manpower Minister. At the start of this year’s International Women’s Month, Ms Teo put forth a call for more women to throw their hats into the political ring.

Of Ms Teo’s call, Changi Airport Group vice-president’s said, “It is a great call and a great way to get women to step forward and contribute to the community and country… We need to bring more women on board together because it will be more powerful to work as a team of women leaders.”

As someone who has broken through the glass ceiling, Ms Poh certainly knows what she is talking about.

Read related: Mainstream media speculates that SAF scholar and ex-pilot could be fielded as PAP candidate in next GE


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