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GE2020: Two new SDA candidates to contest at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, party chief to step down after GE

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) introduced two new members who will be vying for seats at the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

GE2020: Two new SDA candidates to contest at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, party chief to step down after GE

Clockwise from top left: Mr Abu Mohamed, Mr Desmond Lim Bak Chuan, Mr Harminder Pal Singh, Mr Kuswadi Atnawi and Mr Kelvin Ong will be contesting at Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC.

SINGAPORE — The Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) introduced two new members who will be vying for seats at the Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Facilities management manager Kelvin Ong and electrical engineer Kuswadi Atnawi will be fielded alongside veteran members for the polls on July 10.

Mr Desmond Lim, 53, SDA’s chairman, also told reporters that he will be stepping down from his post after the coming General Election (GE).

He had earlier announced that the opposition coalition would be contesting only in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

GE2020 will be the third time that Mr Lim and Mr Harminder Pal Singh, 48, the party’s chief media officer, are contesting at the GRC and the second time for the coalition’s secretary-general, Mr Abu Mohamed, 69. 

On the new candidates, Mr Lim said in a media statement that Mr Ong and Mr Kuswadi have been committing themselves to the residents at the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. 

“They have been consistently joining us for charity drives and walkabouts over the past few years, interacting and caring for residents who are facing hard times,” he said. 

He also said that the coalition group decided to introduce the two first-time candidates with succession-planning in mind. 

“As a Pasir Ris resident myself, I want a strong SDA and sincere leaders who put the interests of residents first.

“Kelvin and Kuswadi, together with other young SDA members, have shown that they are committed to carry on the SDA’s 13-year history of caring for residents of Pasir Ris and Punggol into the future,” Mr Lim said. 

During a walkabout on Saturday morning (June 27) around Edgefield Plains near Punggol Central, Mr Lim told the media that he will be stepping down as party chairman after the election, with Mr Singh identified as his successor.

“I was able to keep SDA alive and to retain the legacy of Mr Chiam See Tong. I have also identified potential leaders within SDA that can do a better job for the people,” Mr Lim said. 

“I hope that after this election, I can take a step back to let the second generation take the lead while I can still guide them.”

Mr Desmond Lim (front) distributing masks to residents living at Edgefield Plains in Punggol on June 27, 2020. Behind him are Mr Kuswadi Atnawi (right) and other volunteers from the Singapore Democratic Alliance. Photo: Lena Loke/TODAY

SDA was formed in 2001 as a coalition of four opposition parties consisting of the Singapore People’s Party (SPP), National Solidarity Party (NSP), the Singapore Justice Party (SJP) and PKMS (Singapore Malay National Organisation).

It was led at the time by Mr Chiam See Tong, who was secretary-general of SPP and Member of Parliament for Potong Pasir. Later, SPP split from the coalition and Mr Lim, who was seen as Mr Chiam’s protege then but fell out of favour, left SPP to head SDA.

SJP and PKMS are now the remaining two parties in the coalition group after NSP and SPP left the alliance in 2007 and 2011 respectively.

NEW CANDIDATES

 Mr Kelvin Ong, 34

A facilities management manager, Mr Ong works for a firm that does conservancy work for a town council. He has been volunteering with SDA since 2018. He is married with no children. 

If elected, Mr Ong said that he will be serving the residents full-time. He is interested in policies related to jobs, education, transport and housing, and is concerned about cost-of-living issues.

Mr Kuswadi Atnawi, 57

Mr Kuswadi is working for an engineering firm. The electrical engineer has been part of SDA’s central executive committee since the last election in 2015. He is also the head of information for PKMS. 

In the past eight years, Mr Kuswadi has been actively involved in SDA’s events and charity work. He is divorced with six children between the ages of eight and 27. 

Related topics

SDA SDA candidates Singapore General Election SGVotes2020 Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

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