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PAP unveils Sembawang GRC team for coming General Election

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party (PAP) candidates for Sembawang GRC were unveiled officially today (Aug 14), this time at a nursing home. They include new candidate, Mr Amrin Amin, 36, a partner in Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP for the Woodlands ward, and former Aljunied GRC candidate Ong Ye Kung, 45, director of Group Strategy at Keppel Corporation.

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SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party (PAP) candidates for Sembawang GRC were unveiled officially today (Aug 14), this time at a nursing home. They include new candidate, Mr Amrin Amin, 36, a partner in Joseph Tan Jude Benny LLP  for the Woodlands ward, and former Aljunied GRC candidate Ong Ye Kung, 45, director of Group Strategy at Keppel Corporation.

This is the second of several planned People's Action Party (PAP) announcements of their full slate of candidates for the upcoming General Elections. 

Mr Amrin replaces Ms Ellen Lee, a two-term Member of Parliament, while Mr Ong takes over a space left behind by Mr Ong Teng Koon, whose Woodgrove ward was also redrawn into the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, and he has indicated he would like to continue serving there. 

National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan, one-term MP Vikram Nair, two-term MP Dr Lim Wee Kiak - whose Canberra ward from Nee Soon GRC was redrawn into Sembawang GRC - round up the slate.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi, whose Marsiling ward was redrawn into the new Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, had announced last week that he will not be contesting in the elections. 

Speaking at a press conference at SWAMI, Mr Khaw thanked Ms Lee for her work, adding that Ms Lee is someone who is deeply passionate about community work and had "put her heart and soul" in whatever she is doing. She will be "greatly missed" by her residents and colleagues, he said.

Mr Ong Ye Kung was part of the Aljunied GRC team led by former Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo, which was defeated in the 2011 General Election by the Workers' Party, which had garnered 54.7 per cent of votes. He had previously been touted as a potential office-holder, and began work at Sembawang GRC middle of last year. 

On lessons learnt from the previous election, Mr Ong said he learnt not to take things for granted. "Never let one loss become a defeat. Never let one setback become a failure."

Mr Amrin, who has volunteered in grassroots organisations for a decade, was also introduced last April as a potential candidate by Mr Hawazi. He was helping out in the Marsiling ward but moved to help Ms Lee last year.

On the new faces, Mr Khaw said they "all have their hearts in the right place". While capabilities and abilities at work is easy to judge, one's values and character is harder to assess. Mr Khaw says he can "honestly say" the two newcomers are people they think can add value to the team and to residents.  

Mr Khaw also urged for "good politics" as opposed to "dirty politics" or "money politics", where people donate large sums of money to support political parties, noting that these people would expect a return on their investment when the party becomes the government, he added.

Fortunately the late Lee Kuan Yew "had suppressed money politics" here, he said, adding that good politics is something that has to be appreciated and protected for the good of Singapore, and is an ethos that all political parties should subscribe to.

NEW CANDIDATE: AMRIN AMIN

Mr Amrin is a corporate lawyer at Joseph Tan Jude Benny. He was also Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam’s legislative assistant from 2004 to 2006 - before Mr Shanmugam joined Cabinet - and worked as a corporate lawyer in New York from 2007 to 2010 after his studies at Columbia University.

Mr Amrin has been active in grassroots work since 2004 and has volunteered in Chong Pang, Masiling and most recently Woodlands. He has served on the boards of Nanyang Polytechnic, National Council of Problem Gambling, bursary and scholarship board Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Memorial Scholarship Fund Board and the Association of Muslim Professionals’ Ready for School programme to assist underprivileged children.

Said Mr Amrin: “I grew up in a 3-room HDB flat and went to neighbourhood schools in Singapore. I worked hard. But even with the hard work, I would not have had all these opportunities if not for my family’s support and our Singapore ecosystem.

"There are very few places in this world for someone like myself who is from an ordinary and minority background to be offered so many good opportunities. Having received so much from Singapore, I hope to give back.”

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