July 10 will probably be Choo Shaun Ming's biggest day of his life. While his peers are busy with studies, video games and parties, the 23-year-old National University of Singapore (SUS) student has been busy with the other form of 'party' -- contesting in Singapore General Election 2020 on July 10.
The youngest candidate of GE2020 will contest for the newly formed Progress Singapore Party (PSP) from the Chua Chu Kang GRC which has over 106,000 voters. It has been a stronghold of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). In his big jump to the city-state's political landscape, he will have 70-year-old former Airforce colonel Francis Yuen, 67-year-old Abdul Rahman Mohamed, and 57-year-old Tan Meng Wah as his teammates.
His strong opposition will be from PAP line-up consisting of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education, Low Yen Ling, lawyer Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim and banker Don Wee.
Fresh Blood, Fresh Enthusiasm
Although PSP is headed by veteran politician Dr Tan Cheng Bock, Ming is the new face the party is banking on to attract the young voters. Ming may not be experienced but he brings an unpolluted fresh air to politics that Singaporeans may just get along with despite a formidable-looking PAP line-up. And even if he doesn't get a desirable result, the undergraduate law student will still garner a massive experience which he might not have inside a classroom.
And Ming is not taking the opportunity lightly. He knows how apathetic the young generation of Singapore is to politics and wants to change the perception by representing them in the Parliament.
"I get a strong sense of apathy. To me, the ideal view of Singaporean society is one where we value different talents and skills as equally as we do that of academic success. I may be young now but I believe it is a duty of every Singaporean to step forward," he said.
For PSP, which is contesting the election on providing jobs for Singaporeans during the economic crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it will be a difficult battle to win even though their slogan says "you deserve better" in their manifesto. Singaporeans in the midst of the crisis may lean on incumbency and that wave is something difficult for PSP to go against, at least in the Republic.
For PAP candidates, most of them are experienced and are seeking re-election to get a fresh mandate so that they can start rebuilding the nation which is still fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the past, PAP had no trouble dealing with a challenge from opposition, winning with 77 percent mandate in 2015 against People's Power Party. In 2011, when Chua Chu Kang was a five-MP constituency, PAP managed to fend off the challenge from National Solidarity Party with 61 percent of votes.
This time, with COVID-19 still in people's minds, Yong wants a strong mandate to unite people in fighting the pandemic. "We know that it will take some time for COVID-19 to resolve and for the economy to recover. So, it's important for us to have a strong mandate to unite the people in the fight against COVID-19 and also beyond it," he added.