Singapore GE: Could charity founder be in PAP line-up at election?

Ms Carrie Tan, 37, was a headhunter until eight years ago, when she founded a social enterprise to provide skills training for underprivileged women in India.

Daughters of Tomorrow is now a charity which helps women from underprivileged families here, and Ms Tan, its founding executive director, has been headhunted by the People’s Action Party (PAP), raising speculation that she could be fielded at the coming general election.

She was seen accompanying Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam and other Nee Soon GRC MPs in the constituency yesterday, when a small group toured the recently completed HomeTeamNS clubhouse in Khatib.

Ms Tan was in the Young South-east Asian Leaders Initiative where her work was praised by former United States president Barack Obama. A vocal advocate on issues of inequality and for low-income mothers, she is also the second adviser to grassroots organisations in Chong Pang – the first adviser is Mr Shanmugam – and has been seen recently at constituency events in Tampines West with Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli.

Asked about her potential candidacy, Ms Tan declined to comment.

Mr Shanmugam told reporters that “people who know” would know that she has been helping people with her charity “for years”.

But he did not comment when asked about how long she has been volunteering in Nee Soon.

He said that Mr Derrick Goh, another recently identified potential candidate who was also present yesterday, has been walking the ground in Nee Soon for some years.

“He has been with me to many events, and all these years no one has asked me if he is going to be a candidate, so you can’t link everything with the GE,” he said.

Mr Goh, 51, who is managing director and head of group audit at DBS Bank, was seen with the minister in his Chong Pang ward last Saturday, and with Education Minister Ong Ye Kung at an event in the minister’s Gambas ward in Sembawang GRC on Sunday.

Mr Shanmugam said both Mr Goh – who is also vice-chairman of the Gambas-Yishun Citizens’ Consultative Committee – and Ms Tan are among the many volunteers who help with regular events and outreach. “The key thing is we do this so as to know what the issues are regularly, and now everyone is facing both the health crisis and the economic crisis. And we have to be on the ground and understand, and they are part of the volunteer team.”

Mr Shanmugam has taken potential candidates from civil society groups under his wing. Mr Louis Ng, who was also present yesterday, founded and heads the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society. Also on the visit yesterday were other Nee Soon GRC MPs – Associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, a senior parliamentary secretary, and Ms Lee Bee Wah, whose Nee Soon South ward is home to the new clubhouse. Mr Henry Kwek, whose Kebun Baru ward has been carved out into a single seat, was absent.

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