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    Mar 21, 2016

    PAP ready to name its candidate today

    THE People's Action Party (PAP) is set to announce its candidate for the Bukit Batok by-election today, The Straits Times understands.

    Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam told reporters yesterday: "We will be announcing our candidate very soon, and we are confident we have someone who is known to residents, who works very hard, and is sincere at heart."

    Mr Tharman, who is the PAP's second assistant secretary-general, was asked for his comments hours after Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan announced he would contest the single seat vacated by former PAP MP David Ong.

    "I am not surprised that Dr Chee Soon Juan has indicated that he is going to stand in Bukit Batok. We welcome the contest," he said.

    Mr Tharman, who is an MP for neighbouring Jurong GRC, was at an event to mark the first anniversary of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's death.

    He has been directly overseeing developments in the Bukit Batok single-member constituency since Mr Ong tendered his resignation two Saturdays ago, over an alleged affair with a grassroots volunteer.

    He also attended last Monday's Meet-the-People Session in the constituency alongside Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng, who has taken over as chairman of the Jurong-Clementi Town Council from Mr Ong.

    Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee is looking after the constituency in the meantime.

    Last week, Mr Tharman had assured residents their needs would be tended to till they get a new MP: "We will make sure that problems are solved, that their needs are taken care of, that all the projects that are ongoing carry on smoothly and are completed."

    He also said last week that the PAP had a few "very strong candidates" it was looking at: "When we finally announce the candidate, I can assure you it will be someone committed to the interest of Bukit Batok residents, and who will be able to also speak for them and Singaporeans in Parliament."