Free Seats For Two Formerly Defeated PAP Candidates

The writing is on the wall – Dr Koh Poh Koon and Mr Ong Ye Kung will soon be MPs, if not ministers,  after the next General Election in 2016.

Both Mr Ong and Dr Koh were identified early on as potential office holders and now look poised to be parachuted in via safe wards.

Dr Koh Poh Koon – The AMK MP-to-be

Before – The Defeat:

The AMK MP-to-be came out of nowhere to contest the Punggol East by-election in January 2013. That was after former Speaker Michael Palmer resigned from his seat following accusations of an extramarital affair.

Voters continued to show displeasure at the PAP for immigration and transport issues, and rejected the geographically promiscuous “son of Punggol”. Dr Koh lost to Lee Li Lian (pictured below) of the Workers’ Party, who won 54.52% of the votes.


Now – The Guaranteed Victory:

He has since been spotted among Prime Minister Lee’s Hsien Loong’s entourage at Ang Mo Kio GRC. If everything goes as planned, Dr Koh will likely enter politics by riding on PM Lee’s coattails.

Dr Koh is a colorectal surgeon in private practice.

Mr Ong Ye Kung – The Sembawang MP-to-be

Before – The Defeat:

Mr Ong Ye Kung was part of the PAP team that lost in the contest for Aljunied GRC. The high level defeat resulted in two ministers losing their seats in Parliament – George Yeo and Lim Hwee Hua.


Now – The Guaranteed Victory:

A newly rejuvenated Mr Ong was recently “invited to help out” in Sembawang GRC, where the PAP team headed by Minister Khaw Boon Wan won comfortably in the last election with 63.9% of the votes.

Mr Ong, previously NTUC Deputy Secretary-General, is now Director of Group Strategy at Keppel Corp.

Parachute politics

The PAP has the habit of identifying individuals with “office holder” potential and “parachuting” them in via GRCs so they can be quickly appointed as ministers.


Mr Chan Chun Sing, currently Minister for Social and Family Development, was one such example. He was Chief of Army before standing for election in the Tanjong Pagar GRC, led by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. Mr Chan was appointed Acting Minister immediately following the general election.

Necessary for renewal

Regardless of the way in which the new ministers enter politics, an urgent renewal of the cabinet is needed.

Prime Minister Lee has indicated his desire to step down by the time he turns 70. He is now 62.

Given the time needed to groom and test the next Prime Minister-to-be, this person that we must all kiss and suck up to potential candidate needs to be part of the government right about now.

With reference to Channel NewsAsia
Images via Mr. BrownAsiaOnePatrick Lim
Featured image via Ethan Guo