Seasoned Bukit Batok grassroots leader chosen as PAP’s candidate for Bukit Batok

Yesterday (21 Mar), PAP announced top lawyer Murali Pillai as the candidate who will be taking on Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan in the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election.

DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam introduced 48-year-old candidate Murali at a press conference, saying that he was chosen because he knows Bukit Batok “extremely well”.

Roots in Bukit Batok

The long-time party activist, who joined the PAP in 2001, has also served Bukit Batok residents over the last 16 years since he was first invited by Dr Ong Chit Chung (Murali was branch secretary of PAP’s Bukit Batok Branch under the late Dr Ong) to handle a legal case there. Later, he went over to Paya Lebar in 2012 and stood in Aljunied GRC in the 2015 General Election. Nonetheless, Murali continued to maintain his relationships with Bukit Batok activists, pointing out that he has never severed ties.

Why wait one week to field candidate

Candidate Murali returned to Singapore only last night  and seemed jet-lagged. When asked about the timing of the announcement, media revealed Minister Tharman said that PAP wanted to take its time, then added that one week for the David Ong saga to settle down was appropriate. It was supposedly not in response to Singapore Democratic Party’s (SDP) Dr Chee Soon Juan’s announcement the previous day.

Minister Tharman said:

There was no reason to hold back announcing a candidate that we are very comfortable with.

It could be anyone’s game. Dr Chee is a seasoned politician with over 23 years in politics, but Murali has spent the last 16 years serving the residents of Bukit Batok.


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With reference to PAP, Asia One
Featured image via PAP Facebook