3 Apr 2006

Khaw ready to take on NKF saga as GE issue

Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan says the National Kidney Foundation saga will be one of his strong platforms in the coming General Election.

And he welcomes a good debate about the NKF.

Mr Khaw said this as he toured the Chong Pang division of the Sembawang GRC on Sunday.

He also named two other candidates who will be in his team.

They are current Sembawang GRC MP K Shanmugam and new PAP candidate and eye surgeon Dr Lim Wee Kiak.

Mr Khaw will lead the Sembawang GRC team, following Dr Tony Tan's retirement from politics.

Chong Pang Division had just seven days to organise Mr Khaw's visit.

But its grassroots leaders were confident about the turnout as they felt Mr Khaw was a popular person.

So popular that even the opposition Singapore Democratic Party has decided not to spare Mr Khaw a contest.

SDP says it's contesting Sembawang GRC because Mr Khaw is leading it and it is also very concerned over the NKF scandal.

Mr Khaw said: "Singaporeans are clear in their mind, they are well read, they have read all about the NKF. Who are the bad guys in NKF? Who are the good guys as far as NKF matter is concerned? Who let the facts all come out? Who organised the investigation? Who transformed NKF? Who brought about the changes and who saved NKF because it was at a risk of being collapsed? I think people know.

"Let us have a good debate about the NKF, the good and bad and Singaporeans can then make their choice. They are not stupid, they know, they are well read, they understood."

According to the original opposition pact, the Workers' Party was to have contested in Sembawang GRC.

Its Chairman Sylvia Lim says the party still has an interest there and it has not been contacted by the SDP.

Grassroots leaders in Sembawang GRC say two opposition parties, the SDP and the WP, have been walking the ground in the area.

So the GRC team leader Minister Khaw has an advice for them: avoid a three- cornered contest.

Mr Khaw said: "If I were them, I will coordinate so there is no three-cornered fight. Most importantly, they have limited number of candidates, spread yourself out and so let Singaporeans have a chance to take part in elections. So for Sembawang, we are all ready for opposition, SDP or WP."

Meanwhile, current MP K Shanmugam, who has had four terms under his belt, has agreed to continue to serve Sembawang.

He said: "We have had a long-term plan of making Chong Pang a very vibrant centre, to be able to compete with the new neighbourhood centres. Over the years, many millions of dollars have been poured in. In the last five years, over 30 million dollars have been poured into the constituency. We will continue to do that, not just interim and lift upgrading but making the Chong Pang neighbourhood centre even more attractive."

As for Dr Lim Wee Kiak, who has been active in the Marsiling area, he said he was happy with the 'indication' that he would be standing in Sembawang GRC.

"It is home ground. We work as a team and as a family. Regardless of which ward, I will do my best. I know all the grassroots leaders in the entire Sembawang GRC quite well."

While Mr Khaw would also like to have a woman candidate in his team, he would not confirm who will be posted there.

Mr Khaw said he would reveal more names at future GRC visits. - CNA/ir


As the opposition has boldly challenged, Khaw hits back with closure to the NKF issue. Now that the stage is about set, bring on the election drama!

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