Chia Shi-Lu: I haven't just appeared

SINGAPORE - Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chia Shi-Lu was only informed last night that he would be needed to stand in Tanjong Pagar GRC as a candidate, but he readily obliged.

The 40-year-old consultant at SGH, who has been active in grassroots at Aljunied GRC, was a surprise addition to the PAP team for Tanjong Pagar GRC, when Mr Baey Yam Keng was told to replace unionist Mr Steve Tan in Tampines GRC.

Mr Baey was seen tearing as he made the announcement about the last-minute change to his supporters, who were gathered this morning at the Queenstown PAP branch. He had served there for five years.

Dr Chia, however, told The Straits Times that he was not surprised by the sudden request to stand in Tanjong Pagar. It was a walkover for the PAP team when an opposition team made up of members from several parties could not file its nomination papers on time.

He said: "All of us are prepared for changes. The important thing is that we are able to get our people into government, because this is what we believe in. At the end of day, it is a party effort, we all listen to the Prime Minister, if he feels this is best strategy. It is my privilege to serve."

At a later press conference held by the PAP on the same afternoon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that there were bound to be last-minute surprises. He told the gathered journalists that Mr Tan had requested to drop out of the running due to personal reasons, but declined to elaborate further when questioned.

He also asked voters to consider carefully the best candidates that would take the nation through.

In outlining the thrust of PAP's campaign, he said that voters should think carefully as their choice could affect their property value and their neighbourhood. He also added that education remains a high priority for the PAP.