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I'm willing to enter politics if offered the chance, says Changi Airport Group vice-president Poh Li San

SINGAPORE – Addressing rumours that she might be fielded as a People’s Action Party candidate in the next election, Changi Airport Group vice-president Poh Li San said if she was given the chance to serve Sembawang residents at a deeper level, she would gladly do so.

But it is still too early to tell if she will be offered the chance to take part in the next polls, Ms Poh told the media on the sidelines of the inaugural Women’s Festival 2019 at Kampung Admiralty on Sunday (March 24).

The next general election must be held by April 2021.

“If there is an opportunity for me to serve residents at a deeper level, I will be most honoured to do so, and I will do my best as well,”  said the 44-year-old. “At this moment, it is still uncertain and is really up to anybody’s guess.” 

“Right now, I am focused on making sure that I do my job well, run my events well in Sembawang and contribute to the community,” she added.

Ms Poh came to prominence as the first female helicopter pilot in Singapore’s Air Force, conducting search and rescue operations in a Super Puma helicopter.

She then joined Changi Airport Group and helped conceptualise Terminal 4. She is also involved in the plans for the upcoming Terminal 5.

She is an active grassroots leader in Gambas ward as well, helping MP Ong Ye Kung in his Meet-the-People Session every Monday.

In October 2018, Ms Poh joined the PAP Sembawang branch and has been making frequent appearances on the Facebook pages of Sembawang GRC MPs Khaw Boon Wan and Vikram Nair. She is the vice-chairman of the branch.

All five Sembawang GRC MPs were at the festival on Sunday, which was organised by Ms Poh and five People’s Association Women’s Executive Committees in Sembawang GRC.

Around 2,000 women took part in various activities at the day-long festival, including fitness classes, health talks and self-defence demonstrations.

Asked whether the current slate of Sembawang MPs – all of whom are male – needs a female touch, Ms Poh said there are many benefits to having a woman as an MP.

“Women may be sensitive to certain issues that they feel uncomfortable to share with a male MP. Having a woman’s voice among the team will (help us) focus on more women-oriented issues,” she said.

Singapore has done well for gender equality in the last two decades and the culture is respectful of women, who have good access to education and working opportunities, and have taken on leadership positions in business and government, said Ms Poh.

But more needs to be done, especially in the political arena, to expose women to opportunities in leadership, she added.

Describing her own career as an “unusual” one, she said she had seized whatever opportunities that came her way, and encouraged other women to do the same.

She fully endorsed the views of Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who chairs the PAP Women’s Wing. Mrs Teo earlier this month called for a “concerted effort” to encourage women to join politics.

Ms Poh said: “It is a great call and a great way to get women to step forward and contribute to the community and country… We need to bring more women on board together, because it will be more powerful to work as a team of women leaders.”

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