#PSILoveYou: Yeo Wan Ling is transforming lives


Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Yeo Wan Ling recalled vividly what happened at a coffee shop two years ago.

“A little girl came and said, ‘Aunty Wan Ling, my mother wants to talk to you.’ And I was like, ‘Ok. Where is your mother? Ask her to come over.’ She said, ‘Cannot. My mother is there, at the LRT station.”    

Ms Yeo remembered walking to the LRT station. There, the little girl’s mother stood in the shade carrying a child, with a maid by her side. She had a bruised eye. 

“I was shocked. She told me how she was abused by her husband for many years. Her maid also got beaten up for shielding her. It was sobering for me to meet a woman who has been physically abused. I really wanted to help her.”

Ms Yeo told Petir.sg that her team had arranged a meeting with the woman. They came up with a code as the husband would eavesdrop on his wife’s conversations.  “The woman sold kuehs on the side. So, we said,’ We need you to deliver 500 kuehs to the CC next Tuesday,’ meaning she comes the following Tuesday and we will help her…put her in a shelter.”

The woman did not show up on the agreed date. After that, Ms Yeo’s team tried to call the woman several times, but she became unresponsive to their calls. As the team did not know where the woman lived, they were unable to follow up further.

This episode made Ms Yeo realise that solutions take time, even when people seek help. “It’s for her to decide when she wants to leave. It’s hurting because obviously there’s an issue. We want to help her, but the timing is not right. But it taught me one thing: We must be ready.”

Ms Yeo’s team went ahead to set up support structures for residents facing similar problems. They arranged with shelters to provide temporary accommodation for residents in need and counsellors and lawyers who could provide the necessary help.

Yeo Wan Ling’s team prepared support structures for residents facing similar problems. They arranged shelters, counselors, and lawyers who could help.

Elected in 2020, the first-term MP who oversees Punggol Shore has been walking the ground, understanding her residents’ concerns, and making a difference in their lives.

Empowering women to make the choices they want: Yeo Wan Ling

Yeo Wan Ling with partners at FairPrice Group 50th Anniversary experiential job fair at Oasis Terraces community plaza. (Source: Yeo Wan Ling)

As the only female Labour MP in parliament, Ms Yeo advocates for women and families, freelancers, and platform workers. She serves as Assistant Secretary-General of the National Trades Union Congress and Director of U Women and Family and U SME.

Ms Yeo spoke passionately about empowering women to make their own choices. “It’s been very rewarding to see how the programmes we’ve introduced have helped women (find work),” she said.

One such programme is the “C U Back at work” initiative launched by U Women and Family in April last year. It partners with progressive companies to prepare women to return to work through flexible arrangements, specialised training, and career development.

To date, over 1,000 women have expressed interest in the programme. Close to 100 women have found jobs in various forms through it, Ms Yeo revealed.

“If I have just become an MP and launched this, I might not have enough ground information to come up with a programme that is catered to the needs of a particular group. It would be a blunt programme. Because of my residents and the people who come to me at the unions, I was able to glean a lot of insight on how to help this group.”

Ms Yeo is a familiar face to the platform workers staying in Punggol Shore and the Northeast region of Singapore. She is an adviser to the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA), National Private Hire Vehicles Association (NPHVA), and National Taxi Association (NTA). Riders, private hire drivers and taxi drivers have reached out to her to share their problems, she said.   

“They need proper representation. As a lone voice talking to a platform company, you can’t effect much change. Because these groups come and talk to me, I can represent them. With a common voice, the platforms are more likely to hear the issues,” she added.  

To help these workers, Ms Yeo said her team worked with local businesses like a coffee shop in Punggol Shore to offer discounted drinks for taxi drivers. Several taxi drivers also gave back to the community, she pointed out. They delivered care packages to beneficiaries in Punggol Shore and offered free rides for women from disadvantaged families to attend an International Women’s Day event her team organised last year.

Coming up with solutions relevant to constituents: Yeo Wan Ling

Wan Ling with her residents taking a group photo at Kofu, Punggol Plaza after a health talk conducted by Seu Tek Medical Institution (Source: Yeo Wan Ling)

Punggol Shore is a town of about 20 years old.  As it grows, the demographics have changed too. Acknowledging the challenges she faced, Ms Yeo stressed the need “to come up with different solutions and ensure they remain relevant.”

With more seniors, Ms Yeo said ensuring Punggol Shore has programmes and facilities for residents to stay healthy and happy is important.

The team launched a breakfast series, bringing in healthcare professionals to coffee shops to talk about health issues. These talks are well attended. In terms of facilities, Seu Tek Medical Institution started a free Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic at Punggol Shore Oasis precinct. More active aging centres will also be set up.

Residents would be crocheting pizza plushies keychains for every youth in the constituency (Source: Yeo Wan Ling)

Many teenagers have lived in Punggol Shore since childhood. For Ms Yeo’s team, this group presents new opportunities and challenges. Youth leaders in Punggol Shore recently proposed a year-long positivity pizza campaign to spread positivity, care, and love to the 20,000 youth in the constituency. Launched in late December 2023, residents will crochet and sew pizza plushie keychains – one for each youth. “The idea behind this is to let them know PS (Punggol Shore), I love you. If you are going through any problems, do reach out because the community loves you.”

For her plans for Punggol Shore, MP Yeo readily described another acronym – Punggol Shore ABC. ABC stands for Arts in Punggol, Punggol in Bloom, and Punggol Shore Cares. As the name suggests, Arts in Punggol introduces arts to the heartlands. Her team brings world-class performances to residents. Under Punggol in Bloom, residents participate in green and sustainability efforts. Interestingly, Punggol Shore has the most community gardens in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. As for Punggol Cares, Ms Yeo noted the constituency has one of the largest volunteer teams befriending and holistically helping residents in need.

Punggol Shore ABC pretty much captures Yeo Wan Ling’s vision for Punggol Shore – to build a kind, green and creative Punggol with and for her residents. And not forgetting, touching residents’ hearts and making a difference in their lives.