SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party (WP) has won the new Sengkang GRC with 52.13 per cent of the vote against the 47.87 per cent by the People’s Action Party (PAP).
The WP team comprises Ms He Ting Ru, Dr Jamus Lim, Ms Raeesah Khan and Mr Louis Chua.
They edged out a PAP slate comprising Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng, Mr Lam Pin Min, Mr Amrin Amin and new face Raymond Lye, who is a lawyer.
Observers had expected a keen contest in Sengkang GRC.
Dr Jamus Lim emerged as a star candidate during the campaign, winning praise for his performance during a televised political debate with Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
He thanked voters in a live video on his party's Facebook page following his team's victory.
Dr Lim said: "We hope that we've inspired you, all of you, to believe that the dream of an alternative future is only as far away as the courage to seize the opportunities that come your way, only as difficult as the passion you bring to pursue what you believe to be right".
"(It is) only as difficult as your willingness to put your nose down to the grind and make it happen."
Ms He also thanked voters for their "leap of faith".
"We will work hard to make sure that this trust is not misplaced," she said.
She thanked volunteers and other party members, like Ms Lee Li Lian, who have walked the ground before her team.
"So many of you have come out in support of us. We're really, really truly grateful," she said.
The WP had to address questions surrounding Ms Khan during the course of the campaign, after she came under police investigation for allegedly promoting “enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race”.
Ms Khan has apologised over “insensitive” comments she made on social media.
The WP team in Sengkang had focused on good jobs for Singaporeans, an inclusive education and more social spaces in the constituency.
The PAP talked about creating a “Sengkang Together” movement, promising to look after young families and the elderly alike. Mr Ng, as secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, also said he was in a “good position” to help residents anxious about job security.
Speaking to reporters after the results were announced, Mr Ng said that while results had not gone "quite the way they wanted", their journey in Sengkang has been "wonderful".
When asked why he thought his team was defeated, he said: "Let us take some time to regroup and evaluate the different factors".
"There probably will be multifaceted issues that the team will have to deal with. Let us discuss with colleagues and get a thorough understanding of the ground again."
Sengkang GRC is made up of the former single seats of Sengkang West and Punggol East, as well as a part of Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC.
In the 2015 General Election, the PAP's Charles Chong narrowly won Punggol East with 51.8 per cent of the vote against the WP's Ms Lee. That year, the PAP's share of the vote in Sengkang West, 62.1 per cent, was also below the party's national average of 69.9 per cent.
Sengkang GRC has more than 120,000 voters, and encompasses the Compassvale, Rivervale and Anchorvale areas.