SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party's candidates need to keep their feet "firmly grounded" after poll results which saw it take a second Group Representation Constituency, party chief and now leader of the opposition Pritam Singh said on Saturday (Jul 11).
“Indeed, I’m very grateful to all the voters in Hougang, Aljunied and Sengkang for trusting us with their vote but I’m also very humbled by it,” he said in a doorstop interview early Saturday.
“I’m not feeling euphoric at all. In fact, I think there’s a lot of work to do and I think we’ve got to work hard.”
WP now has 10 seats in Parliament with five from Aljunied GRC, four in Sengkang GRC and one in Hougang SMC, which has been held by a WP MP since 1991.
He said that he will be reminding the WP candidates who did well at the General Election to keep their feet grounded.
“I expect them to keep their feet firmly grounded and remember why they’re doing what they’re doing," he said.
"And if we can move forward in that manner, wanting to speak up for Singaporeans in a rational, responsible way like how a credible opposition should, then I think we can make some progress,” he added.
When asked if the WP’s election messages resonated with voters, Mr Singh said that his party will have to “review the campaign in a more in-depth way”.
The party bettered its result in Aljunied by nearly 9 per cent, beating the PAP team with 59.93 per cent of votes to 40.07 per cent.
In Hougang, second-time WP candidate Dennis Tan held on to the party’s stronghold with a 61.19 per cent vote share against PAP’s Lee Hong Chuang.
“The Hougang spirit has spoken clearly today. Today’s results show why Hougang is known as the beacon of democracy in singapore. Thank you for keeping faith with the Workers’ Party beyond the past 29 years,” said Mr Tan, speaking in a video on Facebook.
SENGKANG GRC WIN
Sengkang GRC was the surprise result of the night, with the WP team of mostly newbies beating a PAP team with three political office holders.
WP 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 - Ms He Ting Ru, Dr Jamus Lim, Ms Raeesah Khan and Mr Louis Chua - edged out a PAP slate helmed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ng Chee Meng alongside Dr Lam Pin Min, Mr Amrin Amin and new face Raymond Lye.
Speaking in a video on Facebook after the results for Sengkang were announced, Ms He thanked the PAP team for “a clean and decent fight”.
She also thanked Singaporeans who supported WP’s Sengkang team throughout its campaign and those who voted for them.
“Thank you so much for the trust and the leap of faith that you have taken in our team here today. We will work hard to make sure that this trust is not misplaced,” she said.
Adding that she was touched by the number of young people who came forward to walk and volunteer with the Sengkang WP team, Ms He said: “And I actually feel that this is really important for the future of our country, and this bodes very very well for us.
“Finally, to the residents of Sengkang. We work for all of you. Tomorrow, we start work. Thank you.”
Dr Lim, speaking last, said: “It warms the cockles of our hearts to be able to work for the people of Sengkang and for all Singaporeans.
“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, and only as difficult as your willingness to put your nose down to the grind and make it happen.”
CREDIBLE PERFORMANCE IN EAST COAST, MARINE PARADE GRCS
WP also did credibly in the hotly contested East Coast GRC against a PAP team led by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
The team of Terence Tan, Nicole Seah, Ron Tan, Kenneth Foo and new face Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim were among the best losers this General Election, garnering 46.59 per cent of the votes cast.
“We went into this knowing that it was going to be a tough fight. And we gave it our best, and we gave it all for all of you,” said Ms Seah.
“The votes and the encouragement that we received showed us that a very large part of East Coast GRC voters do want to see more fairness in our political system."
In Marine Parade, WP garnered 42.24 per cent of the vote, increasing its share of the vote from the 2015 General Election.
The WP team comprises former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Nathaniel Koh, Mr Fadli Fawzi, Mr Ron Tan and Mr Azhar Abdul Latip. This is the third time WP has sent a team to contest in Marine Parade.
This is the constituency’s first General Election without former Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong. Dr Tan See Leng, Mr Edwin Tong, FairPrice Group CEO Seah Kian Peng and new face Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman make up the PAP team led by former Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
“I want Singapore to believe that Singapore has more than just one Team A, and today you see the result of that happening. So I want Singapore to continue to believe that, yes, we can be stronger even with diverse opinions,” said Mr Yee.