SINGAPORE: The People's Action Party's (PAP) Murali Pillai has been declared the winner of the Bukit Batok by-election by Returning Officer Ng Wai Choong on Saturday (May 7).
Mr Pillai garnered 61.21 per cent of the votes, while Singapore Democratic Party's Dr Chee Soon Juan got 38.79 per cent. The Elections Department said a total of 24,192 votes were cast, including 622 rejected votes, which made up 94.03 per cent of the 25,727 registered electors.
The ELD had earlier announced that the sample count for Mr Murali was 61 per cent, while Dr Chee received 39 per cent.
Mr Murali, in the press conference following the news of the win, said he was "humbled and encouraged" by the result. He also congratulated SDP and Dr Chee for the campaign race they ran.
"They ran a well-organised campaign. I want to thank them for the contest, it helped me articulate my plans for our Bukit Batok residents much better," he said.
On plans for the SMC, the MP-designate said he has an "ambitious agenda. "I welcome all to join me to fulfill the plans for Bukit Batok residents. There is a lot of work to be done and I will start tomorrow."
"DOESN'T QUITE FEEL LIKE A DEFEAT": DR CHEE
Dr Chee, speaking to his supporters after the results were declared, thanked them for staying on at the Bukit Gombak Stadium despite the late hour. He also congratulated Mr Murali on his win.
SDP's Chee Soon Juan and wife speaking to supporters after the by-election results were announced. (Photo: Lam Shushan)
"I'm so touched, so honoured. This doesn't quite feel like a defeat," the SDP chief said. "For those who didn't vote for us, I will be around to persuade and to continue to serve, work and convince you to vote for SDP the next round."
"Thank you all so much Bukit Batok; you've invited me here. I've come to know you and hopefully you'll come to know me better in the years to come," he added.
PM LEE, MINISTERS LAUD WIN
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to Facebook to congratulate the party's MP-designate. "Thank you, Bukit Batok voters, for your strong support. You have chosen an MP who is committed, trustworthy, and will go the extra mile for you," he wrote.
"This is not just a win for Bukit Batok, but shows all Singaporeans, and others too, that the Government and people are united in building a better nation together," he added.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam added in a media doorstop that he was "pleasantly surprised" Mr Murali's showing in the by-election.
"Frankly, at least to my mind, he came out stronger than I expected. I think he did exceptionally well," Mr Tharman said. "I was very happy with the result, to be honest."
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said in a separate doorstop that a by-election is "usually a tough fight" but that was expected. "It was a good fight, it was a good win, so we are very happy that the residents, the voters of Bukit Batok has chosen Mr Murali."
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing also congratulated Mr Murali on Facebook. "Congrats to Murali Pillai and the Jurong family. Much to do in the days ahead. Looking forward to our sunrise together."
President Tony Tan Keng Yam had issued the writ of election on Apr 20. The Bukit Batok single seat was vacated when then-PAP MP David Ong resigned in March, following an alleged extramarital affair with a PAP activist.