Png Eng Huat wins Hougang by-election

Png Eng Huat wins Hougang by-election

Workers' Party's Png Eng Huat has won the Hougang by-election with 13,447 votes against PAP's Desmond Choo's 8,210 votes. Mr Png won the single-seat constituency with 62.09% of the vote, against Mr Choo's 37.91%.

SINGAPORE: Workers' Party's Png Eng Huat has won the Hougang by-election with 13,447 votes against PAP's Desmond Choo's 8,210 votes.

Mr Png won the single-seat constituency with 62.09% of the vote, against Mr Choo's 37.91%.

The result was announced by Returning Officer, Yam Ah Mee, some two-and-a-half hours after polling closed at 8pm.

Separately, the Elections Department said that at the close of the poll, the total number of votes cast locally is 21,951 (inclusive of 294 rejected votes). This is 93.94% of the 23,368 registered electors in Hougang constituency.

The by-election was held to fill the seat vacated by former Member of Parliament Yaw Shin Leong, who was expelled from the Workers' Party following reports of his personal indiscretions.

Mr Yaw had won the seat in the May 2011 General Election with 64.8 per cent of the vote, against Mr Choo's 35.20 per cent.

The Workers' Party held a news conference to thank its supporters for the by-election victory in Hougang.

Mr Png, speaking at the news conference, thanked voters for giving him the mandate to be their voice in Parliament.

"Thank you, the voters of Hougang for giving me the mandate to represent them in Parliament, to be their voice. It's been an exciting and colourful campaign. It's also very tiring. For those who voted for me, thank you. For those who did not vote for me, I still will work hard. Just give me a chance to serve you."

He also said he hopes that Mr Choo, who is the grassroots adviser in the ward, will support programmes to improve the lives of Hougang residents.

"I met with Mr Desmond Choo. We are of the same view that anything that is good for Hougang, we will support and we will do it."

Workers' Party Secretary-General Low Thia Khiang said the party will be in Hougang on Sunday to show its appreciation to voters.

He thanked them for keeping faith with the party in what he described as a "difficult political journey".

Despite the swing of three percentage points in votes to the PAP, Mr Low said the party was happy with its win.

"I consider the results a very good result. You have given the mandate to Png Eng Huat. Thank you very much to keep faith with the Workers' Party in this difficult political period," said Mr Low.

He added: "In years to come, you will get to know Png Eng Huat better, and he will prove you have made the right choice. I have no doubt that Png Eng Huat will be a caring MP and will serve you to the best of his ability."

Separately, Mr Choo congratulated Mr Png whom he said fully deserves to be elected as the MP for Hougang.

He also wished Mr Png all the best and urged him to continue his good work.

The PAP candidate was also heartened with new ground he has gained.

"The process of change has started. This is obvious from the support of the residents. We have seen an increase in the percentage of votes that we got. I hope to continue to build on this new momentum, continue to carry the hope and faith of the Hougang residents and continue this new process of change.

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Choo said he will continue to "serve the Hougang residents in whatever capacity that is needed".

"As long as the people of Hougang think I can make a difference in their lives, as long as the party thinks I can continue to serve here, I will be here and I look forward to seeing my residents on the 28th of May," he said.

The PAP acknowledged that the fight for Hougang, which has been in the hands of the Workers' Party since 1991, was tough.

Deputy Prime Minister and the PAP's 1st Assistant Secretary-General, Teo Chee Hean, said they took the fight seriously.

"We are encouraged that there's been stronger support. In fact, the support for the PAP has been better than in 2011 and better than 2006 election, so that gives us some encouragement, We are encouraged that the message of having a new beginning and a new future has found greater support.

With Mr Png setting out to deliver what he promised during the by-election and his PAP opponent pledging to carry on his work on the ground, Hougang will continue to be a closely-watched political arena.

Source: CNA/ir/fa