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GE2020: WP beats PAP in Sengkang GRC with 52.13% of votes

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A supporter (third from left) taking a photo with Workers' Party Sengkang GRC candidates (from left) Jamus Lim, Louis Chua, Raeesah Khan and He Ting Ru at a foodcourt in Rivervale Plaza on July 7.

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Sengkang GRC PAP walkabout by Ng Chee Meng (front), Lam Pin Min, Amrin Amin, and PAP new face Raymond Lye meeting residents at Sengkang Riverside Park on July 1.

IN what a political commentator described as a massive blow to the ruling party People’s Action Party (PAP), the opposition party Workers’ Party (WP) scored a “massive coup” in the new Sengkang GRC.

A total of 115,350 valid votes were cast on Friday, of which 60,136 went to WP - translating into 52.13 per cent of the votes. A total of 1,194 votes were spoilt.

The WP slate consists of corporate counsel He Ting Ru, 37; equity analyst Louis Chua Kheng Wee, 33; Essec Business School’s associate professor of economics Jamus Lim, 44; and social enterprise entrepreneur Raeesah Khan, 26.

He Ting Ru thanked the PAP team for a "clean and decent fight". She also thanked the trust the residents have in the WP team. Ms He said: "We will work hard to make sure this trust is not misplaced... We work for all of you. Tomorrow we start work."

The loss of the GRC not only cost PAP four seats in the Parliament but also three office-holders on the slate: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min,  Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health Amrin Amin. Their team mate lawyer Raymond Lye is contesting for the first time.

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“Flight to safety is not occurring, because we are already in a crisis, in the eye of a storm. Voters have seen how the PAP responded to the pandemic. Voters' assessment of how the PAP has governed in the last five years (is that they) may be lacking or inadequate,” said Eugene Tan, associate professor at Singapore Management University, during an interview on CNA.

Mustafa Izzuddin, senior international affairs analyst at Solaris Strategies Singapore, described in a CNA interview the WP’s victory as an endorsement of the leadership of its new chief Pritam Singh, adding that the young voters who make up a large proportion of Sengkang GRC might be concerned about more than bread-and-butter issues.

Prof Tan, also said the GRC polling result reflects that voters are looking at a different perspective, notwithstanding the PAP’s call for a strong mandate in the current crisis.

The Sengkang GRC has been formed by taking the Sengkang Central ward from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and combining it with Punggol East SMC and part of Sengkang West SMC. It has 120,166 voters.

Mr Ng, 51, was part of the PAP team that won the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC with 72.9 per cent of the vote in 2015. Dr Lam defeated WP in Sengkang West with 62.1 per cent of the vote. Over in Punggol East PAP won 51.8 per cent of the vote in 2015, beating then-incumbent WP by a slim margin and reclaiming the ward. 

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