10 July 2020 will go down in Singapore’s history as a watershed election with surprising wins and worrying percentage points.
The People’s Action Party (PAP) won the popular vote share by 61.2 per cent in the 13th General Election (GE). Out of 31 constituencies contested, the party won 15 group representation constituencies (GRCs) out of 17.
We have consolidated all the post-elections comments made by the PAP and the alternative parties in key GRCs.
Workers’ Party (59.93%), People’s Action Party (40.07%)
The Workers’ Party (WP) retained its GRC that they have won since 2011, and widened the gap from 50.96 per cent in GE2015 to 59.93 per cent this election. PAP has been fighting reclaim Aljunied GRC since it first lost it to WP in 2011.
In a thank-you speech, Pritam Singh, WP chief and leader of the Aljunied GRC team, said: “Thank you for voting for this Workers’ Party team the same way you gave support to the Workers’ Party team that came before us . We will continue to endeavor for good outcomes on the ground, and to represent you in Parliament faithfully”.
His other members for the five-member team comprised party chairman Sylvia Lim, vice-chairman Faisal Manap, Gerald Giam, and Leon Perera. Both Mr Giam and Mr Perera are new candidates but former Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs).
“Today’s results are positive and we have to hit the ground running. We should not get over our heads with the results. There’s much work to do,” Mr Singh said.
Mr Perera expressed that he was “humbled” that residents in Aljunied had “made their vote count”. Mr Giam added that “[they] are indebted to Mr Low Thia Khiang for building up the party to what it is today”.
Chua Eng Leong, leader for the PAP team congratulated WP for “winning the mandate from the residents of Aljunied GRC”. The PAP team comprised Victor Lye, Alex Yeo, Chan Hui Yuh, and Shamsul Kamar.
“The voters of Aljunied have spoken and I respect and accept their choice and wishes. Their wishes show that there is much more for me to reflect upon and improve on, which I will definitely do so,” Mr Chua said on his Facebook.
He stated that his Aljunied team and he sincerely “thank all [their] supporters and friends for [their] great support over the years and the trust [they] have placed in [them]”.
Mr Lye echoed his words, saying: “We stood against [WP’s] leadership team, we worked very hard for many years and we respect the people’s choice.”
Ang Mo Kio GRC
People’s Action Party (71.91%), Reform Party (28.09%)
Headed by former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, PAP won a comfortable margin of 71.91 per cent in Ang Mo Kio GRC, where the party has been incumbent since 1991. It was a drop from 78.64 per cent it garnered GE 2015.
The PAP team was made up of Nadia Samdin and Ng Ling Ling – who were both new candidates – and former MPs Darryl David and Gan Thiam Poh.
Mr Lee thanked all residents and voters for their support in a Facebook Live post-elections press conference, saying: “We are very conscious of the heavy responsibility you have given us. We are very grateful for your trust and confidence, and we will do our best to serve you for the next five years.”
He also thanked party activists and volunteers for “[helping them] fight this campaign” and looking after Ang Mo Kio residents.
The Reform Party team comprised secretary-general Kenneth Jeyaretnam, chairman Andy Zhu, Charles Yeo, Madam Noraini Yunus, and Soh Guan Soon.
Speaking after the sample count results were released, Mr Jeyaretnam said that it was a “respectable result”, adding that the team was “pretty pleased with it” despite the obstacles faced.
“Ang Mo Kio is the biggest GRC on the island, it is extremely difficult to cover,” he remarked.
“But we’ve proven that the Reform Party is a party of substance,” Mr Jeyaretnam added, stressing that regardless of the results, they were “here for the long haul” and would continue to walk the ground.
East Coast GRC
People’s Action Party (53.41%), Workers’ Party (46.59%)
PAP retained East Coast GRC by a close margin of 53.41 per cent of the votes, which reflected a close fight between them and WP. It was down from 60.7 per cent in GE2015.
Led by former Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, the five-member PAP team comprised Maliki Osman, Cheryl Chan, Jessica Tan, and new candidate Tan Kiat How.
WP got 46.59 per cent of the votes cast, up from 39.3 per cent in the last GE.
“My team and I thank you for your trust and support for us. With your mandate, we are determined to serve you better and to emerge stronger from this global pandemic crisis,” said Mr Heng when speaking to the media after the results were announced:
He had earlier said that the PAP cannot afford a “succession gap” in East Coast GRC in uncertain times. “We’ll reach out to better understand your concerns and aspirations and work together with you to realise our East Coast plan to build a more vibrant, caring and green community,” he assured.
East Coast was a GRC to watch firstly because Mr Heng was unexpectedly fielded in this GRC instead of Tampines GRC where he was incumbent. This was only announced late morning on Nomination Day (30 June).
Secondly, Mr Heng has made headlines during the campaigning period for a police report filed against him due to a comment he made last year in which he said that the “older generation of Singaporeans are not ready for non-Chinese PM”.
The third reason was the conclusion by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) that no offence was found in his comment, just one day after the police report was filed on Monday (6 Jul).
Singaporeans contrasted this to the two police reports filed against WP’s Raeesah Khan which is still undergoing investigations till this day, though it was filed on 4 July.
The WP team consisted of Terence Tan, Dylan Tan, Kenneth Foo, Nicole Seah, and new face Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim.
“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 in a video on Facebook after the results were announced.
“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.”
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
People’s Action Party (66.36%), Singapore Democratic Party (33.64%)
This was a GRC that was on the GE radar as former SingFirst chief Tan Jee Say asked to be fielded as a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) candidate instead. Mr Tan is a well-known politician on the scene as he had contested in the presidential election in 2011 but lost.
He also became the center of attention two days before Polling Day (10 July) when Chan Chun Sing said in a leaked audio how Mr Tan posed the most direct threat to him and his team at Tanjong Pagar GRC.
However, PAP retained the Holland-Bukit Timah GRC with 66.36 per cent of the votes in their third consecutive face-off with the SDP.
The PAP team comprised former Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Edward Chia, Christopher de Souza, and former Senior Minister of State Sim Ann.
In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan said that “in each of [his] four terms as [their] MP”, he and his team have “built a stronger community and improved our constituency”.
He added that he plans to “build upon these strong foundations” as the focus will remain on “supporting jobs and sustainable development of the constituency and our nation”.
Dr Balakrishnan assured those who didn’t vote for him that his commitment to them and his political values have not changed.
The SDP team, which got 33.64 per cent of the votes, comprised James Gomez, and first-time candidates Min Cheong and Alfred Tan.
In a collective thank-you messages posted on Mr Tan’s Facebook page, the team thanked the 35, 972 voters who voted and supported them.
The post also stated the party’s post-election plans: “We will be undertaking a post-mortem of the SDP campaign to see how we can improve and continue to speak up for all Singaporeans.”
People’s Action Party (74.62%), Red Dot United (25.38%)
Jurong GRC was piqued by media attention after the debacle that surrounded the character and ethics of new candidate Ivan Lim. He was fielded on 23 June but dropped by the party shortly after on 27 June.
The most notable comments from PAP’s Jurong team leader in the wake of PAP’s win was the appearance and thank-you speech by Ivan Lim, although he was not part of the contesting and winning team.
In a livestream post-results, Mr Lim thanked Jurong residents for their support, saying: “We will continue, and always continue to learn and be humble to serve, and always be ready to serve.”
PAP showed a strong showing in the GE2020, winning 74.62 per cent of the votes, a dip from 79.3 per cent in GE2015.
PAP’s Tharman Shanmugaratnam explained on 12 July on Facebook why he let Mr Lim speak in the livestream.
“Mr Lim had worked very hard on the ground (and he) wanted to acknowledge the contribution he had made, and have him add his own thanks to residents in addition to those of the five MPs,” he wrote.
Nonetheless, many netizens felt that his appearance was “inappropriate” and simply not right.
The PAP team in Jurong beat the new political party, Red Dot United (RDU), which said that contesting in the “hardest [GRC] of them all was not an easy task”. Nevertheless, RDU’s secretary-general Ravi Philemon, in a Facebook post, thanked the 31,191 voters who cast their vote for the party.
“Thank you very much!” We will keep faith and continue to earn your goodwill. We will continue to push for Singaporeans to be enabled to be the “Captains of our own Lives!”
Marine Parade GRC
People’s Action Party (57.76%), Workers’ Party (42.24%)
There was much talk about a vote-swing that could happen in favour of WP. This was because it was the first time former Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong would not be contesting since the first GE in 1968. PAP has always been the incumbent in Marine Parade GRC.
The full WP team, including Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim, was seen working the grounds of this GRC diligently on Wednesday (8 July), which reflected the party’s intention to put up a strong fight for this GRC. It paid off where it garnered 42.24 per cent of total votes, causing PAP’s vote share to drop by 6.31 per cent from GE2015.
Tan Chuan-Jin, leader of the PAP team and former Speaker of Parliament, said after the results: “With every election, we will review and learn, so that we can do better for everyone. Regardless of how you voted, our commitment to care for you all will not change. The work starts now and will not let up in the years to come.”
Former Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Yee Jenn Jong and leader of the WP team said in a thank-you speech on the party’s Facebook page that he “wants Singapore to believe that Singapore has more than just one Team A”, adding that Singaporeans can be “stronger even with diverse opinions”.
Workers’ Party (52.13%), People’s Action Party (47.87%)
Sengkang was one of the two GRCs whose results were most anticipated by Singaporeans. That was because Sengkang was a newly-formed GRC in GE2020, and fielded by two members in the WP team who have made headlines for the right and allegedly wrong reasons.
Dr Jamus Lim, an economics professor and new candidate, won over the younger voters with his incisive comments during the political debate against PAP’s Vivian Balakrishnan on 1 July. Soon after, he quickly rose to become a charismatic orator for the new generations.
Raeesah Khan, another first-time candidate, received backlash for allegedly promoting “enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race” on past social media posts. Two police reports were filed on 4 July, and investigations are still ongoing.
PAP fielded a strong team to go up against these new generation members. It comprised three office-holders – Ng Chee Meng, who was labour chief, Lam Pin Min, and Amrin Amin.
Mr Ng, the leader, congratulated the WP on their victory on 11 July, saying: “I hope residents will be ably served by them in the new term.”
He then thanked the residents for “the smiles, the welcoming hellos and especially the kids that really warmed [his] heart”.
In his party’s plans moving forward, Mr Ng noted that he will “evaluate and regroup to see how we can do better”.
“In the days to come, we will spend some time looking at what may be the plan for the future,” he added.
Dr Lim, from the winning WP team, said that the results “warmed the cockles of their heart”.
“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,” he added.
West Coast GRC
People’s Action Party (51.69%), Progress Singapore Party (48.31%)
This was the other GRC that was on the radar of Singaporeans in the GE.
The nation expected a close fight where the vote could easily swing either way between PAP and the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), led by former 2011 presidential candidate Dr Tan Cheng Bock. He was also a former PAP MP for Ayer Rajah from 1980 to 2006. Ayer Rajah was eventually absorbed by West Coast GRC.
As one of the most veteran politicians in Singapore, coupled with the partnership with Lee Hsien Yang, it made Dr Tan’s team and West Coast GRC the ones to watch.
Despite a close call, PAP won by a narrow margin with 51.69 per cent of the votes. It was a sharp plunge from 78.75 per cent in GE2015.
The team was led by S Iswaran, former Minister for Communications and Information, and made up of fellow members Desmond Lee – who was the former Minister for Social and Family Development – Foo Mee Har, Ang Wei Neng, and new face Rachel Ong.
Mr Iswaran thanked the voters of West Coast GRC for “placing their trust in [them]”. He promised to “trust and honour the commitments [they] have made” and “ensure that [they] work to improve [voters’] lives and livelihoods”.
On his thoughts regarding the PSP, he said: “(WP) presented a choice to the voters of West Coast, allowing voters to think about the issues that they want to vote for.”
When asked what his team’s immediate plans to engage residents were, Mr Iswaran stated that the foremost priority would be to organise the town councils of West Coast GRC and Pioneer SMC, before looking at the programmes they would have to “mount across the GRC”.
“Beyond that, I think we will have to work out who are the segments, who perhaps we need to reach out to more, and what are the issues that are uppermost in their minds in order to deal with it,” he asserted.
However, the team would need more time to analyse in detail before giving more specific answers, Mr Iswaran added.
After results were announced, Dr Tan said that his team gave PAP “a tough fight”, adding that he is “very proud of this team”.
“Serving people is never a problem for me. We (will) just continue to serve. I will of course tell my other PSP members to have this kind of philosophy,” he remarked.