SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) has retained Sembawang GRC with 67.29 per cent of the votes.
The National Solidarity Party (NSP) got 32.71 per cent of the votes.
Missing from the PAP slate this time round is Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who had anchored Sembawang GRC since 2006 and announced recently that he would retire from politics. In his place, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, 50, who was elected in 2015, has stepped up to helm the GRC.
His team also includes lawyer Vikram Nair, 41; ophthalmologist Lim Wee Kiak, 51; and new candidates Ms Poh Li San, 44; and Ms Mariam Jaafar, 43. Ms Poh is Changi Airport Group’s vice-president for Terminal 5 Planning, and Ms Mariam is the Singapore managing director and partner at the Boston Consulting Group.
They faced an NSP team led by party chief Spencer Ng, 40, a business consultant. His running mates are business consultant Ivan Yeo Tiong Boon, 72; consultancy firm managing director Sebastian Teo, 73; business development director Yadzeth Hairis, 57; and a new candidate, business owner Sathin Ravindran, 27.
The NSP improved on its result in 2015, when it won 27.72 per cent of the vote against the PAP’s 72.28 per cent.
The NSP had pledged to be an alternative voice in Parliament and to serve as a check and balance on the Government, if elected. The party called for the Government to scrap the upcoming goods and services tax hike, which is slated to rise from 7 per cent to 9 per cent between 2022 and 2025. It also argued against the need for the PAP to have a supermajority in Parliament.
The PAP team, on the other hand, had focused its messaging on helping residents secure their jobs and livelihoods amid the Covid-19 crisis. Weighing in on the question of whether the PAP needs a supermajority, Mr Ong said that the issue of residents’ needs should be prioritised above the needs of political parties.
Bread-and-butter issues, such as whether Singaporeans can retain their jobs and whether their children can have a future, are main concerns that parties should address instead.
His team pledged to help residents with employment and to support them through the Covid-19 crisis. They also promised to retain the rustic, unique character of the Sembawang area, even as they work to improve amenities in the GRC, such as by building new sports and community facilities.
Mr Ong said, after the final result was announced: “Thank you Sembawang! We are humbled and honoured by your trust, and will work to fulfil all we had promised. We thank the National Solidarity Party for a clean and dauntless campaign. It is now time for us to unite and work for Singapore.
“I have many people to thank. Mr Khaw Boon Wan for all his guidance over the years; my team mates, who displayed endless energy and for putting up a good campaign; party volunteers, who knocked on doors and pounded the pavement with me, who made sure we had good food and drinks, and produced wonderful videos and photos. You kept our morale high and our spirit strong.
“Most of all, I thank the people of Sembawang. You have given us a lot of feedback during the campaign. We will follow up.
“In the next few days, we will be reviewing internal boundaries to make sure there is a balance of responsibilities among the five of us. We will announce details of MPS going forward, even as all eMPS continue. In fact, we received many MPS appeals over the past few days, which we cannot clear during campaign. So some catching up to do.
“The work starts now. Let us begin.”
Mr Ong had drawn some criticism during the campaign, when he put up a three-minute video on his Facebook page featuring a young boy living in Sembawang. It was taken down promptly after he was informed the video violates election rules. The Parliamentary Elections Act prohibits primary and secondary school students from taking part in election activities between Nomination Day and Polling Day. This means they are not allowed to appear in a video or take part in activities to promote a political party during this period.
There are 147,876 voters in the GRC, which saw boundary changes this election.
More than 20,000 residents in Yishun Link, who live in over 100 HDB blocks and several private residential developments at the edge of Yishun new town, were moved to Nee Soon GRC. Several thousand residents living near the Woodlands Civic Centre, Singapore Sports School and Woodgrove Primary School also joined Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC.
The GRC covers the towns of Canberra, Sembawang, Admiralty and part of Woodlands.
At least six new Build-to-Order developments have been completed in Canberra over the last four years, with a sizeable number of young couples and families having moved into these blocks.
NSP’s Mr Ng said: “Though the results can be better, we are happy to gain the support and trust of more voters in Sembawang GRC. Moving forward, we will work even harder on the ground to earn more recognition from the voters.”
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