GE2015: PAP retains East Coast GRC with 60.7 per cent of votes

PAP's East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Cheryl Chan, Ms Jessica Tan, Mr Mohamad Maliki Osman and Mr Lim Swee Say during Nomination Day.
PAP's East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Cheryl Chan, Ms Jessica Tan, Mr Mohamad Maliki Osman and Mr Lim Swee Say during Nomination Day.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
WP's East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Mr Gerald Giam, Mr Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, Mr Daniel Goh and Mr Leon Perera rally at the field in front of Blk 155, Simei Road.
WP's East Coast GRC candidates (from left) Mr Gerald Giam, Mr Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, Mr Daniel Goh and Mr Leon Perera rally at the field in front of Blk 155, Simei Road.ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party (PAP) team has retained East Coast GRC with 60.73 per cent of the votes against the Workers' Party (WP).

The WP team got 39.27 per cent of votes cast.

The ruling party's team was led by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, Senior Minister of State Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State Maliki Osman and two-term MP Jessica Tan.

They faced a WP slate led by Mr Gerald Giam, a 37-year-old IT solutions architect. Mr Giam's team consists of consultancy firm chief executive Leon Perera, 44; National University of Singapore sociology associate professor Daniel Goh, 42; and former librarian Mohamed Fairoz Shariff, 36.

In a speech, Mr Lim Swee Say thanked voters for their support. He said: "We value your friendship, we value the time we've spent together in the last four and a half years. We look forward to spending even more time with you in the next five years.

"For those who did not vote for us, we are sorry that our best effort has not met up with expectations. We promise we'll improve and do better the next time round."

Meanwhile, Mr Giam said: "We have done our best, and we will continue to fight on, to fight for Singaporeans, to fight for a better future for Singapore."

East Coast GRC saw a close fight in the 2011 election. The PAP retained the group representation constituency with 54.8 per cent of valid votes in 2011 - the worst performing GRC won by the PAP in that election.

Observers and candidates themselves, including the WP's Mr Giam, had expected it to be another very close contest. In the end, the PAP took the four-member constituency by a comfortable margin. There were 91,536 valid votes cast.

Previously a five-member GRC, East Coast was cut down to four after Fengshan was hived off to become a single-seat ward.

This is the third time that the WP is knocking on the doors of East Coast. It won just 36.15 per cent of the votes on its first try in 2006 before improving its margin in 2011.

While the WP's running of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) has been at the heart of much of the debate during campaigning, the PAP candidates contesting in East Coast GRC have stayed away from weighing in on the issue.

Instead, the team led by Mr Lim has chosen to focus more on local issues and national policies.

The former labour chief, in particular, has used his unique ability to dissect policies and arguments down for the layman in rebutting the WP's proposals.

Among them: calls for a national minimum wage, and for the Central Provident Fund (CPF) monthly payouts to start at the age of 60 down from the current 64.

At his final rally on Wednesday night before Cooling-off Day kicked in, Mr Lim rejected the WP's CPF proposal, arguing that it will not enhance retirement adequacy.

He also disagreed with WP's call for a minimum wage of $1,000, pointing out that minimum wage can often end up being "maximum wage", hence making any increments hard, especially for low-income workers.

His team mates have also touched on topics such as a more inclusive Singapore, nurturing a skilled workforce, while aiming to drive home the message that the PAP's candidates are committed to being their voice in Parliament.

The WP, meanwhile, have argued that a stronger opposition voice has forced the PAP to tweak its policies. Electing more opposition MPs to the Parliament, it argued, will ensure greater scrunity of government policies for the benefit of the people.

Mr Giam had said at a rally: "East Coast and Fengshan are at the frontline of this battle. We are at the tipping point of political progress in Singapore. Your vote will determine whether the opposition can make inroads beyond Hougang, Aljunied and Punggol East."


Correction note: The original version of the story attributed a quote from an election rally to Mr Low Thia Khiang. The quote was actually said by Mr Gerald Giam.