SINGAPORE - Bukit Batok residents started voting for their Member of Parliament on Saturday (May 7), when the polls opened at 8am for the by-election.
As of 5pm, 21,566 Singaporeans have turned up to cast votes, the Elections Department said in a statement. This makes up 83 per cent of the 25,727 registered electors.
Voters started queueing at Block 105A, Bukit Batok Central, at 7.30am, with about 10 people in line at. By 7.59am, the line had stretched to nearly 50 people.
Among the first to cast their votes was Madam Apporvam, 72, a retired laboratory assistant. She said she came early to vote as she had a doctor's appointment later.
“I'm happy to vote, it’s my job as a Singaporean,” she said. "I wasn’t able to vote last time before I moved to Bukit Batok because my previous constituency was a walkover.”
It is a straight fight for the single-member constituency between the People’s Action Party’s Murali Pillai and Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan.
Some residents took their family along to vote before heading for breakfast, like Madam Cheong Soh Har, 68. “We came down early so we can have the morning free for breakfast and errands,” she said.
Others came in sports attire following their morning workout, with a few others casting their votes with bags of groceries on their arms after their morning marketing.
Most residents wanted to perform their electoral duties early in order to get on with the rest of their day.
“I have to be at work at 10am, so I came early,” said Mr Raman Mohd, 59, who works at a cafe. “It’s our responsibility as citizens to vote, so I can’t skip this, since it’s our government and we must choose.”
Bank manager Kenneth Tay, 36, said: “I wanted to get it over and done with early so I can run some errands later in the day.”
The by-election was triggered by the sudden resignation of Bukit Batok’s ex-MP David Ong due to personal indiscretion, which residents are taking in stride.
“If it happens, it happens. Certain facts arose about the previous MP, so this is what the residents have to do,” said Mr Tay.
“I have mixed feelings about this, having lived here for over 20 years," said resident Gerard Kolwaski, 47, a sales and marketing manager.
“Every time elections come around there are lots of promises about new improvement plans – I hope they follow through. Especially for the elderly, as there are lots of older folks here.”
Dr Chee arrived at the Block 105A polling station at about 9.05am, cycling in from the direction of Bukit Batok Central, where he chatted with residents outside the polling stations and the polling agents at the station.
“I’ve just been going around the different polling stations to make sure everything is okay,” said Dr Chee. “It's shaping up to be a good morning, with a few more rounds to do.”
Mr Murali visited the same polling station at about 9.30am, where he spoke to residents and polling agents.
“I’ve lost count of the stations visited, I started before 8am - but this should be the tail end already,” said Mr Murali.