Marine Parade GRC

Yee Jenn Jong unlikely to get NCMP seat after defeat by 'giants'

(From left) WP's Mr Terence Tan, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Daniel Goh, Ms He Tingru, Mr Firuz Khan, and Mr Dylan Ng waiting for the results at Hougang Stadium.
(From left) WP's Mr Terence Tan, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Daniel Goh, Ms He Tingru, Mr Firuz Khan, and Mr Dylan Ng waiting for the results at Hougang Stadium.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
(From left) WP's Mr Terence Tan, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Daniel Goh, Ms He Tingru, Mr Firuz Khan, and Mr Dylan Ng waiting for the results at Hougang Stadium.
(From left) WP's Mr Terence Tan, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, Mr Daniel Goh, Ms He Tingru, Mr Firuz Khan, and Mr Dylan Ng waiting for the results at Hougang Stadium.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

It was second time unlucky for Workers' Party (WP) candidate Yee Jenn Jong, who once again fell short of a winning margin.

This time it was against a People's Action Party (PAP) slate that includes a minister who is part of the fourth-generation leadership core and a former prime minister.

A few days into the campaign, Mr Yee was asked about the prospects of competing against Social and Family Development Minister Tan Chuan-Jin and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong in Marine Parade GRC. "Sometimes you're up against giants. I signed up for this knowing who the likely opponents are," he had said.

In the end, the political giants proved to be too large an obstacle to surmount for the "son of Joo Chiat" - as Mr Yee is known to his supporters. His team got 35.9 per cent of the votes.

In 2011, he entered Parliament as a Non-Constituency MP after losing to PAP's Charles Chong by a mere 388 votes in the Joo Chiat Single-Member Constituency (SMC). During his time in Parliament, Mr Yee - an education business owner - raised questions on the education system and policies on small and medium-sized enterprises.

He said he started walking the ground in the Marine Parade and Kembangan-Chai Chee divisions more than a year ago as he could not be sure if the SMC would still be on the electoral map for this election.

After the Electoral Boundaries Review Committee's report in July confirmed that Joo Chiat would be absorbed into Marine Parade GRC, he conducted house visits in the constituency almost every day.

"We tried very hard and although Marine Parade GRC may not yet be blue, but one day we believe it will," he said after the results.

Party sources told The Straits Times the WP had gone into Marine Parade GRC hoping to score a solid result that the party could build on in the next polls.

But the team had sensed, as the campaign went on, that it would be a close race and an upset might even have been on the cards.

However, the PAP's winning margin means the WP's Marine Parade GRC slate is not likely to be offered a Non-Constituency MP seat, given to losing opposition candidates who score the highest percentage of votes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2015, with the headline 'Yee Jenn Jong unlikely to get NCMP seat after defeat by 'giants''. Print Edition | Subscribe