SINGAPORE - Fresh from his victory in Sengkang West, People's Action Party candidate Lam Pin Min took to its streets on Saturday (Sept 12) morning in an open-top double-decker bus to thank residents for their support.
Dr Lam and his team gave "thank you" messages in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil and made six different stops within the single-member constituency to speak to locals.
Most greeted their MP and his team warmly. They poked their heads out of their flats and cheered; drivers sounded their horns as the PAP bus passed them; and taxi drivers and their passengers rolled down their windows to say hello to the MP.
Dr Lam won 62.1 per cent of the vote against the Worker's Party's (WP) Koh Choong Yong, a software engineer. The last time the duo contested the single-member constituency in 2011, Dr Lam won 58.1 per cent against Mr Koh's 41.9 per cent.
The latest result represents a four percentage point increase between the winning margins for Dr Lam across the two elections.
He told The Straits Times that the increase is a "respectable one" for a constituency contested by the WP. He said: "This can be attributed to the good work done by the Government in addressing some of the hot button issues that were raised in 2011.
"The Government has heard the voices of Singaporeans. We need to continue to do so and to address their concerns adequately."
Prior to the release of the sample vote count on Friday (Sept 11) night, the Minister of State for Health said he was nervous about the results. Nearly 40 per cent of the 30,119 voters in the single-member constituency who went to the polls on Sept 11 did not vote in the ward in the last round. This meant that there was a big mystery over where the voters' affiliations lay.
Since 2011, 15 Build-to-Order (BTO) developments with about 10,500 flats in all have been completed in Sengkang West. Part of the ward, the area between Jalan Kayu and Fernvale Road, was redrawn into Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Congratulating Dr Lam, social worker and resident Yida Loh, 40, said he had been taking care of residents well. "Dr Lam is a very caring person. I always see him interacting with residents. He's genuine and always tries to help those in need including the lower-income group," she said.
Sengkang resident Candy Tok, 48, who had just opened her hawker stall in Anchorvale, said Dr Lam had become a familiar face in the neighbourhood.
She urged him to help hawkers there to keep rental costs low. Madam Tok said: "We supported you so please continue to help us."
A few residents had some grouses. They asked that Dr Lam help to speak up on national issues such as overpopulation and Central Provident Fund savings.
Dr Lam bumped into his rival, who was making his rounds near Seletar Mall on Saturday morning as well. Addressing residents from a truck, Mr Koh said: "We will continue to work hard and do better the next time around."
On his opponent, Dr Lam said: "We had a good fight together. I must thank him for making this a clean fight between ourselves."
Dr Lam added that he has "great plans" for the estate in the next four to five years.
He has, among other things, promised a dual-carriage LRT and better buses by next year. On the horizon are a jumbo childcare centre in Fernvale Lea and an integrated community facility with food options.
"We also have in place many programmes to reach out to young, elderly and underprivileged," he said.