Murali Pillai to be sworn in as Bukit Batok MP today

Mr Murali Pillai touring Bukit Batok with party activists yesterday to thank residents for their support in Saturday's by-election. Residents can expect details of the projects he promised - such as job placement and youth mentorship programmes - in
Mr Murali Pillai touring Bukit Batok with party activists yesterday to thank residents for their support in Saturday's by-election. Residents can expect details of the projects he promised - such as job placement and youth mentorship programmes - in a matter of months, he said.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Bukit Batok's new MP will also hold his first Meet-the-People Session in the evening

The new MP for Bukit Batok, Mr Murali Pillai of the People's Action Party (PAP), will take his oath of allegiance when Parliament sits this afternoon.

"I hope to learn quickly from fellow PAP MPs and I want to start contributing actively," he told reporters yesterday, after going around the single-member constituency to thank residents for their support in Saturday's by-election.

Mr Murali won 61.2 per cent of the vote in the straight contest against Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan.

Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob said Mr Murali will be sworn in today, as an MP is deemed to be elected once the Returning Officer declares he has won the election.

She told The Straits Times: "I am sure that Murali will stay true to his promise and will lend his voice strongly in Parliament to the issues that matter to his Bukit Batok residents and all Singaporeans."

Mr Murali said yesterday he has a full schedule of plans to implement, and is "raring to go".

 

He will also hold his first Meet-the-People Session as MP at PAP's Bukit Batok branch tonight.

Yesterday, activists joined him on the back of a lorry to thank residents, many of whom cheered him on."I am really very grateful for the great turnout of my supporters and volunteers. I draw great encouragement from that," he said.

Residents can also expect details of the projects he promised - like a health co-operative and job placement and youth mentorship programmes - "in a matter of months".

On Saturday, Mr Murali became the first PAP candidate to win a by-election in a single seat in over three decades. But his vote share was 12 percentage points lower than that won by former MP David Ong at the 2015 General Election.

The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Mr Ong in March over an alleged extra-marital affair, a factor analysts said cost the PAP some votes, as did the higher profile that Mr Murali's rival, Dr Chee, had.

Yesterday, Dr Chee also went around Bukit Batok to thank voters. He said he would continue working for residents and hoped to contest there again at the next election.

"We'll be back again," he said.

Mr Murali said he welcomed this: "It's good because we're talking about serving our residents."

As it was Mother's Day, Mr Murali gave out carnations to mums he met. Asked by reporters about the issue of race that arose in the campaign, he said: "I don't think of myself as a minority, I think of myself as a fellow Singaporean first. I'm here to help all communities, that's always been my orientation."

Administrative assistant P.C. Chua, 46, said she was relieved that he won: "When he spoke, he was very quiet and assured. I'm sure he can help us get things done."

Printing company owner Jack Ng, 47, said: "As long as he helps the lower-income and makes sure the estate is maintained, he would have done a good job."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2016, with the headline 'Murali to be sworn in as MP today'. Print Edition | Subscribe