THE first official day as the new MP for Punggol East was a busy one for Ms Lee Li Lian.
She was sworn into Parliament at 1.30pm yesterday at the start of the day's session but was later forced to leave her maiden parliamentary sitting early to attend her first Meet-the-People Session (MPS) in her ward.
There was a carnival atmosphere waiting for her at the void deck of Block 135, Rivervale Street in Punggol East as a crowd of about 200 people had gathered to catch a glimpse of the new MP.
Ms Lee, 34, of the Workers' Party (WP), won the by-election in Punggol East on Jan 26 when she garnered 54.5 per cent of the votes.
The crowd burst into applause when WP chief Low Thia Khiang and Ms Lee arrived just after 7.30pm. Some residents garlanded Ms Lee while others carried banners congratulating her on her victory. Many others brought gifts and bouquets.
Ms Lee did not address the crowd, nor did she make any comments to the media, choosing to start her MPS quickly.
And with Chinese New Year just around the corner, she presented each one of the residents who came to her for help with Mandarin oranges and red packets.
Apart from curious onlookers, WP members and activists from neighbouring wards in Aljunied GRC and Hougang also turned up to show support for the party's newest MP.
Among them was a new WP recruit, sociologist Daniel Goh from the National University of Singapore. He had started volunteering at Aljunied GRC MP Chen Show Mao's MPS after the 2011 General Election and recently spoke at a WP rally.
Associate Professor Goh, 40, has now moved over to help Ms Lee with her MPS and grassroots arm. The Punggol resident said: "This is my stomping ground and it feels almost like home. I felt I should contribute in my own backyard."
Hougang MP Png Eng Huat showed up at 9.40pm to lend his support. He said: "I'm very proud of Li Lian. We have another opposition woman MP now."
With the addition of Ms Lee, WP now has seven MPs and two Non-Constituency MPs in Parliament.
Among the Punggol East residents who turned up was Mr Lim C.N., 52, who came bearing cartons of packet drinks for the activists and residents. "I just wanted to show my support," he said.
More than 50 residents had signed up to see Ms Lee. She was still meeting residents at midnight last night.