SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong secured a resounding win in Ang Mo Kio GRC with 71.91 per cent of the votes against the Reform Party.
While slightly lower than their winning vote share in 2015 of 78.64 per cent, the result was a clear sign of support from voters in a campaign that may well be the last that Mr Lee, 68, leads as prime minister.
Back in 2012, he said in an interview that he hoped not to continue as prime minister beyond the age of 70, which would be in 2022. He has been prime minister for 16 years, since August 2004, and MP for Teck Ghee ward in Ang Mo Kio GRC since 1984.
PM Lee arrived at the PAP's Teck Ghee branch to applause just after 2am on Saturday (July 11) morning. He was accompanied by his wife Ho Ching.
Later, during a press conference streamed live on the GRC's Facebook page, he and his team thanked Ang Mo Kio residents for their support and the opportunity to continue serving them. PM Lee spoke in Malay, Mandarin and English.
"To all residents and voters of Ang Mo Kio GRC, I thank you for your support for me and my team, for electing us once again to be your MPs for Ang Mo Kio GRC," he said in English.
"We are very conscious of the heavy responsibility you have given us. We are very grateful for your trust and confidence and we will do our best to serve you for the next five years," he added.
PM Lee described this as a crisis election that will shape Singapore's future and emphasised that what is at stake is nothing less than "our lives, our jobs, our future", the title of the PAP Manifesto.
He said he had called the election to secure a strong mandate for the ruling party, which he leads as its Secretary-General.
The PAP's national share of the vote fell to 61.24 per cent, from 69.86 per cent in 2015.
PM Lee had said at the start of the campaign that the PAP would have to fight for every vote as people were feeling the pain and the uncertainty of the crisis acutely.
During the hustings, he also situated Ang Mo Kio constituency issues within the larger context of the Covid-19 outbreak. These included the need to protect the health of Ang Mo Kio's many elderly residents, and provide jobs and economic support to those hit by the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Another key issue for PM Lee was leadership renewal. In this election, the PAP fielded a diverse slate of 27 new faces, including two who are in the Ang Mo Kio GRC team: Ms Ng Ling Ling, 48, an independent consultant at the Health Ministry's Office for Healthcare Transformation, and Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin, 30, an associate director at TSMP Law Corporation.
The PAP's five-member team also included returning MPs Gan Thiam Poh, 56, and Darryl David, 49. They came up against a Reform Party (RP) team led by its secretary-general, Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, 61, the son of the late opposition MP J.B. Jeyaretnam. Also on the RP team were its chairman Andy Zhu, 37, Mr Darren Soh, 52, Ms Noraini Yunus, 52, and Mr Charles Yeo, 30.
Ang Mo Kio GRC, which encompasses Teck Ghee, Seng Kang South, Ang Mo Kio-Hougang, Cheng San-Seletar and Jalan Kayu, has 185,465 voters. It is the largest among the 17 GRCs and 14 SMCs.
The constituency has been contested four times, by the Workers' Party in 2006, and the Reform Party in 2011, 2015 and 2020. The PAP's winning share of the votes rose from 66.14 per cent in 2006, to 69.33 per cent in 2011 and 78.64 per cent in 2015.
Comprising largely Housing Board flats, the constituency saw the Yio Chu Kang SMC carved out for the 2020 election, with the PAP's Yip Hon Weng, 43, going up against the Progress Singapore Party's Kayla Low, 43. Yio Chu Kang, together with Kebun Baru SMC, which was claimed by the PAP's Henry Kwek, will join the Ang Mo Kio Town Council.
As for the RP team, Mr Jeyaretnam said they were pleased with the response and would build on it. "We've proven that RP is a party of substance," he said.