Singapore GE2020: West Coast PAP team grateful for majority support and has started work, says Iswaran

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran during a walkabout at West Coast Market Square on July 12, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The newly elected PAP team in West Coast GRC is grateful for the support of the majority of voters in a closely fought contest and it has started work to deliver on its promises, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday (July 12) after a walkabout at Boon Lay Place Market and Food Village to thank voters, Mr Iswaran said the contest put up by the opposition Progress Singapore Party (PSP) had given voters much to think about.

The PAP team won the GRC with 51.69 per cent of the votes against the PSP, led by former PAP stalwart Tan Cheng Bock.

When asked what went right or wrong with the PAP's campaign strategy, Mr Iswaran, who was the PAP team's anchor minister, said it was too early to arrive at definitive conclusions.

The PAP's vote share was a 26-point drop from the 2015 election, when it secured 78.57 per cent of the votes against the Reform Party.

Mr Iswaran, when asked about the possible reasons for the tilt towards the opposition, said: "I think there are obviously multiple factors at play, and it's very hard to make specific attributions."

The PAP team ran a relatively low-profile campaign, including market and house visits, as well as social media posts. It did not hold any online rallies during the campaign period.

The GRC manifesto had highlighted numerous upcoming infrastructure improvements, such as the Jurong Regional Line and Silver Zones for the elderly.

Said Mr Iswaran: "I think the post-mortem will have to be done at different levels, so it's a bit early to analyse this. But as you have heard from PM (Lee Hsien Loong) and so on, there are multiple factors at play, we imagine. There are national level issues, and I think it's also a function of the opponents in the relevant divisions, and so on."

The PAP team - comprising Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, Ms Foo Mee Har, Mr Ang Wei Neng, and new candidate Rachel Ong - had campaigned on creating jobs, providing employment assistance, strengthening social safety nets and initiatives for the young and families.

On the other hand, Dr Tan had cited his track record as a long-serving former PAP MP, and called for greater transparency, as well as putting workers and businesses first.

His team included PSP assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai, Ms Hazel Poa, Mr Nadarajah Loganathan, and Mr Jeffrey Khoo.

On Sunday, Mr Iswaran said the team's immediate priority was to set up a town council that will oversee municipal matters in both West Coast GRC and Pioneer SMC.

It will be chaired by newly elected Pioneer MP Patrick Tay, with participation from other West Coast GRC MPs, he added.

When asked why Mr Tay is taking the chairman's job, Mr Iswaran said: "Patrick was chair of our West Coast Town Council. So I think all of us agree that he is the best choice to do it because that will allow us to have the continuity."

Beyond this, a range of other initiatives will be rolled out, including programmes focusing on jobs and employment, he added. There will also be efforts to reach out to senior citizens, and new plans in the area of healthcare, Mr Iswaran said.


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