Singapore GE2020: PAP hasn't seen a swing away from party by minority groups, says Lawrence Wong

People queueing to cast their votes at Block 226 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, on July 10, 2020. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

There has not been a disproportionate shift in support away from the People's Action Party among minority voters, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

"We have not done a very comprehensive study because all of this is ongoing, but in the broad scans that we have seen in different constituencies, it has not been the case that areas with high proportions of minority groups have swung significantly against us," he told reporters. He was replying to a question on support for the PAP from ethnic minorities in GE2020 at a press conference at the PAP's headquarters in Bedok.

Mr Wong cited his own constituency, Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, noting that the Marsiling and Woodlands areas of the four-member group representation constituency have a significantly higher share of minority families compared with the national average.

But from what he has observed, it was not the case that the polling districts with a higher minority share swung more significantly.

"We did not see that pattern. It's premature to conclude and make a generalised statement about how they might have voted," he said.

"There may be different patterns across different constituencies but I would not be able to say at the overall level, whether or not there was any swing amongst the minority group at this stage."

He added: "Even if they had voted against us, it might not have been an issue of race or the issues that they identified with as a community, but related more to national issues - around jobs, around incomes as well. So we will have to tease out the factors."

The PAP won 63.18 per cent of the vote in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC against a Singapore Democratic Party team, down from 68.73 per cent in GE2015. This was a smaller swing than the 8.7 percentage point drop nationwide.

Asked if the result would have been different if the election were held later, Mr Wong said: "Covid-19 is going to be with us for many, many more months... very, very likely till next year. I can't see any possibility of this diminishing at the end of the year."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 19, 2020, with the headline Singapore GE2020: PAP hasn't seen a swing away from party by minority groups, says Lawrence Wong. Subscribe