The People's Action Party (PAP) will work hard to win back Sengkang GRC in the next election, the same way it continues to fight in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said yesterday.
In a post-election press conference, he said the loss of a group representation constituency and three office-holders is a "major loss" to the Government and the fourth-generation leadership team.
"They gave it their all, but Sengkang voters have spoken and we respect their decision," said PM Lee.
In the largest upset of the election, the Workers' Party (WP) won Sengkang GRC with 52.13 per cent of the votes.
While Mr Ng Chee Meng remains as secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), his longer-term role is in doubt as the labour chief is traditionally a member of the Cabinet, serving as the Government's topmost link with labour unions, workers and businesses.
The loss of the new GRC to the WP also means the bowing out of two other office-holders - Dr Lam Pin Min and Mr Amrin Amin.
PM Lee said Dr Lam, who is Senior Minister of State for Health and Transport, had made contributions in a range of areas, while Mr Amrin had been a very promising young Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health.
Dr Lam had been an MP since 2006, while Mr Ng and Mr Amrin made their electoral debuts in the last election in 2015.
The final member of the PAP's Sengkang slate Raymond Lye was a new candidate. PM Lee said he has been a longstanding grassroots leader in Punggol East who "knows the area well, intimately, and would have been able to add a very good feel to the team of the needs of the residents".
"It is a loss not to have them in my MPs team and in my Cabinet, but we will move forward and move on from here, as we did after Aljunied went to the opposition in 2011."
In a Facebook post, Mr Ng said he and his team will evaluate and regroup to see how it can do better. "In the days to come, we will spend some time looking at what may be the plan for the future."
In a separate post, Mr Amrin said not to "write my obituary just yet".
"I'll come back stronger. Not so easy to knock me off," he wrote.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli lauded Mr Amrin's contributions in a Facebook post yesterday, saying he has always admired how Mr Amrin "effortlessly connects with fellow Singaporeans, regardless of race, religion or background".
He also listed the initiatives and campaigns that Mr Amrin had led for the Malay/Muslim community.
"We thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best, as he continues to unleash his potential in time to come," Mr Masagos wrote.