SINGAPORE - The chief of People's Progress Party, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, said early this morning (July 11) that he was "quite proud" of his party's 24 candidates, who had lost to the People's Action Party in the nine constituencies they contested .
The teams in the four GRCs - West Coast, Nee Soon, Tanjong Pagar and Chua Chu Kang - "performed "very well", while those who battled in five SMCs managed to secure an average of 40 per cent of the votes, he noted. The five SMCs are Marymount, Hong Kah North, Yio Chu Kang, Kebun Baru and Pioneer.
"So I think on average, we have done pretty well and I'd like to say that we will continue to work in the areas that we had stood in", he said at a media conference held at the party's headquarters. "I am actually quite proud of that performance.''
Dr Tan, a retired doctor, was the PAP's Member of Parliament for Ayer Rajah for 26 years before stepping down in 2006. He founded the PSP last year and fielded the largest number of candidates among the opposition parties.
He told reporters: "It is the beginning of a new chapter for PSP and I think the movement that I created will grow. We aren't too deterred by this disappointment because the team that I have built will go further in the next election.
"I told my men, sometimes, you get defeated once but next round we will come back."
Dr Tan, the party's secretary-general, led the charge at five-member West Coast GRC, which lost narrowly to the PAP team anchored by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, 58, with Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, 43, Ms Foo Mee Har, 54, Mr Ang Wei Neng, 53, and first-timer Rachel Ong, 47.
The PAP slate won 51.69 per cent of the votes against PSP's 48.31 per cent.
Asked if he would take up the offer of a Non-Constituency MP (NCMP) seat, Dr Tan reiterated that he would not accept "because I've been in Parliament for so many years".
Dr Tan had said at the hustings that the NCMP scheme is a ploy to entice voters to not vote for the opposition.
Mr Leong, the party's assistant secretary-general, who ran with Dr Tan as part of the West Coast GRC team, said he, too, would decline to be an NCMP.