Hot seats: SMCs to watch - Hougang

WP's Png Eng Huat prepares for battle in party stronghold

Mr Lee Hong Chuang
Mr Lee Hong Chuang

Mr Png Eng Huat looked relaxed as he arrived at Poi Ching School in Tampines yesterday to file his nomination papers to contest Hougang single-member constituency (SMC) - his third election in four years.

His challenger for the seat - a Workers' Party (WP) stronghold - is the PAP candidate, senior IT manager Lee Hong Chuang.

With the campaign period coinciding with the school holidays, Mr Png, 53, said he hopes his two children, aged 14 and 15, would be able to attend his election rallies. "They have never been to any of the election rallies. We could let them experience some of these," he said.

The WP has held Hougang SMC since 1991, when party chief Low Thia Khiang wrested it from the ruling People's Action Party.


It's like Liverpool versus Manchester United - you don't know who will win in the end.

MR LEE HONG CHUANG, the PAP candidate for Hougang, on who will win the battle for the SMC

In the 2011 polls, WP retained the seat, winning 64.8 per cent of the vote. But a by-election was triggered after the opposition MP, Mr Yaw Shin Leong, was sacked by the WP in 2012 over his silence in an alleged extramarital affair.

In the ensuing by-election in 2012, Mr Png garnered 62.1 per cent of the vote.

Yesterday, as both candidates crossed paths at the centre, they smiled, shook hands and talked about their ages and their children.

Mr Lee is 45 and has two children aged five and three. Mr Lee told The Straits Times that he and his supporters were in high spirits.

"My team is all ready, we will work together to convince the Hougang people that we are the team for them," he said.

When asked about his chances in Hougang, Mr Lee, referring to two major rival football teams in the English Premier League, said: "It's like Liverpool versus Manchester United - you don't know who will win in the end."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2015, with the headline 'WP's Png Eng Huat prepares for battle in party stronghold'. Print Edition | Subscribe