By-elections are prone to "big swings": Ng Eng Hen

By-elections are prone to big swings, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen who added that the results of the Punggol East race will not affect how the People Action Party (PAP) handles national issues.

"This is democracy, the voters in Punggol East have decided that the Workers' Party is the better party to serve them and I congratulate Ms Lee Li Lian to be the MP to serve them," said Dr Ng on the sidelines of a community event this morning.

Ms Lee raked in 54.52 per cent of the votes in Saturday's by-election, while PAP candidate Koh Poh Koon picked up just 43.71 per cent.

Asked about the wider-than-expected margin, Dr Ng said: "By-elections always have these big swings and I am sure there will be many analysis back and forth.

"But for our MPs in Bishan-Toa Payoh, the lesson is very clear: the voters decide who is the better party to serve them. Once they have decided, their faith is entrusted in us as MPs here and we have to work very hard to serve our residents here."

At a midnight press conference after the results were unveiled, WP chief Low Thia Khiang reiterated a message he had put forth in the campaign, that voters should vote for his party to make the PAP work harder.

Asked about this, Dr Ng said: "I have been a MP here for nearly 11 years, and I must honestly say that that never crossed my mind. We serve here week in week out because residents in Bishan-Toa Payoh have entrusted us and it is really they who are our prime motivators to ensure that their lives are better."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.