I respect the choice of Punggol East voters: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has congratulated the Workers' Party (WP) candidate Lee Li Lian for winning the Punggol East by-election.

The WP was declared the winner, receiving 54.5 per cent of the 29,415 valid votes cast.

In a statement issued late on Saturday night, PM said: "I respect the choice of Punggol East voters. I congratulate Ms Lee Li Lian and the Workers' Party for winning this by-election."

He commended the People's Action Party (PAP) candidate, Dr Koh Poh Koon, for showing character and courage in contesting the election. Dr Koh received 43.7 per cent of the vote in the four-cornered fight.

"Clearly, many voters were impressed by Dr Koh's sincerity and commitment. But unfortunately there were not enough of them for him to win," he said.

"I intend to field him again in a future election, so that he can be part of my team to serve Singapore," he added.

PM Lee also noted that in a by-election, "the governing party candidate always has a tougher fight".

"Voters see it as choosing an MP, not choosing a government, and opposition parties encourage them to do so," he said.

Now that the by-election is over, PM Lee called for the nation to re-focus on national issues, citing a heavy agenda coming up, which includes the White Paper on Population and the Budget 2013.

The government must continue to govern, and plans and programmes are already in place, he added.

"But they are geared towards the longer term, and will take time to show results. The PAP will continue to work to improve the lives of Singaporeans, and present our report card for voters to judge in the next general elections."

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