The People’s Action Party (PAP) will work hard to win back Sengkang GRC at the next election, the same way it continues to fight in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said early this morning.
While the PAP sees the outcome of GE2020 as a clear mandate, the loss of a group representation constituency (GRC) and three officeholders is a “major loss” to the Government and the fourth-generation leadership team, PM Lee said in a post-election press conference.
“They gave it their all, but Sengkang voters have spoken and we respect their decision,” said PM Lee.
“It is, however, a major loss to my team and to the 4G leaders, especially as Ng Chee Meng is the secretary- general of the NTUC.”
In the largest upset of the election, the Workers’ Party (WP) won Sengkang GRC with 60,136 votes to the PAP’s 55,214 votes.
By clinching 52.13 per cent of the votes, the WP broke new ground to win its historic second group representation constituency.
While Mr Ng remains secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), his longerterm 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.
While the final member of the PAP’s Sengkang slate Raymond Lye was a new candidate, he has been a longstanding grassroots leader in Punggol East, said PM Lee. He said Mr Lye “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.”
PM Lee said he was “naturally disappointed” that the PAP lost Sengkang GRC, but the PAP team led by Mr Ng knew that this election would be a tough fight. This was why on Nomination Day he “completely disagreed” with opposition parties like the WP that there could be a possible opposition wipeout.
“I have spoken to Chee Meng and his GRC team to thank them, and to encourage them to continue to serve the party and Singapore in different ways,” said PM Lee.
“The PAP will strive to win back Sengkang GRC. We will also continue to fight to win back Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC.”
With the election over, PM Lee called on Singaporeans to put differences aside and work together on the task at hand, which is to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis safely.
“My team and I will serve all Singaporeans, whichever party you vote for,” he said.
“Whether or not you voted for the PAP, we will listen to you, do our best to address your concerns and try to win your support.”