Punggol East by-election: Statement of PM Lee Hsien Loong

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong released a statement at about 11.05pm on Saturday after it was announced that the Workers' Party had won the Punggol East by-election.

Here is the statement in full:

1. I called a by-election in Punggol East to fill the vacancy created when Mr Michael Palmer resigned as MP. I respect the choice of Punggol East voters. I congratulate Ms Lee Li Lian and the Workers' Party for winning this by-election.

2. The PAP fielded a good candidate: Dr Koh Poh Koon. He showed character and courage in contesting this election, and did the PAP proud. Clearly, many voters were impressed by Dr Koh's sincerity and commitment. But unfortunately there were not enough of them for him to win. I wish to thank all those who voted for Dr Koh and the PAP, and especially all our activists and volunteers who fought so hard in this campaign.

3.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.

4.The government must continue to govern. Our plans and programmes are already in progress. 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.

5.I have spoken to Dr Koh, to thank him and his team for their hard work, and for fighting a spirited campaign. He is naturally disappointed, but in good heart. He is keen to continue serving in any role that the party decides. I intend to field him again in a future election, so that he can be part of my team to serve Singapore.

6.Now that the Punggol East by-election is over, we should re-focus on national issues. We have a heavy agenda coming up: The White Paper on Population will soon be debated in Parliament, and Budget 2013 is less than a month away. Let us come together as one people to do our best for Singapore.

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