GE2020 SINGAPORE VOTES: BATTLEGROUNDS

GE2020 results: WP's new face betters margin in Hougang

Workers' Party supporters celebrating their Hougang win at Block 322 Hougang Avenue 5 earlier this morning. Shipping lawyer Dennis Tan, 49, retained the seat for his party with 61.19 per cent of the votes. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
Workers' Party supporters celebrating their Hougang win at Block 322 Hougang Avenue 5 earlier this morning. Shipping lawyer Dennis Tan, 49, retained the seat for his party with 61.19 per cent of the votes. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Hougang remains firmly a Workers' Party (WP) stronghold, with residents hammering home the point at the polls yesterday.

Despite being a new face in the single-member constituency, shipping lawyer Dennis Tan, 49, retained the seat for his party with 61.19 per cent of the votes. He beat People's Action Party challenger Lee Hong Chuang, 50, an IT manager, who took 38.81 per cent.

As the official results came in early this morning and as thousands of jubilant flag-waving supporters took to the streets to cheer, Mr Tan said the Hougang spirit had "spoken clearly today". "Today's results showed why Hougang is known as the beacon of democracy in Singapore," he said. "I am truly humbled and will do my best to serve you and speak up for you in Parliament."

"Hougang voters who have not voted for me, you are also Hougang nang (people)," he added. "I will work hard to serve you and hope to win your support in due course."

Mr Tan bettered the winning margin of 57.7 per cent that his fellow party member Png Eng Huat won in the 2015 election, also against Mr Lee. Mr Png stepped down from electoral politics this year, but Mr Tan started walking the ground with him three years ago.

Mr Tan will be Hougang's fourth WP MP. Created in 1988, the ward has been held by the opposition party since 1991, when Mr Low Thia Khiang won the seat for WP. Since then, it has been held by Mr Yaw Shin Leong, its MP from 2011 to 2012, and Mr Png from 2012 to 2020.

But the WP's win this year without Mr Low, who retired from politics last month, has reinforced the belief that this single-member constituency is now really the opposition party's to lose.

Mr Low, 63, continues to be a presence in the party, walking the ground with Mr Tan in the past weeks, often to a warm reception wherever he went. In a video address this week, he spoke fondly of the ties he had with Hougang residents despite moving to contest in Aljunied GRC in 2011. "I still return to Hougang often, as it has become my habit, after more than 20 years, to visit my old friends," he said in Teochew. "I will always remember the familiar and warm feelings. This is why I refer to Hougang as my second home."

Hougang, which spans a landed private estate, condominiums and some 150 Housing Board blocks, has 26,468 registered voters.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2020, with the headline GE2020 results: WP's new face betters margin in Hougang. Subscribe