Jul 11, 2020, 3:33 am SGT
SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) team in Marine Parade, which went to the polls without heavyweight Emeritus Senior Minster Goh Chok Tong, who retired from politics after 44 years, has retained the five-member constituency but with less stellar results than five years ago.
The team, led by the Speaker of the 13th Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, took home 57.76 per cent of the votes against the Workers’ Party (WP); lower than the 64.07 per cent achieved in the 2015 General Election.
Observers had anticipated a close fight after Mr Goh, 79, said last month that he was leaving politics.
Mr Goh, who was Singapore’s second prime minister from 1990 to 2004, had represented Marine Parade for 44 years, starting in 1976, when Marine Parade was a single-member constituency (SMC).
In all, he contested and won a total of 11 elections, comprising 10 general elections and one by-election.
Mr Goh has said he will continue to serve residents as Chairman Emeritus of Marine Parade Branch and Adviser Emeritus to Marine Parade grassroots organisations.
The PAP team this time included incumbents Seah Kian Peng, 58 and Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong, 50, as well as new faces Mohd Fahmi Aliman, 47, and Tan See Leng, 55.
Mr Mohd Fahmi, a former army colonel, replaced Dr Fatimah Lateef, 54, and Dr Tan, former group chief executive and managing director of IHH Healthcare, took the place vacated by Mr Goh.
The WP team comprised second-time candidate Ron Tan Jun Yen, 35, a senior assistant manager at the National University Health System Research Office who contested in Nee Soon GRC in 2015.
The other members are former Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong, 55, and three new faces: lawyer Muhammad Fadli Mohammed Fawzi, 39; IT professional Nathaniel Koh, 36; and small business owner Muhammad Azhar Abdul Latip, 34.
It was entrepreneur Mr Yee’s second outing in the area.
The first was in 2011 when he contested Joo Chiat SMC. It was also his maiden electoral battle, which he lost to veteran PAP backbencher Charles Chong, by a narrow margin of 388 votes.
In 2015, the single-member constituency was absorbed into Marine Parade GRC.
In this general election, the Joo Seng area of Marine Parade GRC was carved out to be part of Potong Pasir SMC.
Marine Parade GRC, which was formed in 1988, has 139,738 registered voters – down from 146,244 in 2015.
After the 1992 by-election, Marine Parade GRC was uncontested in three general elections: 1997, 2001 and 2006.
But in 2011, it turned out to be the second-worst performing GRC – after East Coast – for the PAP; getting just 56.64 per cent of the votes against a National Solidarity Party team whose candidate Nicole Seah had star power.
This time, the PAP team fought the battle with plans to address jobs and local issues.
Dr Tan focused on addressing issues related to the ageing population in the GRC’s Marine Parade ward, where more than 20 per cent of residents are older than 65. This is above the national average of 15 per cent.
He has pledged to start a caregivers support network: a one-stop centre to provide respite care for caregivers, help with transport for medical appointments and financial aid for those in need.
The WP team said in its constituency political broadcast on Sunday (July 5) that it wants to build “a better Marine Parade, not just with infrastructure, but to invest in people so that initiatives can be ground-up, by Marine Parade residents, for Marine Parade residents”.
The team also assured residents that it had the experience and expertise to run the town council.