Jul 11, 2020, 2:57 am SGT
SINGAPORE – The People’s Action Party (PAP) retained Jurong GRC with a thumping 74.62 per cent of the vote, fobbing off Singapore’s newest party, Red Dot United (RDU), in the 2020 GE.
The victory was expected with Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, 63, leading the Jurong GRC PAP team, even after the exit of Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee from the GRC and various controversies that involved its candidates in the days leading up to Nomination Day.
The PAP received 91,692 votes, while 31,191 votes went to the RDU. Jurong GRC had 122,883 electors this year.
The final results did not fall far from the sample count, which earlier at about midnight had shown 75.0 per cent of the votes going to the PAP.
The other candidates on the PAP slate were Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, 45, backbencher and lawyer Rahayu Mahzam, 39, and newcomers Xie Yao Quan, 35, who is the head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital, and Shawn Huang, 37, a director for enterprise development at Temasek International.
The PAP team was up against the only team fielded in this election by the RDU, which was registered on June 15.
It saw the return of three candidates who had stood in previous elections: Mr Ravi Philemon, 52, the managing partner of a media company, educator and counsellor Michelle Lee, 43, and theatre director Alec Tok Kim Yam, 55. The first two were previously Progress Singapore Party members, while Mr Tok was from the Singapore Democratic Party.
They campaigned with entrepreneur and author Liyana Dhamirah, 33, and legal engineer Nicholas Tang, 28, who were both competing in an election for the first time.
A few weeks before the start of campaigning, the PAP slate for Jurong GRC became the subject of media attention after a candidate it had intended to field, Mr Ivan Lim, withdrew after facing criticisms on social media.
Dr Tan was also caught up in some controversy for an article he had penned that criticised Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh for supporting Singapore playwright Alfian Sa’at, saying Mr Alfian is not a “loving critic” of Singapore.
Jurong GRC resident Loo Xin Da, 42, who works in the banking sector, said he hopes the PAP team does not take its high number of votes, two elections in a row, for granted.
In the previous GE in 2015, Mr Tharman also led his team in Jurong GRC to win the highest vote share for the PAP winning 79.3 per cent of the votes.
Said Mr Loo: “It will be interesting to see how the two newcomers will contribute to both the work here in my neighbourhood, as well as nationally, in Parliament.”
Another Jurong GRC resident, Mr Mafteem Farshad, 30, a financial adviser, said he was not surprised at the PAP team’s big win.
He said: “I never saw the other party RDU much…But also, SM Tharman has been a good MP here. He visits often and I feel his presence on the ground. The Ivan Lim drama had me concerned because they replaced him so quickly. But I feel that they were taking care of the people here and I was impressed by it.”