GE 2015: Candidates react to Polling Day results

GE 2015: Candidates react to Polling Day results
PAP's Marine Parade GRC team celebrates victory at Bedok Stadium. Photo: Raj Nadarajan
Published: 3:41 AM, September 12, 2015
Updated: 3:53 PM, March 21, 2016

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party (PAP) won a total of 83 seats while the Workers' Party (WP) won six seats in this year's General Election. Overall, the PAP won 69.86% of the valid votes, while the WP won 12.48% of the valid votes. More detailed results here. Here's what several candidates said after the results were announced. 

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is PAP's Secretary-General, held a press conference after the results were announced:

Workers' Party's Low Thia Khiang:

Photo: Ernest Chua

The party retained Aljunied GRC by a razor thin margin of 50.95%, as well as Hougang SMC with 57.69% of the votes, but lost Punggol East SMC. Mr Low said it was part and parcel of an election. In the context of the nationwide swing towards the PAP, Mr Low said the WP has done pretty well. "I am satisfied with the performance of the WP. We ran a good campaign, we've done our best," he said, adding that the party's candidates also conducted themselves well in this election.

Mr Low congratulated the PAP over the strong mandate it received. "I hope they will do well to secure the future of Singapore. What I want to remind the PAP is this: It is important to build trust between the people and the national institutions (which) include the civil service the judiciary, and the mainstream media." "They have to act fairly to every Singaporean, and not only to act fairly, but to be seen to act fairly," added Mr Low, noting that this will impact the future of Singapore.

Asked what the results said about residents’ trust in the WP team, he replied: “I think residents trust us to manage the town and we’ll continue to do so. We would want to do better if we can, and we certainly will try to do better to serve the residents.”

People's Action Party's Halimah Yaacob on the team's win in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC 

Photo: Koh Mui Fong

"It is a happy moment but it is also a very sad moment for me. I really wish my mother could have been here to be with me at this moment. But unfortunately she had passed away this morning. But I just want to say that there's a lot of work for us to do. We are really truly appreciative of the support given to us by residents of Marsiling-Yew Tee... We will roll up our sleeves and really work hard in order to improve lives in Marsiling-Yew Tee," said Mdm Halimah.

The PAP's Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC team won 68.73% of the votes, against the Singapore Democratic Party (31.27%).

Mdm Halimah said there are plans to improve infrastructure but her focus is on “the softer angle”. For instance, how to improve the lives of young families, children, needy families and elderly. “So we will focus more on programmes, more on the software, in order to enhance the lives of people in Marsiling-Yew Tee. But we certainly want to... move forward by working closely with residents, listening to them, making sure that they are also comfortable and are able to provide feedback and to support us in our ideas."

Mdm Halimah also said that the swing in votes towards the PAP is “wonderful” and it “does not happen by chance”. It indicates the PAP has been working very hard on making sure it's policies are flexible and meets the needs of Singaporeans, she said. “In every constituency, it shows the PAP candidates have been working very very hard... and that has generated greater trust and confidence, and in my view contributed to this (swing)."

Workers' Party's Lee Li Lian, who contested and lost in Punggol East SMC:

Ms Lee lost her Punggol East SMC seat to PAP's Charles Chong. She had 48.24% of the vote, compared to Mr Chong's 51.76%.

Ms Lee said the party respects the voters’ decision. On what could have caused her loss, she said there were many factors and she would have to evaluate them. Municipal issues could have been among the reasons, she said, but noted that the town council saga had hardly cropped up when she was speaking to residents on the ground.

Said Ms Lee: “Although it (her time as MP) was short , it was very meaningful. I have learnt a lot. It was a very humbling experience. You see people from different walks of lives having different sets of problems. I made a lot of friends. They are very encouraging.”

Ms Lee said she would not take the NCMP position, if offered.

PAP's Charles Chong, who contested and won in Punggol East SMC:

On his win, Mr Charles Chong said: “I never take things for granted. Most of my contests, it has been close, that's why I never take anything for granted. But one advantage here was that I was not going into a completely new area, some of the areas I've taken care before. So it was very nice to be coming back.”

“Ms Lee Li Lian did a very credible job, she did her best, (and took) care of residents,” he added.

Mr Chong said the immediate plan is to get the town council in order as well as tackle some municipal issues and other issues that residents have brought up during their Meet the People Sessions with him. “Some policies also seemed to be a little bit unfair to the residents, so I'd like to bring it up... Try and make exceptions for them,” he said.

Workers' Party's Yee Jenn Jong on the team's loss in Marine Parade GRC: 

Mr Yee Jenn Jong said: “It's the will of the people, we will respect it. We thought we can do better but it's ok we can move on.” 

“I think there is a national swing. We have done as much as we can in a short time. I mean I would have wanted a longer time to work on it and I hope our political system will be fairer," he added. “As you can see, we will take political competition in a fair way, we will fight in a gentlemenly way. I hope the ruling party will be able to respect those. Make sure whenever they want to change boundaries, they should give a fairer time for competition."

The WP team in Marine Parade garnered 35.93% of the vote, against the PAP's 64.07%.

On the NCMP post, Mr Yee said he won’t consider it for himself, if offered. “One term is enough... I have younger team members that should get it.. Let's not speculate till not all the results are out,” he said.

People's Action Party's Ng Eng Hen on the team's win in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC: 

“Obviously we're very happy with the results. Certainly we don't want to lose the sacred trust of our residents,” said Dr Ng Eng Hen. The PAP team in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC received 73.59% of the vote, against the Singapore People's Party (26.41%).

Dr Ng said there were several messages from this General Election. “From the PAP's side it was the need to have a strong mandate, because Singapore faces quite a few challenges. The second message that came strongly for the PAP was the need to have high standards of political leadership. And even though there were some reactions when we talked about town council problems and the need to have high levels of integrity - I think the voters have shown they want high standards of integrity to be maintained.”

On the Opposition’s message for the need for diversity, Dr Ng said: “If you look at the votes, I think the voters also want that, but they don't want diversity for the sake of diversity. They want a political system where the politicians from different parties are held to high standards.

“If the politicians can't maintain certain standards, I think the voters will be less supportive of them. For a political landscape this is good - you set high standards for everybody - I think it improves the political atmosphere.”

People's Action Party's Vivian Balakrishnan on the team's win in Holland-Bukit Timah GRC:

Photo: Koh Mui Fong

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan said he was “very happy with the endorsement our residents have given us”. The team won with 66.62% of the vote, against the Singapore Democratic Party (33.38%).

“I see this as an endorsement of the hard work and relationship-building, which takes years … I also see the result as a challenge to engage the other one third of voters who didn't vote for us,” he said.

“This victory is also significant because we are a unique GRC in the sense of having the highest percentage of private states and I'm very pleased to see that this was one outcome in which both residents in the private estates as well as in the HDBs estates gave us, in the sense, a resounding victory,” said Dr Balakrishnan, noting that there was “no divergence” which “speaks well for the unity and cohesion for Singapore”.

Dr Balakrishan said the big margins of win in may GRCs were significant. Other than providing the Government with a strong mandage, it also “helps with leadership succession and making sure we've got enough manpower, enough talent within the party and in Singapore in a coherent and in a coordinated way to plan the way for the future”.

Singapore Democratic Party's Chee Soon Juan on the party's loss:

SDP chief Chee Soon Juan said the results were hugely disapointing and there was a swing against the Opposition. He said the party will take it in their stride and the "only thing we can do is continue to look forward". The SDP failed to win any of the 11 seats it contested for. In Holland-Bukit Timah GRC, where Dr Chee contested, the SDP got 33.38% of the votes.

People's Action Party's Cheryl Chan, who contested and won in Fengshan SMC:

Photo: Raj Nadarajan

Ms Cheryl Chan, who received 57.52% of the vote, said: “It shows the confidence of the residents, and they can expect for me to continue serving them to the best of my abilities.” Ms Chan added: “The residents are very important to me, so whether they voted for me or not, I'll continue working hard so that I can give them the confidence and in the next round, do even better." She went up against Workers' Party candidate Dennis Tan, who received 42.48% of the votes.

Workers' Party's Dennis Tan, who contested and lost in Fengshan SMC

Mr Tan said he was disappointed but congratulated PAP's Ms Chan. He said it was a clean fight and if the party leadership is willing, he will continue to serve residents in Fengshan. Mr Tan said he respects the decisions of the people of Fengshan, and is surprised by results. But that's the duty of democracy, he said.

Reform Party's Kenneth Jeyaretnam on his party's defeat in 2 GRCs and 1 SMC:

Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam, whose Reform Party failed to win any of the 11 seats it contested, posted on Facebook to thank friends and supporters, colleagues and fellow candidates. “Thank you all for a fantastic effort. You all worked so hard. I am almost weeping now with gratitude at the sacrifice you all made. A big thank you from me and from our teams can't even begin to express the debt we owe you. Thank You,” he wrote.

“We clearly had the better manifesto and great talent on our teams and were braver. Don't be disheartened. The truth will prevail,” added Mr Jeyaretnam.

Singapore People's Party's Ravi Philemon, who contested and lost in Hong Kah SMC:

Mr Philemon posted on Facebook: "The swing to PAP nationwide cannot be ignored. The good majority of voters have spoken with their votes, that they believe that Singapore is headed in the right direction under the PAP. I accept the verdict. I congratulate Dr Amy Khor on her victory."

"When I set out on this quest for the hearts and minds of Singaporean voters, my team and I were determined to work hard and not forget to have fun. We have the satisfaction of putting up a good fight. Thank you Singapore!" 

Mr Philemon garnered 25.24% of the votes, compared to PAP's Amy Khor, who won with 74.76% of the votes.

Singapore People's Party's Lina Chiam, who contested and lost in Potong Pasir SMC:

Mrs Lina Chiam wrote on Facebook that she shook hands with PAP candidate for Potong Pasir Sitoh Yih Pin to congratulate him on his victory. "This is a time of great challenge for Singapore. I hope that Singaporeans can work hand in hand with their elected MP to help the government create better policies," said Mrs Chiam, who got 33.59% of the votes. 

"I am inspired by the people of Potong Pasir. Over the last 2 weeks, I saw their passion for Singapore. I ran for Potong Pasir because I wanted to be the voice for Potong Pasir:  I was the NCMP and I was proud to have spoken up fearlessly for them as well as for all Singaporeans. Nonetheless, the people have voted. I respect their decision. SPP will never give up Potong Pasir. Potong Pasir is too close to our hearts," she said.

People's Action Party's Sitoh Yih Pin, who contested and won in Potong Pasir SMC:

Mr Sitoh Yih Pin, who received 66.41% of the votes, said he was very humbled by the results and thanked voters for the support. When asked about what he did right to increase his vote share compared to the 2011 GE, he attributed it to hard work and acting beyond the call of duty. "We will fulfill all the promises we made, and we will do even more in Potong Pasir," he said.

People's Action Party's Chan Chun Sing on the team's win in Tanjong Pagar GRC

The overall victory for the PAP “gives us a lot of encouragement”, said Mr Chan Chun Sing, whose team won in Tanjong Pagar GRC with 77.71% of the votes. “We know it's going to be a competitive environment, not just internally but externally. There are some uncertainties on the horizon, but we hope to work together to overcome these challenges, just as we have worked together to overcome challenges in the last 50 years.”

On the team’s resounding win in Tanjong Pagar, Mr Chan said: “We've always said, our focus is on the residents, so long as we focus on residents and their welfare, I think the residents will take care of the result for us, and it encourages us. We've gotten our priorities right, putting our residents and their livelihood first.” He added: “In the morning, our first stop will be to thank the residents and our work will continue on the ground."

People's Action Party' Tin Pei Ling, who contested and won in MacPherson SMC:

Ms Tin, who faced a three-cornered fight and won with 65.58% of the votes, said she hoped the results would give young people greater confidence to step forward to serve, be it in community or national level.

Singaporeans First candidates hold press conference

Party chief Tan Jee Say said he was disappointed with the results. The party contested and lost in Tanjong Pagar and Jurong GRCs with 22.29% and 20.72% of the votes, respectively. He estimated the party visited 95% of households during the campaigning period. Jurong candidate Tan Peng Ann said the results did not seem to reflect the feedback on the ground and Singfirst hopes to get together with other opposition parties to analyse the results. The party congratulates PAP on the win but is not defeated and will be back, said Mr David Foo.

REPORTING: Celene Tan, Lee Yen Nee, Kelly Ng, Noah Tan, Siau Ming En, Laura Philomin, Toh Ee Ming, Ng Jing Yng