Following the results of the 2020 parliamentary elections on Saturday morning (July 11), the People's Party (PAP) lost another constituency of the group representation (GRC) in a “tough fight” against the Labor Party (WP).
Sengkang GRC fell to the WP with 52.13 percent of the vote against 47.87 percent through the PAP.
In addition, the Labor Party has maintained its stronghold in Aljunied GRC since the 2011 general election.
How did four relatively fresh faces of WP win against a PAP team made up of three political officers?
Who was on the PAP team?
(Left to right) Raymond Lye, Amrin Amin, Ng Chee Meng and Lam Pin Min / Photo credit: Ng Chee Meng's Facebook page
The PAP team was led by Ng Chee Meng and consisted of Dr. Lam Pin Min, Amrin Amin and the new face Raymond Lye.
Ng Chee Meng
Ng Chee Meng is secretary general of the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and had participated in the 2015 general election in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. The PAP team won with 72.89 percent of the vote.
After the 2015 parliamentary elections, Ng was appointed acting minister of education (schools). Subsequently, Ng was the second Minister of Transport and Minister of Education (schools) from November 1, 2016 to April 30, 2018.
In 2018, he was appointed Prime Minister as Prime Minister.
Since losing to the WP team in the 2020 general election, he has since lost his ministerial post.
For the record, this is the first time he's led a general election, and he's less than 5 years in office.
While He will remain Secretary General of the NTUC. People may have been unhappy with job losses during the pandemic, although he said the NTUC "will continue to maintain and create jobs."
Lam pin min
Dr. Lam was first elected to parliament in the 2006 general election as a member of the PAP team led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Ang Mo Kio GRC. The team defeated the Labor Party with 66.1 percent of the vote.
He then stood in the 2011 general election in Sengkang West SMC and won 58.1 percent of the vote against Koh Choong Yong from the Labor Party.
In the 2015 general election, Lam Koh defeated SMC again in Sengkang West after receiving 62.1 percent of the vote. Sengkang West SMC was later dissolved in the light of the 2020 general election and split between Ang Mo Kio GRC and the new Sengkang GRC.
From 2009 to 2014, Lam was also the chairman of the government's parliamentary health committee (previously deputy chairman from 2006 to 2008).
In August 2014, Lam was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Health.
Subsequently, in May 2017, Lam was appointed high-ranking Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transport.
In November 2019, Dr. Lam announced the ban on e-scooters on footpaths. Food delivery drivers then flocked to various constituencies at various meet-the-people meetings to express their frustrations against the ban.
Apparently the meeting with Dr. Lam had the most heated session as several participants proposed to lift the ban and criticized the decision behind it. Many depended on the supply of food as a livelihood.
Many were also not receptive to the S $ 7 million trade-in aid program, which allows riders to switch their devices to power-assisted bicycles or e-bikes at no additional cost.
Amrin Amin was Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health and previously worked for Sembawang GRC for Woodlands from September 2015 to June 2020.
Amrin had become a well-known grassroots activist in Sembawang GRC shortly after the 2011 general election. Amrin was then also elected to Sembawang GRC in 2015.
He was then used as a candidate for the Sengkang GRC for GE 2020. It can be said with certainty that he was a new, unknown face in the Sengkang room.
Lye is a managing partner of Union Law LLP and previously served as a magistrate and vice chancellor of the state courts before entering private practice and founding his own law firm in 2014.
He has over 20 years of experience in the city council and is chairman of the Advisory Committee on Citizens of Punggol East.
In 2008 and 1998 he was also awarded the Public Service Star (BBM) and the Public Service Medal (PBM).
Still, he may have been a relatively new face in the Sengkang GRC.
Who was on the WP team?
(Clockwise) He Ting Ru, Jamus Lim, Louis Chua and Raeesah Khan / Photo credit: WP
The WP team is led by lawyer He Ting Ru and consists of associate professor Jamus Lim, social activist Raeesah Khan and equity analyst Louis Chua.
He Ting Ru
He Ting Ru made her debut in the 2015 general election and received 35.93 percent of the vote in the GRC Marine Parade against the PAP team, led by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong.
It was probably the fastest rising among the opposition candidates who made their debut in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
The Cambridge-trained corporate lawyer was quickly announced as the new Nicole Seah after the former National Solidarity Party candidate caused a sensation in the 2011 general election.
The similarities between He and Seah were uncanny – young, articulate, well educated, and easy on the eyes.
There was nothing better than WP's enthusiastic speech by Jamus Lim, which shook the entire nation.
During a live debate that aired on July 1, Associate Professor Lim, who represented the WP, had become the party's star candidate when he asserted himself against Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.
The WP is not trying to deny the ruling PAP a strong mandate, he had said.
"We're trying to reject it is a blank check," added Lim, an economist at Essec Business School.
"I urge voters: if you believe that all votes will be heard, if you believe that we can only succeed if we have a sound and rational debate on what is important, if you believe in the nature of a democratic believe modern society for the 21st century, then we ask that your vote counts and that you vote for the Labor Party. "
In his final statement, Prof. Lim said from the debate he had enjoyed that the PAP "has no monopoly on the best ideas on how we should advance society".
Lim addressed the issue of improving Singapore's life despite the regional and international economic prospects, pointing out that Singapore should not hamper the economy through "tax increases" and that the idea of "tax increases at this point is counterproductive and cyclical" . .
Lim also addressed social issues, pointing out that it is "a crime" to let older people work "to make ends meet".
With that, Lim had received high praise from many Singaporeans for his ability to address all the problems that Singaporeans face.
Just five days before election day, two police reports were filed against Khan, referring to comments they made online about race and religion in 2018. She immediately apologized publicly and confirmed that she would cooperate fully with police investigations.
A day later, the leader of the Labor Party, Pritam Singh, came forward and expressed his support for his member.
The Singaporeans widely praised the timely leadership of WP, saying that a leader should be like that.
Facebook screengrab from NUS – No Use Singapore
In contrast, PAP's response to candidate Ivan Lim's earlier scandal received a lot of flak and criticism. Lim was on his own, asking questions from the media and finally retiring from the Jurong GRC competition team.
The police investigation did not prevent Raeesah Khan from running for the elections. Young people look at this type of manager.
Younger voters and minorities were quite angry at how they felt they were being treated. Hashtags like #IStandWithRaeesah started on Twitter and on a public group page called We Stand Behind Raeesah! was started on Facebook.
As a political newcomer, Chua is an equity research analyst at a global investment bank.
Though less well known than the other members of his team, he has spoken convincingly about building a more resilient society with a wider variety of voices in parliament.
A younger demographically preferred WP
Both the PAP and WP teams had competent candidates, but there was one key factor that made residents feel more connected to WP.
The WP's Sengkang team consists of young parents with children under the age of four. As a result, they positioned themselves as young parents who could identify with the aspirations and challenges of the residents they wanted to serve.
Photo credit: He Ting Ru / Facebook
According to the Singapore Ministry of Statistics, Sengkang residents are younger than the national average: over 65 percent of residents are under 45 years old and less than 10 percent are over 65 years old.
In addition, the WP showed strong use of social media – through the Hammer Show and Instagram stories – to appeal to younger voters.
This was a smart move by the WP when they put together a team of candidates who were able to identify with the younger residents in Sengkang and win them over.
In comparison, the PAP set up an older, purely male and high-performance slate that might have seemed a little out of the way to the residents.
Did the WP guidelines appeal to residents more?
In the constituency's political broadcast on July 7th, WP's Jamus Lim had told Sengkang residents what their plans for the newly created GRC were.
He said the new Sengkang GRC City Council would draw on the party's experience in Punggol East and "as well if not better than the PAP-led".
Minister and Labor Chief Ng Chee Meng said: “We want you and your children to have a good future, good chances to progress and a good life in Sengkang. We also hear your wish to make Sengkang a better home for us. When we are elected, the first thing we will do is create the Sengkang Together movement to develop our Sengkang City together. As part of this, we will set up a new city council in Sengkang to better meet your community needs. "
For his part, Lim said: "I want to remind you of what we offer. We don't just want more covered walkways, more lift upgrades. We also want to address issues that are really important to the people of Sengkang – bottlenecks in daycare centers, special routes for bicycles and PMDs, and more neighborhood spaces.
Photo credit: He Ting Ru / Facebook
"We will do this with a new city council, and the system will draw on the experience of our history in Punggol East and our management of other workers' party stations that are as good, if not better, than those run by the PAP. ”
He also raised issues in Singapore's education system and repeated the opposition party's call for smaller classes, more inclusion and better funding systems for less popular schools.
While Raeesah Khan and Louis Chua talked about the quality of life in Singapore.
Khan commented on the "deeply rooted inequality" in Singapore and said: "Today, people who are caught in a disaster and want to speak up are excluded."
Photo credit: He Ting Ru / Facebook
She added: “Singapore must be a fair and just country. The choice is a choice for everyone – the people who work hard for the country. "
Chua expressed the lack of improvement in the quality of life in Singapore and said that the WP is committed to reducing the cost of living and ensuring that Singaporeans can adequately care for themselves.
It was clear that the WP recognized the guidelines proposed by PAP, but also identified the gaps and aimed to close these gaps in order to improve the livelihood of the residents.
Should PAP have sent out a more experienced team for Sengkang?
This is the first time that Ng Chee Meng (previously from Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) has led a general election, and only the second term in which Amrin Amin (previously from Sembawang GRC) and Lam Pin Min (Sengkang West SMC) have one have participated in parliamentary elections.
When we look at how PAP sent experienced finance minister Heng Swee Keat to the east coast GRC at the last minute, we wonder if they should have done the same for Sengkang GRC since they expected a "tough fight" with WP.
Even then, Heng's team won only a small 3.41 percent advantage against the WP team of Nicole Seah, Terence Tan, Dylan Ng, Kenneth Foo and Abdul Shariff Bin Aboo Kassim.
This showed that it might not have been as strong to use the future prime minister to "save" GRC on the east coast as we thought.
In fact, the WP's Sengkang team clearly has less political experience than their PAP counterparts, but that didn't stop them from winning the votes.
This is because they were able to position themselves as appropriate representatives of Sengkang residents by identifying with the aspirations and challenges of the residents they wanted to serve.
Selected image source: WP / PAP