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It's a 50-50 chance of keeping Potong Pasir: Sitoh

He says he has fulfilled the promises he made in 2011, and will soon unveil his plans for the estate

Mr Sitoh ran in Potong Pasir - unsuccessfully - against veteran opposition-party politician Chiam See Tong in 2001 and 2006. The PAP candidate finally won the seat in 2011, when Mr Chiam contested in the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, and the Singapore People's Party fielded his wife Lina Chiam in the single-seat ward.


SITOH Yih Pin of the People's Action Party will defend the single-seat Potong Pasir constituency in the coming general election (GE).

But despite being the incumbent Member of Parliament, he gives himself only a 50-50 chance of keeping his hard-won seat.

Speaking at a press conference in the constituency on Monday, the 51-year-old accountant in private practice said of his 2011 narrow victory : "When you won by only 114 votes and you've lost twice, you take nothing for granted.

"I don't dare dream about a bigger vote margin. I just hope voters give us another chance."

The PAP had fielded him unsuccessfully in Potong Pasir in 2001 and 2006, when he went up against veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong. In 2011, when the Singapore People's Party chief left Potong Pasir - where he had been custodian for 27 years - to contest in neighbouring Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representative Constituency, Mr Sitoh snatched Potong Pasir from Mr Chiam's wife Lina Chiam - collecting a mere 50.4 per cent of the vote.

The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee has left the boundaries of Potong Pasir, the smallest of the 12 single-seat wards with 17,327 voters, intact.

A three-cornered battle may take place in the ward during the GE expected next month. Apart from Mr Sitoh and Mrs Chiam, former National Solidarity Party boss Tan Lam Siong has declared his intention to run as an independent.

After the narrow PAP victory in 2011, Mr Sitoh had told his team they had only 1,500 days to the next GE, and urged them to win the trust of Potong Pasir residents, and that they were to do this by adopting the "ABCD spirit" - that is, by "Acting Beyond the Call of Duty". "Only that way can we earn the residents' trust," he said.

The defending candidate said he will soon share his plans to improve Potong Pasir, including that for a new internal bus service in the estate. "We're going to promise quite a lot of things," Mr Sitoh said. "It won't be easy, but we'll try our best."

He said he has fulfilled all the promises he made to residents back in 2011; these included upgrading the lifts, setting up a family-service centre and raising the number of child-care centres.

He said he had also knocked on doors to get NTUC Fairprice to open a supermarket, and POSB, a banking branch in the ward.

He said: "When we took over, I realised expectations were high and there were problems to solve, but we firmly believe that when you have a problem, you face up to the reality.

"I'll be the first to admit that you can't solve all problems, but we must face up to them and try to solve as much as we can."