THE People's Action Party (PAP) candidate Sitoh Yih Pin has won the battle for Potong Pasir, winning the Single-Member Constituency (SMC) with 66.4 per cent of the votes in a firm victory over Singapore People's Party candidate Lina Chiam.
Mrs Chiam won 33.6 per cent of the 15,934 votes cast. There were 224 spoilt votes while 1,249 of the 17,407 registered voters for the SMC did not show.
Mrs Chiam is the wife of veteran opposition politician Chiam See Tong, who was a member of parliament (MP) of Potong Pasir for 27 years.
This marks the second general election (GE) in a row that Mr Sitoh has come out on top in Potong Pasir, although this time round his win was markedly stronger. In 2011, he narrowly edged out Mrs Chiam by a wafer-thin 114 votes, less than the 242 votes that were spoilt. Potong Pasir had to undergo a recount that year, with Mr Sitoh finally walking away with about 50.4 per cent of the votes.
A three-cornered fight was narrowly averted in Potong Pasir this year after independent candidate Tan Lam Siong pulled out of the running on Nomination Day, leaving incumbent Mr Sitoh and Mrs Chiam to duke it out in a repeat of the 2011 elections.
Speaking to residents of Potong Pasir on Friday night after the results were released, Mr Sitoh thanked them and said he was "humbled by the mandate" given to him. He also assured residents that he would fulfil all promises made and more.
In his manifesto, Mr Sitoh promised more programmes to be rolled out in Potong Pasir in the coming years, such as additional bus services and more day care centres for the elderly.
He also highlighted other projects such as lift upgrading and home improvement works that had already been carried out for blocks in Potong Pasir in his four years as MP for Potong Pasir.
In her concession speech posted on Facebook, Mrs Chiam said: "This is a time of great challenge for Singapore. I hope that Singaporeans can work hand in hand with their elected member of parliament to help the government create better policies."
She added: "The people have voted. I respect their decision. SPP will never give up Potong Pasir. Potong Pasir is too close to our hearts."
During the campaigning period, Mrs Chiam touched on hot-button issues concerning voters such as the inflow of foreign labour, high cost of living and improvements required in public transport, especially the MRT system. She also singled out her contributions as a non-constituency MP, stressing that she had helped keep the government "in check" by raising questions on issues such as CPF, overpopulation and lapses at certain grassroots organisations under the People's Association that were highlighted by the Auditor-General's Office.
Mr Sitoh had lost to Mr Chiam in the 2006 and 2001 GEs. But in 2011, Mr Chiam left Potong Pasir to make a bid for the Bishan-Toa Payoh Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and Mrs Chiam stepped in to represent the SPP in the fight for Potong Pasir. Having suffered two strokes in recent years, Mr Chiam did not run in this election.
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