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SINGAPORE GENERAL ELECTION: SINGLE SEAT FIGHTS

WP retains Hougang with smaller 57.7% vote share

Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 08:00
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WHAT LIES AHEAD: Mr Png hopes to 'do more in Parliament' by bringing up the concerns of his residents and turning his focus from 'localised issues' to national issues affecting Singapore.

SINGAPORE Hougang's incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) Png Eng Huat from the Workers' Party (WP) retained his seat in the single member constituency (SMC) with 57.7 per cent of the vote.

While his win in the traditional WP stronghold was widely expected, his winning margin narrowed from the 62.1 per cent vote he garnered in a 2012 by-election. That has prompted some political observers to interpret that the stronghold has become "less strong" this time round.

Contending candidate Lee Hong Chuang from the People's Action Party (PAP) lost out with 42.3 per cent of the votes.

A total of 22,555 valid votes were cast in Hougang SMC, of which 13,012 votes went to Mr Png.

Some political observers believe that unresolved questions concerning the long-running saga of the Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC) may have eroded some voters' support for the WP.

But Mr Png did not think so, attributing the national swing towards the PAP to "a few feel-good factors" this year such as SG50 celebrations. He conceded, however, that in the past three years, he had been "bogged down by municipal issues".

He told reporters that going forward, he hopes to "do more in Parliament" by bringing up the concerns of his residents and turning his focus from "localised issues" to national issues affecting Singapore.

The WP has held Hougang SMC since 1991, when party chief Low Thia Khiang wrested it from the ruling People's Action Party. The WP had retained the single seat in the 2011 polls with 64.8 per cent of the vote.

A subsequent by-election in 2012 - after opposition MP Yaw Shin Leong was sacked by the WP over his silence in an alleged extramarital affair - saw Mr Png triumping over PAP's Desmond Choo with 62.1 per cent of the votes.

The AHPETC issue has dominated the election campaign of the PAP, which has hit out at accounting and governance lapses surrounding the financial accounts of AHPETC that had failed to receive a clean bill of health from its own auditors.

While the Ministry of National Development (MND) last month also produced figures showing that AHPETC's former managing agent FM Solutions & Services (FMSS) had been "grossly profiteering" off its sole client, the Workers' Party has maintained that the town council did not overpay FMSS and is not in a position to determine FMSS' profits.

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