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GE2020: PAP beats SDA, PV in three-way fight for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

The PAP team fielded at Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC. (from left): Senior Minister of State Janil Puthucheary, Yeo Wan Ling, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, Mohamed Sharael Taha, and Desmond Tan.

(from left): Singapore Democratic Alliance candidates for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Kelvin Ong, Harminder Pal Singh, Desmond Lim Bak Chuan, Abu Mohamed and Kuswadi Atnawi at a media conference on July 8.

Peoples Voice’s Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC team’s Gilbert Goh and Prabu Ramachandran handing out flyers and face masks to residents at Punggol MRT Station on July 1. ST

THE People’s Action Party (PAP) has again emerged victorious in the three-way fight for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, roundly beating its long-time opponent Singapore Democratic Alliance (SDA) as well as first-timer Peoples Voice (PV) party.

In the first multi-party fight in a GRC in 28 years, PAP won 64.15 per cent of the votes, compared with 23.67 per cent by the SDA and 12.18 per cent by PV.

In the latest election, a total of 157,078 valid votes were cast, of which 100,772 went to PAP. There were 3,392 rejected votes.

Partly due to the multiple parties involved, the PAP's win was a less resounding one than the 72.89 per cent of votes it garnered in 2015, against the SDA’s 27.11 per cent.

The results also means that PV will lose its election deposit, which is set at S$13,500 per candidate. This is forfeited if the candidate or team fails to win at least 12.5 per cent of the votes.

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Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, which is the second biggest GRC today, was cut down to size in the latest boundaries report, which saw Punggol West exiting to form a new SMC.

In this year’s General Election, the PAP team is anchored by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean, 65. He is joined by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary as well as three new faces: chief executive of Caregiver Asia Yeo Wan Ling, 44; former People’s Association chief Desmond Tan, 49; and vice president for strategy and project management at Singapore Aero Engine Services Mohamed Sharael Mohd Taha, 39.

SDA’s team is headed by chairman Desmond Lim, 52, who has said he will be stepping down from his position after the General Election. His team includes SDA's chief media officer Harminder Pal Singh, 48, who will step up to become party chairman; as well as secretary-general Abu Mohamed, 69. The trio were part of the former SDA team that ran against PAP in the 2015 elections. Facilities management manager Kelvin Ong, 34; and electrical engineer Kuswadi Atnawi, 57; are the two newcomers rounding off the team.

Pasir-Ris Punggol was the only GRC that SDA contested.

Meanwhile, PV is led by career counsellor Gilbert Goh, 58, formerly of the Reform Party. He is joined by personal driver Jireh Lim Kay Cheow, 61; business financial manager Prabu Ramachandran, 31; lecturer Mohamed Nassir Ismail, 63; and preschool educator Vigneswari Ramachandran, 38.

This is the first time that PV is contesting in the GRC.

Dr Felix Tan, associate lecturer at SIM Global Education said: “Helmed by the strong presence of Teo Chee Hean, a lot of people will feel comfortable with PAP.”

“PV and SDA will split votes, which diminishes the strength of the opposition. If the PAP has a worse result this time, it’s not because the party has lost support, but because it’s a three-way fight.”

Following the unveiling of candidates on Nomination Day, both PV and the SDA had blamed each other for the three-cornered fight. PV’s chief Lim Tean disputed SDA’s claims of reaching out to him to avoid such a scenario.

SDA has stood against PAP in the GRC since 2006, which makes this its fourth face-off.

In 2015, SDA was up against the PAP team comprised of then-Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Teo Ser Luck, Zainal Sapari, Janil Puthucheary, Ng Chee Meng and Sun Xueling.

Back in 2011, PAP secured 64.79 per cent of the votes in the six-member GRC, against the SDA's 35.21 per cent.

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